1XV v Blackwood Stars (home) 06 May 2017

34-20 Win

Winning End to Rugby Season

In a game where play only seemed to occasionally interrupt the endless penalties awarded and yet with not a yellow card in sight despite many warnings, there are still highlights to report in this welcome win over Blackwood Stars, but many opportunities missed at the same time.

On a pitch firmer from the incessant weather than any winter frost, the day was made for an open running game which would have suited Monmouth and especially some of their backs and yet they were starved of the ball and rarely saw much of it. Part of the problem was little Dan White was having such a lively game at scrum half that in the act of side-stepping opponents at will and collecting a magic 4 personal scores, he was playing as if he could take on the world but probably tried too hard. His fellow three-quarters might have liked a piece of the action, too, of whom, especially Reid as well as centre Amosa Nove looked capable of tearing Blackwood Stars apart.

Robust though the visiting pack usually is as demonstrated by a rumble over the Monmouth line from a line-out for their first score, for long periods, particularly earlier in the game, Monmouth were able to dominate them in the set pieces, although the same cannot be said of their prowess in the line-out. Keen on penalties though the referee was, he demonstrated a strong preference for re-setting scrums when even more penalties might have been the order of the day.

In between nippy White tries the unsighted referee failed to award a try to prop Szwagrzak, ruling that it was held up which seemed rather harsh but White rounded off the first half by outflanking the defence in the right corner for his hat-trick and a 17-5 half time lead.

With the Chippenham slope now to their advantage, Blackwood had much to do and play went to and fro for quite a while but despite Monmouth easing back a little, Parsons was again on hand to stretch the lead further to 20-5 with a penalty kick awarded for a high tackle.

Then an end of season madness seemed to descend on Monmouth: a quick penalty and a poor pass was knocked on and then players literally ran around in rings whilst trying to find gaps when taking contact might have steadied things down. Eventually Monmouth reverted to straight forward scrummaging but it was White (again) who was to touch down at the back of a pushover scrum. Parsons added the conversion and a 27-5 lead looked comfortable going into the final quarter.

Play became increasingly scrappy compounded by Monmouth's seeming desire to throw their lead away exemplified by long passes to no-one in particular, and attempts to run when long kicks out of defence might haven been wiser.

All of this gave the visitors encouragement resulting in another successful drive over the line and then a mistaken solo move by a home forward in his own 22 was turned over and soon indirectly led to a further try for Blackwood from a strong barrelling individual run.

The game now showed signs of changing even though there were only minutes left as the visitors sought a losing bonus point, but a (this time) clever long pass by wing Mobbs Morgan, found White who broke decisively to feed Parsons who outflanked the defence to add a further 7 points.

At 34-15, although the game was now won, Blackwood, to their credit rallied again; won a penalty and the resulting line-out to restore some pride with a further unconverted try of their own. This rounded off a tolerable season for both teams but, despite Monmouth's Bowl adventures and defeat eventually by Cup winners Amman United, one upon which they will both undoubtedly hope to improve next season.

Tries: D.White (4), J.Smith
Conv: S.Parsons (3)
Pen: S.Parsons

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