1XV v Oakdale (home) 08 Apr 2017

19-26 Loss

Near Run Thing at Oakdale

On the best Spring day seen by many visitors to Oakdale, the firm dry conditions and strong sunshine looked likely to tell a tale or two by the end of this 'must win' game for Oakdale.

With Monmouth having belated beaten them at home before Christmas, Oakdale were in a final chase for promotion and determined to succeed. Monmouth on the other hand were a much changed and inexperienced side.

Oakdale kicked off down the considerable slope towards their favourite end and soon had Monmouth under pressure by virtue of their typically robust forward play, but relief was afforded several times in the early exchanges by penalty winning errors on their part.

Oakdale cleverly exploited the slope with deep kicks in behind the .visitors' defence but White in particular was prominent with covering back and wrong-footing chasers to start further counter-attacks.

Smith temporarily left the field injured which boded ill given his talent and the slick three-quarter moves on show until then. Fortunately he was patched up and to prove his worth made an excellent break to set Oakdale back on their heels with a try near the posts which Williams comfortably converted.

Monmouth's scrum was holding its own well and the lines-out were largely clicking with Seran probably the most prominent.

Oakdale quickly responded to going behind with a succession of forward drives near the line which Monmouth did well to repulse until the home No 8 barged his way over to level the scores.

Zen stole a ball at the back of a line-out to commence Monmouth's riposte taken on by Gleed who carried well until his being later substituted to limp off. But Oakdale were equally good at carrying and driving taking the lead again 14-7 on the half hour.

Confusion reigned as the referee talked with players and yellow-carded an Oakdale member for what apparently was 'racial abuse' and soon after they lost another to the 'bin' for a high tackle.

Monmouth now piled on the pressure to take advantage of the number difference, choosing to ignore kickable penalties resulting eventually in a try by scrum-half Davies converted again by Williams to level the scores just before half-time.

After the much needed break both teams set about their renewed battle with vigour and after a period of to-ing and fro-ing Monmouth got the bit between their teeth, spun the ball wide for the left wing to squeeze into the corner. The kick proved too difficult but Monmouth now led 14-19 but with a full 35 minutes to go.

Fatigue was settling in now in parts, with a strike against the head and several hi-tackles as people stumbled into them, recognised by penalty only decisions from an understanding referee.

Oakdale drove and drove against solid defence but fatigue was showing and an alert Oakdale player took advantage of some lack of concentration, scoring an easy try from a quick penalty to level the scores again.

The importance of a win to Oakdale was apparent in some deteriorating discipline but the regulatory 10m for dissent soon brought them back on track and they needed this to defend some strong runs by Monmouth. In return the visitors increasingly made things a trifle easier for them with some handling errors. The Oakdale full back was one of their star players and a double tackle was needed to prevent him scoring but sadly the collision broke his leg - a very sad thing to experience on the rugby field.

After a lengthy first aid break, players had at least regained some composure with the Oakdale tight five perhaps needing it most but at what an unfortunate cost. Monmouth's big men Zen and Dicco combined well and at pace to gain ground only to see the ball turned over by the opposition.

With play nearing a close, a deep kick into the Monmouth 22 saw White once again recover the ball and counter-attack but some sloppiness and hurried passing suddenly saw Oakdale with its full three-quarter line spaced out, capitalise on a Monmouth handling error to score an overlap try.

Cruel but clinical with the conversion taking them 7 points into the lead and try as hard as Monmouth did the execution was just not there and having to settle for a losing bonus point is what they had to do.

A very near thing for which this young team can be proud, giving them encouragement for their home game against RTB Ebbw Vale this coming Saturday.

Try: P.Smith, M.Davies, ???
Conv: D.Williams (2)

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