1XV v Oakdale (home) 09 Sep 2017

59-17 Win

Eight Try Win by Monmouth

From virtually the very start, on what was obviously an ideal day for open rugby, apart, that is, for a strong cross-wind, Monmouth, strengthened by the return of a super fit Matt Tabb fresh from his travels in Australia, capitalised upon an excellent counter-attack initiated by him. As usual centre Nuove was up in support to complete the first try of the game inside a minute of the start. Tabb bolstered the kicking, too, making it 7-0 whilst late-comers were still drifting in to the ground.

Visitors, Oakdale, drove straight back from the kick-off with Monmouth doggedly defending their line but straying in desperation into the referee’s note-book with the first of several yellow cards to be awarded.

The pressure was relieved with a penalty for a visitor not releasing in the tackle but the kick to touch exposed a weakness as line-outs are not currently the home team’s strength.

Their backs, however, are really sharp especially one, Max Davies, who back at scrum-half, faced by a three on one overlap somehow managed to intercept and run in the second try from way out. Despite the wind, Tabb made it 14-0 inside the first quarter.

Both sides were taking advantage of the sunshine and good surface and a few weak tackles allowed the visitors to achieve a converted try of their own in return.

A tackle of a player in the air at the re-start obtained only a yellow card, but when Monmouth returned to the attack, a series of quickly taken penalties, frustrated by repeated tackles inside ten metres, took play up field from whence Tabb widened the score to 17-7.

Within minutes and up the slope, a text-book three-quarter move drew defenders and fed left wing White who outflanked the covering defence to score in the corner. Tabb’s kick failed into the direct wind but signs were now apparent that the Monmouth backs should win the day.

But then a hint of such complacent thoughts seemed to impact as aided by a few missed tackles Oakdale managed a further try of their own on the left.

Play became ragged for a while as Oakdale tried to bully their way back into the game with several ‘flare-ups’ occurring as the Monmouth scrum became increasingly dominant.

Flanker Cox all but scored in the left corner after a strong run as he was smashed into touch, and despite further off the ball transgressions, Monmouth were able to maintain their focus and were to move to a half-time lead of 30-12 following another successful penalty and a magic elusive try by Davies (again) in what was an extremely lengthy half.

Playing down into their favourite corner, right wing Williams made tremendous ground along the touch-line but his counter-attack left his fellow players in the rear and the move lost completion for lack of support. The position was good though and an eventual ruck brought another good kick at goal to start the second half scoring. But the half-time break had also helped the visitors recover and they next outflanked Monmouth on their left flank to dive over and narrow the lead to 33-17.

Shaken by this the home team replied with two tries first by Davies and again by Nuove, one of which was converted. Another was on the cards as Nuove made a scorching break from his 22 only to be cut down by a calculated tackle around the threat which amazingly attracted no more than a yellow card.

The reduced number in the pack now enabled Monmouth to pile on the pressure and they pounded the line, scoring once, only to be called back for an infringement. A further penalty was kicked to touch by way of lineout practice but Monmouth lost it and soon found themselves defending nearer their line from which they escaped courtesy of a deep clearing kick on the wind by full back Tabb.

The home forwards now wanted a share of the action and hooker White was delighted to score near enough for Tabb to be able to convert again but it was fitting that Davies should have the final say with another interception try and for Tabb to add the extras for a domineering score of 59-17.

Cup rugby starts next week with hopes high of advancing when Crickhowell are the visitors at the Sports Ground on Saturday (16th). k.o. 2.30p.m.

T: Max Davies (4), Amosa Nove (2), Ed White, Dan White.
C: Matt Tabb (5).
P: Matt Tabb (3).

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