1XV v Fleur de Lys (away) 02 Sep 2017

15-16 Loss

Missed opportunities cost Monmouth a first league win.

After a stunning first ten minutes with lots of open play, optimists would readily have placed bets on Monmouth comfortably winning this, the first league game of the season away at Fleur de Lys.

Fly-half Parsons had gone close with a dropped goal, and when the ball was spread left extra pace was injected by full back Nuove who, with a pinpoint pass picked out the supporting left wing, Davies for the first score of the game. Parson’s missed conversion did not seem so serious and yet was to prove the precursor to a poor day with the boot and costly missed opportunities.

The home team rallied though and a high tackle by an anxious defender put them on the board, too, with the resultant penalty. Parsons once famous for his long range penalties failed marginally with a 53 metre shot, but when Nuove ran a ball back, after bursting through several tackles, he was adjudged to have failed to release the ball which ‘Flower’ took advantage of, sneaking into a 5-3 lead by a point.

A further attempted dropped goal by Parsons failed but he was on target shortly before half time to move the score to 6-8 but a further chance to stretch the lead just on half-time went begging despite being a relatively easy one under the posts.

After the break, the referee who was decisive throughout, although regularly incurring the wrath of of the home supporters, seemed to try to restore their confidence in him by allowing a player with an injured shoulder to be treated as a blood substitute when the only red on view was his skin under his many coverings of tape.

But this was a different Fleur de Lys side putting together many well co-ordinated moves, causing Monmouth on occasions to ‘dig deep’ in defence. An aimless kick out of the visitors’ own 22 brought an immediate counter-attack and a well taken try which with the added points changed the lead to 13-8 but with more than half an hour to play but not for their excitable wing who had received several warnings and eventually received a yellow card for yet another transgression. His local coaching team wisely chose to substitute him when his ten minutes was complete. his obvious speed and nip pines had been marred by poor temperament.

Several Monmouth moves invariably instigated by Nuove counter-attacking deep but loose kicks from full back, threatened, but the home defence was good at drifting and forcing attackers into touch or prompting errors at the last moment. Too many missed opportunities which were to prove expensive.

At last the Monmouth pressure paid off when Mobbs Morgan made good ground wide on the right but the resultant penalty when stopped was taken quickly, bringing another penalty for off-side within 5 metres of the line. Taken as a scrum held the defence in somewhat, and the forceful Nuove drove over to take the lead to 13-15 with 20 minutes to play.

Scrum half White covering back made excellent ground but his grubber kick was not well supported and Fleur de Lys were quick to counter. When a defender put his hands on the ground for support at aruck, the local goal-kicker took his chance from the ten yard line and the lead changed hands again to 16-15.

Monmouth threw everything they had at ‘Flower’ but with the home supporters now urging their team on, they defended their one point lead with fervour. Several times, with last ditch tackling they kept Monmouth players out with the result that desperation crept in. A 53m penalty was tried unsuccessfully but then visiting hopes reached a climax when play was taken in the last minute into the right corner but as the final winning score appeared to have been achieved, the ‘scorer’ was called back for a double movement.

Early play had been deceptive, and whilst moves were put together throughout by Monmouth, completion of them needs some polishing. Fleur de Lys deserved their win because of their sustained application but very much aided by the many missed opportunities where practice may make perfect. It will be necessary to do better at home against Oakdale nect week, k.o. 2.30p.m.

Tries: M.Davies, A.Nuove
Conv: S.Parsons
Pen: S.Parsons

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