U15 v Nelson (Away) 08 Nov 2009

10-43 Loss

Monmouth took on one of the top sides in their age group today in a re-arranged fixture with Nelson (Nelson’s ground being water logged). On a heavy Chippenham pitch both sides lined up for a minutes silence before the game as a mark of respect on Remembrance Sunday.

The game kicked-off with Monmouth looking eager, quickly taking the game to Nelson. The initial skirmishes certainly demonstrated that Monmouth had the physical presence up front to contest the ball, and it was pleasing to note a considerable improvement in ball retention at the ruck. Unfortunately some elementary handling errors gave Nelson possession and they showed some good skills to work the ball wide for their first score.

Undaunted, Monmouth restarted and looked to build some momentum by working through some phases of play. In the slippery, wet conditions, and with some fierce contests in the contact area, the rugby wasn’t pretty but it was committed.

Monmouth continued to work hard to take the game to Nelson and they were rewarded after forcing play into the Nelson half. Awarded a penalty after a Nelson forward was adjudged to have strayed off-side, Monmouth opted to run the ball rather than kick for touch or goal. Caught off-guard the Nelson defence was unable to scramble to cover in time and Jordan Howells forced his way over the line to touch down for Monmouth.

Nelson showed why they are so highly rated with some good interplay between their forwards and backs and despite some strong defensive work they were able to extend their lead with a second try.

Monmouth then enjoyed a period where they attacked with growing confidence. The Monmouth scrum in particular was showing up well. The front row had been joined by Andrew Morgan from the Monmouth U14s and he showed great spirit in taking on the vaunted Nelson scrummage. Alongside Andrew, Henry Palmer was consistently taking the ball forward and linking with others and Oscar Diamond was having his best half in a Monmouth jersey.

As expected the conditions were making it tricky for open flowing rugby, but to their credit both sides continued to try and put the ball through hands and play attacking rugby. Nelson looked strong out wide, and with their large outside centre crossing the gain line with powerful running they were finding space which they exploited well.

Nelson were starting to gain the ascendancy and had scored a couple more tries, but Monmouth were not lying down and came back with a try their own. Following on from some excellent work from the forwards the backs put together a slick move which saw Jordan Howells squeeze over in the corner.

Turning round at half time, Monmouth looked to raise their game and for the next 15 mins or so the teams slugged it out in the midfield. Rupert Gwillam replaced Ed Cowburn , Adam Wheeler came on for Joe Christopher.

Despite several forays into the Nelson half Monmouth were unable to cross the line and it was Nelson who scored next. Some changes followed with Zack Carey, coming on for Aaron Mills and Rory Mitchell replacing Cameron Watson. Liam Musselbrook (scrum half) switched with Dan White (Outside Centre).

Monmouth were game to the end, but Nelson did manage two more tries including a neat individual effort with a chip and catch in the bottom left hand corner.

Whilst the score suggested a heavy defeat, for the Monmouth team it had been a worthwhile and enjoyable contest, one that boosted their belief in their ability to give any opposition a good game no matter how strong their reputation.

A special thanks (and apology) to the Monmouth reserves who didn’t get some game time on this occasion.

Monmouth U15 Team

Andrew Morgan (Prop); Henry Palmer (Hooker); Oscar Diamond (Prop); Ed Cowburn (2nd Row); Aaron Mills (2nd Row); Joe Christopher (Flanker); Cameron Watson (Flanker); Grant Davies (No.8); Liam Musselbrook (Scrum Half); Ted Senior (Stand Off / Captain); Josh Kings (Winger) Jordan Howells (Centre) Dan White (Centre) Greg Tynan (Winger) Joe Paley (Full Back)

Reserves : Adam Wheeler (replaced Joe Christopher); Rupert Gwillam (replaced Ed Cowburn); Zack Carey (replaced Aaron Mills); Rory Mitchell (replaced Cameron Watson); Angus Swanson; Connor Jeffs; Adam Bamford; Marcus Perret-Green

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