1XV v Abercarn (away) 27 Apr 2016

7-60 Loss

Stern Test for Monmouth

A mid-week evening rearranged fixture is always difficult to fulfil, but when it is against a team bucking for promotion it promises to be doubly difficult.

And so it was to prove with only three regular 1st XV players in the starting line-up last Wednesday’s game at Abercarn but played at Newbridge saw the Monmouth youngsters 15 points down in as many minutes.

The home pack was to be the more dominant throughout for with age comes experience and superior physicality which when combined with cohesion and continuity was to make for a very hard day at the office. But with youth can come pace, enthusiasm and determination and these Monmouth delivered throughout resulting in a consolation try in the final minutes.
But 60-7 can only be described as a very considerable lesson learnt about accuracy in tackling, support play and playing as a team.

Abercarn provided these aplenty and were superb at bottling up attacks and turning the ball over prior to speedy passing through hands looking for gaps or weak tackles to exploit.

The start had been discouraging when Monmouth lost ground to a penalty for dissent and then were adjudged to have pulled down a maul under their posts. The penalty was quickly taken and the home team worked the ball along the line to score the first try of the game. The subsequent yellow card for the maul offence made what was to be an uphill climb even steeper.

Having conceded two further tries Monmouth rallied following a thunderous kick upfield and were busy testing the Abercarn defence on or near their line when thye were awarded a penalty but without advantage being played when they may well have scored, a failed kick was all they had to show for this passage of play.

Abercarn rallied again and in no time had the visitors defending their own line with their nippy scrum-half squeezing between two defenders for their bonus point score and with only 20 minutes gone.

Monmouth were not downed by this and first Dan White enjoying playing at inside half again made a sparkling break to threaten the line and shortly after the left wing made a 30 metre dash along the touch-line only to be cut off just before scoring.

Abercarn again gathered their senses and had stretched the score with two more converted tries to 36-0 by the break.
With the sun having dipped behind the surrounding hills, the temperature dropped considerably but at least Monmouth had the encouragement of several individuals having broken the early lines of defence even if their pace and confidence had fallen a little short of scoring during the first half.

And so it was when play resumed. White again made a sharp solo 30m or so but when he ran out of support, Abercarn responded by running the ball back to post the first of several scores in succession to rack up a 60-0 lead and still with a quarter of an hour left to play.

But Monmouth stuck at it, persisting with their tackling and showing much personal bravery which helped to keep up the team’s overall spirit, paving the way for the highlight of the now very chilly evening.

With the final whistle looming, Monmouth’s best was saved until the very last with an excellent break and follow through to the line by Alexander Ross which Matt Tabb neatly converted to prevent the threatening ‘whitewash’ - a fitting end to a game in which the Monmouth boys had been well beaten but to their credit had never given up and were deserving of this last word.

In preparation for next season with the final game being again away but this time at Blackwood Stars on Saturday 7th May, one hopes the selectors saw enough to want to further blood those who deserve it by giving them another chance in the First Team.

The ‘Stars’ have reportedly improved well this season so one can expect another stern ‘Valleys’ challenge to end what has proved to be a very transitional year.

Tries: A.Ross
Conv: M.Tabb

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