1XV v RTB Ebbw Vale (home) 07 Jan 2017

10-7 Win

A Tense Finish for Monmouth

In a game that Monmouth dominated territorially against RTB Ebbw Vale last Saturday, tensions still abounded at the very end as Monmouth struggled to break the local defences and their opponents defended valiantly, looking to counter-attack to steal victory whenever they regained control of the ball.

Prefaced by a minute's silence in respect for Club members Jeff Scourfield and John Gwilliam, who had sadly passed away during the festive season, Monmouth kicked off down the pitch to become encamped there for around a full half hour. During this time though, RTB successfully spoiled many initiatives, responding with kicks out of defence, some good, some poor, which in turn gave the visiting full back Parsons further opportunities to make lengthy carries by way of counter-attack including one enlightened cross-kick to the right.

But it took 20 minutes of trying, thwarted by turnovers at rucks aided by the match official's generally relaxed attitude on the subject of Offside and an inferior performance at the lineout by Monmouth to finally break through.

For once a move along the line to the left stretched RTB and was completed by a deft overhead off-load from centre Hellard to wing Smith who ran around sufficiently to make the conversion easier to take a 7 point lead.

Overcoming the frustration of both the score and kicking the re-start direct to touch, the home team rallied instantly, making their first serious inroad into opposition ground only to be further frustrated when a 45 metre penalty kick was pulled left.

The game began to spread more around the breadth of the pitch but with much kicking for position by both sides. Monmouth right wing, Goddard fed off this well and made several penetrative runs back into the midst of RTB's defence only to see the ball turned over by way of handling error or other refereeing intervention.

Half-time brought reinforced coaching directives with an emphasis on better control of their ball and the need to play on the inferior fitness perceived in the host pack whilst maintaining patience that play would eventually turn their way.

Monmouth started well after the break but chasers following good kicks to the left corner were not as clinical as they needed to be, on several occasions allowing the elusive RTB right wing to escape from that corner of the field.

Opportunities came and went with handling amiss even from some from whom one might have expected better, helping RTB keep within striking distance of victory themselves.But the Coach's words of encouragement had rather overlooked the pride and, sometimes literal,fight, of the local team who maintained a considerable steely defensive determination. Eventually though, Monmouth gained a long awaited penalty for offside and Emanuelli took the score to 0-10but still with a further 28 minutes of play left.

RTB piled on the pressure and an apparent high tackle saw the gods spare them when the kick from the 10 metre line rebounded from the left upright.

It was now Monmouth's turn to defend and their mettle was displayed through some good mid-field tackling. But the Monmouth pack came under pressure on their own goal-line as the result of the referee's judgement of who was offending in the repeated scrums.The resultant penalty try narrowed the scores to 7-10 and the pressure was really on but Monmouth gradually rode the storm and with prudent kicks for position several times found themselves deep in the RTB corners.

The home team fought hard to clear their lines and on occasions threatened to break out but Monmouth were determined not to be outdone and suddenly it was all over with an apparent midfield penalty signalled by the referee only to be followed strangely by the welcome final whistle.

A good hard battle by both sides with Monmouth learning that pressure and domination needs to be turned into points especially with their important trip away to Ammanford this coming Saturday for their 5th round tie in the National Bowl against Amman United. Spectators are welcome to travel with the team - for expressions of interest and further details please ring the Clubhouse on 712309.

Tries: Smith
Conv: P.Emanuelli
Pen: P.Emanuelli

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