1XV v Caldicot (away) 12 Sep 2015

20-47 Loss

Encouraging despite early setbacks for Monmouth.

A trip to Caldicot is always daunting and last Saturday’s visit was no exception.

After an opening brief attacking flurry with scrum half White making a trade-mark dart up the touch-line before being engulfed by the eager home defence, possession was handed over for a long penalty kick downfield out of the sun and on the very blustery wind.

Sadly, in a nervous start the rolling ball was spilled and pounced upon by the speedy Caldicot backs. Only the wind prevented the conversion as it was to do for much of the afternoon. 5-0 and only a couple of minutes into the game.

Monmouth responded with a good passing movement which saw Wing Tabb having to jink inside to avoid touch followed by a succession of rucks resulting in a penalty kick at goal which the wind was again to inhibit.

From the re-start the home side put in a wild cross kick in the direction of their left wing which might have gone into touch but for a cruel, wicked bounce on the firm ground giving their winger a clear run-in for another unconverted try.

Using the wind to good advantage, Caldicot were soon to capitalise on a hasty kick out of defence straight to them. White was tackling back and forced a touch but the home forwards had soon forced their way over following a ruck. Three mistakes and three tries in the first ten or so minutes.

Following a fumble after a missed tackle proving the only defence another setback Materialised from a penalty for wheeling the scrum, Monmouth did however do well after another miskick out of defence with a superb try saving tackle in the corner.

Heads were understandably bowing a little under this barrage of attacks which were not about to relent when a gap appeared ambongst the line and which Caldicot used to score again.

Five minutes and Monmouth were penalised again this time for not rolling away from the tackle. The home team kicked to the corner and drove a very well drilled maul over the line, this time near enough to be converted.

Play levelled up a little and with half-time approaching Monmouth achieved a little consolation from a Tabb penalty but merely served to spur Caldicot on again. Despite several saving acts as Caldicot drove from a line-out in the right corner, eventually Monmouth cracked leading to a 37-3 deficit at the break.

As the wind predictably eased now it should have benefitted the visitors, poor tackling led to a large territorial gain for the home team.

The scrum was showing signs of weakening and before long Caldicot ran a set piece move involving both half-backs setting up a centre to cross under the posts. Despite this Caldicot obliged by missing the conversion.

A rally now resulted and centre Dan Williams lifted spirits rounding the defence to score under the posts. 42-10 was now looking a little better and the visiting forwards began to carry the the ball into and through contact, In panic Caldicot offended to defend and Tabb took them to 42-13 before the end of the third quarter.

The home team were not done and soon found an undefended Monmouth left flank to score their eighth try but Monmouth, young as many of them are, showed the same perseverance as they had done in the face of adversity last week,

Their scrum was now making inroads, providing good ball for the backs to try their paces even if the odd pass was to go astray and as the final whistle drew near, the ball once more was spread right reaching wing Nathan cocker despite many an offside defender in the opposing rush defence. With the space narrowing near the touch-line, he stepped inside and provided a delightful reverse scissors pass to the supporting full back Parsons whose confidence was thoroughly restored with a try which Tabb again converted.

47-20 was of course dis-spiriting but the way in which the team can rally is encouraging. The test now against Abercarn at home next week will be to cut out the silly gifting of tries before they get into their stride and play some good rugby of their own.

Tries: D.Williams, S.Parsons
Conv: M.Tabb (2)
Pen: M.Tabb (2)

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