In only their third game of 2014 Monmouth Druids made the short journey to Abergavenny RFC. The appalling weather on the back of the Autumn internationals has meant a mid season break for rugby enthusiasts.
The Druids squad looked unusual as several established players, including Captain Nick Phillips were conspicuous by their absence. Reasons being first team call ups, injury, a car beakdown and unavailability. Of particular interest was in the front row where the props were two players who were making their debuts for the club.
Abergavenny on the other hand seemed reinforced by players of recent first team experience, particularly behind the scrum.
Shortly after the kick off, the Druids scored a try which they will be proud of for the season. Starting in their 22 metre area, Centre Dan Williams using his strength, burst through a couple of tackles and surged upfield into the Abergavenny half. Then followed about twenty rucks, each won skilfully and patiently by the Druids attackers. This play ended with Outside Half Cameron Gibson scuttling under the home posts. Surprise kicker Second Row Jack Howells converted and he contributed more later.
The diligent referee awarded penalty kicks to both sides making the score 10-6 in the Druids favour. Jack Howells kicked the Druids points.
Abergavenny raised their game and scored two tries based on superiority at the scrum. Both tries were converted by their scrum half to give the home side a lead of 20-10 at half time.
After the interval Abergavenny continued their fine form by scoring two more tries from their backs. Both were converted to push the game beyond winning for the Druids.
The visitors were not finished as Flanker Gareth Morgan burst over from a lineout and one other from Cameron Gibson. This followed a move again from inside the Druids territory. Fine support play saw Gibson race in from 20 metres. Both tries were improved by Jack Howells to make the final score 34-24.
In the loose, the Druids had the edge but in the scrum the Abergavenny pack had the better and their pace behind was crucial. Cameron Gibson looked a runner with promise, Back Row Dan Ansty, Mike Price and Gareth Morgan played their hearts out and what about surprise kicker Jack Howells.
A mention to for Matt Price and Tom Hurst substitute props-they did well playing out of position. A great all round team performance giving the difficulties the Druids faced.
Tries: C.Gibson (2), G.Morgan
Conv: J.Howells (3)