1XV v Llanhilleth (home) 01 Oct 2016

32-5 Win

Bonus Point Win For Monmouth

Hopes were high despite several enforced changes for Monmouth for their away trip to Llanhilleth last Saturday given that their opponents have struggled so far this season.

And so it seemed in the early stages as Monmouth pushed hard and often into their opponents' half with penetrative, and even at times intricate, three-quarter moves. The home team pack was heavier and the tactic had to be one of trying to run them around.

Sadly, although the home defence in broken play seemed quite ragged at times, the visitors threw away several chances through unforced errors, as well as not conforming to a rather pernickety referee's requirements.

So much so that the penalty count against them remained considerable throughout and ensuring that, despite a degree of initial dominance, it took them 20 minutes before a move started from a quick penalty was completed with style in the left corner by wing Sam Thomas. Despite the now beautiful sunshine, the greasy underfoot conditions made kicking at goal difficult and the conversion rebounded from a post.

This lead was nearly lost when Monmouth failed to control the ball at the back of their scrum and the opposing scrum half stole away only to be caught just before the line conceding another penalty in the process which the home team fortunately missed again.

Monmouth's half backs were to both have an excellent game and from some inter-passing between them the ball was worked wide on the right to find the back row up in support to score an again unconverted try.

Despite this second score and without much of an opposing threat the game still seemed to lack some spark until from an attacking scrum, the visitors moved the ball right through three pairs of hands to allow centre Dan Williams to burst clean through to take the score to 0-15.

Llanhilleth now produced some spark of their own with their best spell of driving play through their pack only to have their ball turned over near the line. Monmouth ran it back but a forward pass lost them this chance and brought the half time break.

The visitors started the second half the more lively but for dropped balls by White and then a second by Green. Props in three-quarter moves often foul up but cruelly on this occasion someone watching was heard to say 'if it had been a hotdog he would have caught it‘. Whatever, opportunities were being lost, but Green redeemed himself almost immediately with a dart which took several defenders to haul him down.

White, too, made up for things when next he dummied his way over at close quarters with fly half Emanuelli again hitting the post. With a 20 point to nil lead and a bonus point in the bag with more than a half hour to play hopes were now high of a feast of attacking play, but the opposite became true.

Pride kicked in with the home team picking up their game leading to the first warning for needless friction creeping in with Monmouth's turn to defend putting in some scything tackles to keep their opponents at bay.

White as alert as ever though, soon spotted his right wing unmarked for a cross kick opportunity which was selflessly passed inside as Llanhilleth scrambled to defend but with the failed conversion limiting the score to 0-25.

With substitutions now kicking in and some legs tiring, Monmouth put in an excellent scrum drive resulting in a penalty and large territorial gain. A scrum followed the line-out and substitute scrum half Jeffs initiated a move that went the full 60 metres to the line with clinical passing for a try and, at last, a conversion by Emanuelli which he celebrated wildly.

0-32 ahead it was now more important that Monmouth kept out any attacks rather than score more but Llanhilleth were not to be outdone and from a ruck near the line they dived through the defence for a consolation 5 points.

The win was important for growing confidence prior to next week's away cup match at Hafodyrynys but there are still a few rough edges the coaches will want to iron out before then. The new younger faces on display this week did more than play their part though!

Tries: S.Thomas, ?, D.Williams, D.White, ?, ?
Conv: P.Emanuelli

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