1XV v Ynysddu (Away) 22 Mar 2014

20-23 Loss

Monmouth so near to a win

Ynysddu’s warm-up routine was vigorous and potentially unnerving, as was the way they set about their task facing a Monmouth team with many enforced changes, at the Welfare Ground last Saturday.

Inside three minutes Ynysddo had put together a winning scrum and then a ruck before moving the ball quickly to their right wing who found the room to run in the first try of the game although the kick failed in a persistently blustery wind.

Monmouth responded well forcing the home defence to concede a penalty but in trying to counteract a then head on wind fly-half Ricketts fired it to the left of the posts.

The referee was making errors, too, giving a touch which he then realised had not crossed the line but he was soon back on the ball giving Ricketts another go at the posts for the home team not releasing the tackler but this time the kick fell short.

Monmouth were finding their feet up front now and after Kyle Price stole the ball from his opposing scrum-half the backs threatened well until a knock-on halted matters. The visiting pack recovered the situation with a strike against the head but a further penalty for off-side again went wide.

Ynysddu posed a real threat on the counter-attack with the Ynysddu full-back always in position for the catch and also adept at beating the follow-up followed repeatedly by quick and penetrative carries.

And in the 29th minute it was he who ran back an insufficiently pressurising kick out of defence by Monmouth to score near the posts for a 12-0 lead which rewarded the team that took their chances even though Monmouth had most of the territorial advantage thanks to good driving by their pack and No8 Nick Phillips in particular.

Redress for this was swiftly achieved when from thee kick-off, the catcher knocked on and from the resultant scrum, swift passing to the left saw centre Charlie Ross make 25m to go over for a try converted by left wing Matt Tabb.

Ynysddu continued to offend in trying to slow down Monmouth advances gaining a warning in the process. Travis Squires making a stirring debut at open-side flanker was everywhere and a 25m break of his took Monmouth once more near to the Ynysddu line.

From a line-out deep in on the left as a result despite a near interception adjudged a non=deliberate knock on, brought a a rampaging run in by full back Huw Adams from the scrum and with a Tabb conversion a change of lead to 12-14 on the stroke of half-time. But it still took a courageous tackle by Ross back near the Monmouth line to ensure that they took this deserved lead into the break with them.

The Coaches urged them to see the job through by maintaining the same intensity from the start so it was quite a setback when Ynysddu followed up a chip kick in the very first minute and in the ensuing Monmouth scramble to defend won themselves a penalty which regained them the lead and again inside 10 minutes another silly give-away from someone handling in the ruck an 18-14 lead.

The re-start kick sadly went straight to a player who ran the ball back and aided by missed tackles Ynysddu scored an unconverted try and Monmouth were reeling at 23-14 behind.

They did however rebuild the pressure and at the end of the third quarter ran a penalty award but when it gained no advantage Tabb came up to confidently kick more points.

Changes in personnel brought fresh legs to bolster the pack which had played robustly to a man, and the next scrum saw Ynysddu being driven right back with play then being quite to and fro as both sides gave their all.

With 12 minutes of ordinary time to play Ynysddu came into a ruck on the side and Tabb was again on the mark narrowing the score to 23-20. Monmouth was now running everything and had Ynysddu pinned in their own 22.

The screw was turned tighter with a penalty kick to touch and a succession of winning rucks but when the home team were up in defence too quickly once too often, Monmouth had a last minute choice of a kickable penalty for a draw or time to batter the line once more. Given their current ascendancy the latter of these seemed a reasonable option but it was to Ynysddu’s credit that with the final whistle blown they had kept Monmouth at bay right on their line.

A stirring and hard fought game which whilst it does little for the record, should do wonders for Monmouth’s confidence for their next game away at Nantyglo next Saturday.

Tries: C.Ross, H.Adams
Conv: M.Tabb (2)
Pen. M.Tabb (2)

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