1XV v Oakdale (home) 17 Dec 2016

24-5 Win

Monmouth Take Table-toppers apart

Table topping Oakdale visited Monmouth full of confidence last Saturday, but Monmouth used their new found confidence and, playing as a team, sent them back to the Valleys with their tails between their legs.

An offside decision against Oakdale soon after kick-off brought a touch to Monmouth from the ensuing penalty. Their hooker was on target with his throwing and soon with little more than five minutes played, from a clean line-out take, the ball was moved into mid-field. The back row, who were to have a fine game, both together and severally, recycled the ball at a ruck and play was moved right through several pairs of hands to full back Parsons who having made ground into the right corner made a deft grubber inside that wrong-footed the covering defence for centre Nuove to dive on for the first of two eye-watering scores. The conversion was confidently added by fly-hal fEmanuelli.

The desire to spread the ball wide from the start, despite playing on a greasy Chippenham because of a fixture clash with football, showed the confidence which has now developed in the Monmouth team and was to prove the ideal tactic against their rather forward dominated visitors.Almost from the resumption, flanker Rees again made his presence felt at a ruck winning a penalty for not releasing and gaining a further 10 metres for dissent to make the kick easier for a 10-0 lead.Oakdale continued to offend with the ten point deficit inside a quarter of an hour seeming to have riled them, this time bringing a 45m straight mid-field shot at goal for Parsons, and leaving one to wonder how long it would take for them to be given a yellow card.

With the first scrum delayed until the 17th minute, despite the greater weight opposing them, the set-piece held firm and the next major attack saw the ball pass through six pairs of hands,including a necessary flick up off the floor, to the extreme right wing where flanker Morgan, probably worthy of a man of the match accolade, crashed over in the corner.18-0 down, Oakdale at long last put in some deep kicks and it was Monmouth's turn to defend, but it was about this time when the referee seemed to decide to take a firmer grip on matters after the first fracas of the game. Following his deciding a high tackle had been employed he sent a Monmouth player from the field and, seemingly guided by the visiting crowd, awarded a second yellow card not long before half-time.

The pressure was on and when awarded a scrum deep in Monmouth's right hand corner the relentless drive for the line seemed certain to bring a score but somehow Oakdale lost control allowing Monmouth to touch down and save their line. A much needed clearance to half way brought the break and a very necessary breather for the home team's brave 13.

The expected pressure at the re-start was added to by the kick-off going direct to touch (just). The cold and greasy ball were now adding to the degree of mis-handling and Oakdale probed often for territory with long kicks up field and strong driving mauls, But Monmouth defended tigerishly and on several occasions held up tackled players to win the put-in and relieve the situation.Oakdale certainly raised their game by way of fight back but Monmouth having weathered the storm whilst two men down were not easily going to bend now. Penalties in their favour continued as the visitors strove to edge their way back into the game but the grip underfoot was making kicking more unpredictable.

Monmouth kickers shared failed attempts at goal and the home crowd bayed for decisive action from the match official when Oakdale high tackled in defence, but his card had been lost in the depth of his pocket.

Hands in the ruck brought another three points for Parsons as the lights came on in the darkening gloom, and when he put in a long clearing kick from defence, the late tackle upon him which followed, eventually saw Oakdale lose a player to the bin. Emanuelli had to take the kick due to the Parsons' rattled bones and stretched the lead to 24-0 with less than ten minutes to play.Oakdale now predictably threw everything they had at Monmouth who eventually cracked as a missed tackle led to a mid-field offload to a player who ran in untouched. The kick failed as tensions grew but legs were now generally weary and when no visiting player called for the re-start the signs were there that all Monmouth needed to do was to hold tight. This they did whilst again demonstrating their attacking ability late in the game. The final whistle brought deserved jubilation amongst players and supporters alike!

Boxing Day sees Usk visit the Sports Ground for the annual 'friendly' at 2.30pm, and with both sides equally rated in the league, the game is expected to be a cracker!

Tries: A.Nuove, G.Morgan
Conv: P.Emanuelli
Pen: P.Emanuelli (3), S.Parsons

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