1XV v Chepstow (home) 11 Apr 2015

22-20 Win

Last Gasp Win For Monmouth

Chepstow came with few supporters but seeming confident that their strong, robust pack would help them repeat their early season home win and Monmouth dropping the ball from the kick-off looked as if they might.

Playing up the field in sunny but very blustery conditions, the Monmouth back row, undeterred, was very prominent with deep forays into their opponents half for much of the first quarter keeping the visitors on the back foot as well as causing panic measures in defence by Chepstow and the conceding of two penalties ably kicked by full back Rhys Ricketts.

Gradually play evened out and Chepstow cleverly used the elements to advance down the right touch-line but when they in turn gained a penalty chance which went begging, they kept up the pressure, spending a full five minutes camped in the right corner of Monmouth territory but the home team’s defence was resolute.

Eventually the visitors’ momentum grew and in the 28th minute having first stretched Monmouth on the left side, a switch back to the extreme right through many pairs of hands saw their winger round the defence for the first try of the game. Fortunately their line kicking was superior to their place-kicking which was to cost them dearly.
Their conversion failed as Monmouth all but charged it down. Wing Mobbs-Morgan may still be learning the senior game but his pace in charging or following kicks plus his fearlessness in the tackle are two fine strengths.

Monmouth bounced back straightaway gaining another three points for some Chepstow indiscipline and a 9-5 lead going into half-time.

Chepstow set off strongest in the second half and when a home defender used his shoulder in a tackle the resultant penalty eventually led to a scrum near to the line and a simple missed tackle let them score near enough to the posts to be overtaken 9-12. The referee had eyes everywhere and after a scuffle behind the posts, the game re-started with a penalty kick leading to a line-out and then a scrum after which for failing to release a tackler and thus slowing down the attack their open side flanker was awarded a yellow card. Ricketts gratefully took the kick to level the score 12-12.

Play moved from end to end with one right flank attack by Monmouth foundering because the ball carrier tried to make his mark by driving through a tackle rather than seeking support but the tackle was good and the chance was lost.

Play gravitated to near the Monmouth line where while defending vigorously, a forward was yellow carded for coming into a ruck from the side when it was clear for most to see the ruck had split and he had driven through from the rear and the very middle.

But the referee can only rule the game he sees and relief was felt widely when Chepstow went over the line but the ball was adjudged held up but the respite did not last long as a visiting centre cut through to score near the posts. Mobbs-Morgan, in the face of the kicker again, helped the conversion fail, but Monmouth, now 5 points behind drove deeply down-field.

They bombarded the line and when wild whistling resulted a major decision such as a penalty try or yellow card was anticipated not the mere penalty which Monmouth ran, only to be held up over the line again.

Four more minutes of battering away by the forwards brought penalties galore, the ball held up again and one of Monmouth’s heaviest players being driven back by a very determined Chepstow defence. At last the pack allowed the ball to be moved into the backs from where centre Adam Roberts charged into and through the defence. Ricketts added the points to regain a 19-17 lead.

Chepstow responded immediately and only a last ditch tackle by the full back saved a try but a foul tackle in the lead up changed the lead again to 19-20 from another penalty.

Somehow the referee found 10 minutes of extra time which was fiercely contested and then Monmouth scored in the left hand corner only for the visiting touch-judge to call play back for a marginal foot in touch. Chepstow won the line-out and kicked for touch. In what was now the very last minute Monmouth threw badly into the line but when the visiting hooker charged off-side, not for the first time, Ricketts, dependable as always, slotted a 35 metre penalty from far out with the last kick of the game to snatch the win 22-20. Can they repeat the feat next week away at Cwmbran one wonders?

Tries: A.Roberts
Conv: R.Ricketts
Pen: R.Ricketts (5)

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