1XV v Blackwood Stars (home) 10 Oct 2015

10-10 Draw

All Square for Weakened Monmouth

Few people came to watch Monmouth at the Sports Ground last week presumably because of the current surfeit of televised Rugby World Cup and what a pity, because the weakened side representing the Club in the absence of many regular first teamers at a Stag ‘Do’ in Edinburgh acquitted themselves well in holding Blackwood Stars to a hard fought but fair draw.

Playing down the slope in the first half the robust visiting pack pressed hard and it took a good relieving kick by Monmouth to initially ease the pressure. But within minutes by means of a penalty and a line-out followed by a maul, they struck down the surprisingly undefended blind-side for an opening score which went unconverted.

Monmouth responded quickly with a slick passing movement in which centre Reed drew his man superbly only to for the opportunity to fizzle out a little further up-field.

Play see-sawed first one way and then the other with the halfway line repeatedly being the common ground. Blackwood were generating the greater pressure through their pack but their cause was hampered by a woeful weakness at half back resulting in clumsy mis-kicks to touch and fumbled passing which was just as well as Monmouth’s tackling was none too sure when the visitors managed to put moves together.

The home team stuck to their task and edged nearer with a penalty kick from 40 metres by full back Gordan for handling the ball on the floor at a ruck.
Keen to keep things even it seemed, when Blackwood responded by kicking a penalty into the corner for a line-out, Monmouth stole the ball when the visitors had largely been winning their own put in, but then put their defence under pressure with a ragged pass back, but clear their line they did.

In another such clearance, wing Mobbs Morgan chased a bouncing ball into Blackwood’s half, catching the defender in possession. The ball was hacked on again and if he had not been pulled back without the ball wing Churches would have scored but instead it was his centre partner Parsons who dabbed the loose ball down for Gordan to take the lead to 10-5 with his reliable boot as the break beckoned.

Blackwood ran the kick-off back at Monmouth, building pressure all the while and with their backs now producing greater sparkle than hitherto. Twice they were rebuffed on the line but eventually the home defence was overcome halfway out on the left with the scores now level at 10-10 as Blackwood’s kicking let them down again.

White had by now been switched to his more appropriate scrum half position and Monmouth began to let the ball flow through King at fly half to their backs with the result that the game livened up considerably but handling errors were to repeatedly let both sides down.

Blackwood still excelled in mauling but King saved the day on one occasion when he stole the ball from the edge of one and initiated a good passing movement which relieved the pressure but sadly ended with someone knocking on.
With only five minutes of normal time left Monmouth were pressing hard but ignoring supporting runners helped Blackwood defend down the right when a score looked possible.

Monmouth were now throwing everything they had into the mix and the last few minutes saw them camped on the visitors’ line. First, running into one’s own man prevented a score and almost immediately Blackwood passed wildly along the line under pressure direct into touch in goal. Try as they might, scrum after scrum could not bring a score and the final whistle confirmed a 10-10 tie: a fair result with hindsight, but a tremendous credit to all those Monmouth players who had stepped up a level from the Druids that day.

Tries: S.Parsons
Conv: K.Gordon
Pen: K.Gordon

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