1XV v Oakdale (home) 01 Nov 2014

30-32 Loss

Monmouth lose a last gasp game

The poorest crowd of the season so far were entertained to a pulsating 8-try game against visitors Oakdale with the lead also changing eight times last Saturday.
Despite a successful penalty setback from half way inside the second minute, Monmouth sparkled in the early stages with some impressive three-quarter moves facilitated by intelligent passing and from scrum half White with fly half Vaughan proving an effective link.

In Monmouth’s first score by centre Roberts, a combination of a delayed pass from White and a good angle at pace brought a 30m. score near the posts which Vaughan easily converted.

Centre Howells who had a very lively first half was next on the score-board with an impressive try despite numerous passes along the line losing impetus because they went behind the successive runners.

Oakdale made good ground in response aided by numerous missed tackles but when halted a series of rucks go them nearer eventually breaking a tackle to score as a defender seemed more intent on stealing the ball than halting the move. 12-8 and less than 15 minutes gone.

Monmouth’s retaliation was swift and when thwarted by a deliberate knock on the yellow card award might have seemed to be beneficial but when a long and high kick failed to make touch, the ball bobbled up into the hands of an Oakdale speedster who rode two attempted tackles to score in the right corner and regain the lead 12-13.

Not to be outdone Monmouth again let rip with Vaughan again putting Howells away with wing Connors cleverly outflanking a would be tackler to score under the posts for an easy conversion and another change of lead to 19-13.

Poor tackling against the sturdier attackers in the Oakdale team was making for excitement and yet disappointment as the visitors again scored another try in the extreme right corner courtesy of yet another missed tackle. The good kick gained the lead again – 19-20.

Monmouth’s other weakness throughout was a failure to secure their line-out largely due to inaccurate throwing in but their ability to move the ball around the field at speed compensated.

Prop Hunter was next to figure taking the ball in mid-field and setting up a solid ruck after a rumble forward for what became another well worked try, this time through wing Layne but Vaughan failed to add the extra points and Oakdale immediately responded, benefitting initially from further missed tackles and saved only by the determination and pace of White who redeemed himself by tackling back and saving an almost inevitable score. Fortune was on the side of the home team now as a relatively easy penalty kick failed allowing Monmouth to enter the break 24-20 in front.

With a stern talking to by the respective coaches to try to cut out the mistakes, Monmouth turned around to play into the breeze and the lowering sunshine missing the very first kick off as a result, but with both sides nullifying the others efforts until Connors set of on a beautifully balanced and pacey run deep into Oakdale territory. An excellent scything tackle ended his run, and his game, as he limped off the field but the prospects for this player look excellent.

Frustration now started to show as play became a little niggley and then Vaughan found his dead ball kicking boots again adding two penalties to his total, the second of which was an unbelievable one from halfway and into the wind.
In the lead 30-20 but with an eventual 27 minutes to play Monmouth needed to dig in deep and initial signs were good as they repelled ruck after ruck as Oakdale pounded their line. From a turn over ad a 50m clearing kick it was clear the tempo was generally slowing and the referee’s patience was impressive as many of his decisions were repeatedly questioned by the visiting captain.

Local enthusiasm seemed to be waning as Oakdale drove mauls and many home forwards congregated in mid-field but Monmouth were spare when an attacking move was passed directly into touch.

Monmouth cleared their lines from a penalty kick but when it was run back at them the Oakdale player just managed to ground the ball over the line for a try. A simple penalty kick was missed keeping Monmouth ahead but then a similar one of their own failed too.

And then pressures increased as captain and No. 8 Phillips received a yellow card for a knock on adjudged to be deliberate. The penalty was reversed for Oakdale dissent but they were still one man down which was to prove a killer after wave upon wave of charges at the Monmouth line during the final five minutes eventually breached their defences and the easy conversion saw Oakdale steal the result 30-32 in the last minute of the game.

Bonus points all round but Monmouth will be kicking themselves for letting their lead slip. Next week brings an opportunity to build on their attacking play when with the advent of the Autumn Internationals they have an away friendly against high flying Bargoed of the SWALEC Championship (k.o. 1830hrs Friday 7 November.) Punishment aplenty will be dished out though if they continue to miss their tackles at Bargoed.

Tries: A.Roberts, J.Howells, C.Connors, A.Layne
Conv: J.Vaughan (2)
Pen: J.Vaughan (2)

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