1XV v Fleur De Lys (home) 12 Nov 2016

15-5 Win

Monmouth Improve and Win

As a prelude to the weekend's Internationals, Monmouth journeyed to Fleur de Lys, a side whom they have not played for many a year. On a wide, rather wet, pitch initially bathed in Autumn sunshine, Monmouth kicked off and quickly put the home team on the back foot with scrum half White capitalising on possession with a smart break to run in over 25 metres, providing Emanuelli with an easy conversion.

'Flower', as they prefer to be known, came to life as a result of this early setback and, in turn, following some exchanges of deep punts, pinned their visitors near their own goal-line and following a knock-on, slid the Monmouth scrum over the line for an unconverted try of their own. From the restart the home team broke out and Monmouth were saved only by a rather haphazard pass to an overlap of players queuing up to score.

Monmouth were sparking more than usual though with several individual bursts from the forwards and backs with wing Williams unfortunately having to depart the fray with a shoulder injury after a deep run into the home 22 from some distance. Fortunately, though, Emanuelli kicked a penalty when underfoot conditions for kickers were a limitation throughout but seemingly more-so for Fleur de Lys which helped Monmouth maintain the initiative.

Play at 5-10 continued through to the break with fairly frantic play on both sides' part. Far too often plays were not developed patiently to build pressure fizzling out instead after first phase attacks. Except, that is, when Flower built position deep on the left, forcing their way over the line eventually, only for their 'try' to be held up and for the half-time whistle to sound.

Kicks for territory were the shared order of the day in the early stages of the second half, but as both sides gradually found their rhythm, incidents came thick and fast, compounded by some very firm decisions for reasons which often only seemed apparent to the man in charge of the whistle.

Following a flurry of yellow cards and one visitor colliding with a fellow team-mate in the air due to poor communication, one wag in the crowd wondered aloud if one of the pole-axed team-mates might be 'sin-binned' for laying low someone from his own side!

Overlaps went begging; interceptors were caught from behind before they could capitalise on their good fortune; a dropped goal went awry and late tackles went unobserved! All of which made for spectator excitement if not their satisfaction nor that of the players. Yet another late tackle, this time brought a kick at the Flower goal but when missed badly, Monmouth were spared embarrassment by a poor kick out of defence to touch - an area which still has their coach visibly wincing at times.

Lively replacement scrum half Tabb was revelling in the position even if he seemed to contract some line-fever sickness as a result but the player who now became most apparent was flanker Rees who harried and tackled exceptionally well keeping the home team's attempts to fight back at bay.

Another line-out lost by the visitors somehow through a breakdown in mid-field brought a good attack into the sloping left corner which when halted brought a booming kick upfield which centre Amosa retrieved and began an impressive counter-attack. When stopped, the ball when recycled from the ruck was grubber kicked on by Tabb for the other centre James to dive onto over the line for what was to prove the winning 5-15 score.

An improved performance by Monmouth and a deserved win but still with scope for improvement in time for their next league game, at home to Hartridge on 26 November.

Tries: D.White, James
Conv: P.Emanuelli
Pen: P.Emanuelli

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