1XV v Abertillery BG (home) 08 Sep 2018

67-3 Win

An 11 Try Bonanza.

Monmouth 67 Abertillery Blaenau Gwent 3

Monmouth's first home game in Division 2 East last Saturday was also special because it was treated as a celebration of the life of Max Davies who sadly passed away before the season began and was prefaced by a Young Rugby Guard of Honour and a minute's silence.

The 11 try bonanza that was to follow said it all - sparkling rugby played with a mix of determination, flair and passion - just as Max would have done.

With Monmouth distracted maybe at the start, the visitors were quickly on the score-board through a penalty from their hooker following a failure to roll away after a tackle.

Home ambition was obvious from early on though when a kickable penalty in return was ignored for a tap and run by Monmouth which proved abortive.

Pressure down the slope soon brought a three-quarter move involving slick handling and hard running over 45m which right wing Smith finished off in the right corner to take the lead.

An exchange of kicks for territory brought a strong drive from the Monmouth pack and soon a try in the left corner which this time gained a conversion by this time avoiding the posts and increasing the lead to 12-3.

Despite this, play was keenly contested by both sides for a further 15 minutes before Abertillery were unlucky with a penalty attempt from halfway.

Monmouth were gradually showing their strength and on the half hour a forward drive followed by a succession of rucks created the space to work the ball for left wing Mobbs-Morgan to score in the corner to stretch the lead to 19-3.

The forwards were seeking a bit of the glory for themselves with first No 8 Hawkins breaking well but shunning the opportunity to offload. When he did, Abertillery's winger pounced to intercept and race away, but they had not allowed for the tenacity and pace of half back White who chased him down and prevented an almost inevitable try.

Monmouth responded with more action of their own with Smith making 50 metres before passing the ball inside to a supporting back row player who added yet another try.

The entertainment continued when White tried a chip ahead from around 25m out only to be tackled late and without the ball. A penalty was poor reward for his efforts when a try was reasonably certain leaving the transgressor unpunished. But the power was with Monmouth and as bodies collapsed near the line, prop Green who had been showing up well with his strong runs, was able to barrel his way over the line for a 31-3 half-time score.

Flanker Thau was first to fire after the re-start going the full length but falling short by ignoring the wingman who had come up on his inside. Thau was able to make amends when Mobbs-Morgan found him on hand to slickly pass on to the fly half who was there to score a deserved try which he also converted.

There followed a succession of stunning moves, some impromptu, some rehearsed, with a try scored almost every five minutes. Centres Paley and Bateman did their defensive work and were quick up in the line to clatter any potential intruders and full back Gant was outstanding with his smart footwork and sinuous runs easily evading would be tacklers along the way.

The forwards of course generated much of the ball used and it was fitting that 2nd Row Giles was to emerge the scorer from a driving line-out on the left.

White continued to pop up in unusual places and completed a move with great pace on the far right to bring the score to a very unbeatable 62-3 whilst injuries were mounting on both sides as speed and tiredness told.

The visitors, to their credit had not once conceded in spirit and with 15 minutes left to play, took their chance of restoring some pride to be found nearing the Monmouth line. From a penalty kick to touch in the right corner Monmouth were made to dig deep. Abertillery retained possession through a series of rucks and moved the ball along the line only to see their effort spoilt by a long cut out pass going forward.

Having regained their composure Monmouth were to score again at the far end and then dug in for the final few minutes as Abertillery threatened but first up tackles saw them knock on again as the final whistle sounded.

A trip to Blackwood beckons next Saturday (15th) when Monmouth will learn further how strong the opposition in this league can be but no bets are being taken on them scoring 11 tries again there.

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