1XV v Blackwood Stars (home) 21 Oct 2017

36-0 Win

A good win despite poor conditions

With the Sports Ground draining so well there was little chance of Storm Brian forcing a postponement to the league match against visitors Blackwood All Stars last Saturday.

Instead the the strong winds combined by the power of Monmouth' front five blew away their opponents in the tight to win 36-0 along with a bonus point.

The first score came early as the referee began laying down his ground rules and Monmouth benefited from a successful kick by wing Tabb in the gusting wind in return for a 'no arms' tackle.

Playing down the field the home pack was putting Blackwood under pressure with ruck after ruck until the visitors again transgressed but this time the wind that Tabb had allowed for, dropped at the last second and the ball drifted past the upright.

The visiting defenders were almost living offside in their determination to defend and on their third warning they lost a player to the first of several yellow cards to come in the game.

This time caution prevailed and following the penalty kick to touch the Monmouth pack drove from the line-put and over for hooker Bartlett to score. Tabb added the extras.

At 10-0 with the intelligent boot of Emanuelli keeping the visitors pegged largely in their 22, an opportunity arose to score on the right but Hawkins, who in fairness was quite energetic throughout, squandered a 7 on 5 situation by cutting back inside rather than continuing the flow.

Scrum half White was also one who was most energetic and elusive throughout as usual, but his dreadful habit of momentarily pausing at times to see if gaps are going to open up also hampered several promising opportunities for those outside him.

After a ruck and then a drive to under the Blackwood post a penalty try was awarded to Monmouth and the now 17-0 lead seemed to spur some action with the visitors forcing their way into their opponent's half for virtually the first time time after a whole 24 minutes of play.

The home team however defended the attack well and by way of rejoinder saw 2nd Row Harding race for a touch down.

White responded with one of his tricky runs and with his forwards dominant up front and in broken play Hawkins was able to force his way over for Tabb to add the conversion again.with half-time approaching and with a bonus point already in the bag.

Given the wind and rain one might have expected Blackwood to come back with some sort of vengeance and they certainly tried hard but Monmouth's dominant forwards were clearly not going to allow this.

The home team was still trying to play rugby but without the precision required in such troublesome conditions. White made an incisive break and handed on to centre Hellard who charged on but trusted too much to his own power rather than passing to supporting players sooner and well enough for the move not to fizzle out. Substantial ground had been made though.

Dan White and Emanuelli both nearly scored and prop Szwagrzak showed good pace and positioning in a three quarter move only to knock on. Going into the final quarter substitute flanker Davies emerged the try scorer from under a pile of bodies after a good drive took the pack over the line again. With the conversion by Emanuelli Monmouth dug in to protect what was to be their winning score of 36-0.

Almost too much in fact, because they were to concede two relatively silly yellow cards late on for matters of simple indiscipline; something that could cost them dear in a closer contest and that goes without mentioning the several passes direct to touch. But the win was a significant one keeping them in contention for the league leadership!

This coming Saturday brings another round in The Bowl when Monmouth welcome Penybanc from West Wales k.o. 2.30p.m.

Tries: D.Bartlett, Penalty Try, S.Harding, T.Hawkins, R.Davies
Conv: M.Tabb (3)
Pen: M.Tabb

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