1XV v New Tredegar (home) 10 Sep 2016

37-10 Win

Bonus point win for Monmouth

New Tredegar may have lost some players in the close season but Monmouth were a side transformed since their setback last week at Usk or perhaps, because of it.

Unusually, the weather was fine in the Rhymney valley having left rain at home, and unusually, too, the Monmouth pack was to be far too strong in the set piece for New Tredegar.

The game started with a few warning signs in that the opening kick off went straight into touch and then in the home side's very first attack they made ground through strong running aided by weak tackling. But the wheel turned quickly when first, Monmouth drove their opponents back yards in the first scrum and when a loose ball was fly-hacked deep into New Tredegar's half it was Monmouth's failure to take advantage of the pressure they generated rather than clinical defence. Pressure was not turned into points this time, but soon after a penalty kick into the left corner, from the subsequent line-out and ruck, No8 Hawkins burst over for the opening try which Captain Parsons converted. A converted penalty for offside helped New Tredegar narrow the scores just minutes later only for Monmouth to stretch it further with a free flowing move first down the right, then back to mid-field from whence it was spun to the right again by left winger Mobbs Morgan for the pacey and robust Pearce to cross. The kick took it to 3-14 inside the first 20 minutes.

A kick for offside having been signalled, Parsons showed his confidence when he kicked a penalty cross field to the left but just out of the reach of Mobbs-Mogan. The kick still took place and at 3-17, things were already looking troublesome for the home team. Their backs looked fast on the break but their forwards were undoubtedly a weak spot other than in the lines-out where Monmouth persevered with clumsy tapping back which often led to a loss of territory from them.

Monmouth's dominance led to increasingly questionable measures to defend their line but when New Tredegar stopped a move by a painful 'no arms' tackle the penalty taken as a scrum led to a strong drive which forced yet another penalty and scrum from which scrum half White darted and when stopped, popped inside to Hawkins who crossed for his second try but Parsons without his favourite kicking tee was off target leaving the score 3-22. at the break.

A change of tactics was required if the home team was to claw its way back but the word was that a move to passive scrums looked likely. And so it transpired.

At the very first break-down, on came the sponge-man to attend to the tight heads sore back and as he was led to the touch-line his replacement had to ask for passive scrums because although a front row replacement he was not experienced on the tight side. Inevitably this negated the home side's deficiencies up front and made this a game of give and take with both sides backs keen to move the ball around.

Several attempts at goal by Monmouth were missed until at last Parsons found his feet near the end of the third quarter when the spectators to a man were encouraging them to go for the further try they needed for a bonus point. As a result New Tredegar still fought hard at times making Monmouth struggle to clear their lines until with just ten minutes to go Monmouth drove forward, recycled the ball at a ruck and fed it out to Morgan Jeffs who scampered over for an unconverted try and the bonus point after which the home side became ragged and in broken play, left wing Mobbs Morgan, always on the look out for work, straightened up the move to see Parsons over with a strong burst and this time a kick which he converted himself.

Truculence then appeared in the shape of Hawkins throwing the ball at an opponent for which he was punched and then responded, whereupon most on the field joined in defending whoever. But when they were joined stupidly by a Monmouth player who had earlier been substituted after a good personal performance, the referee was able to add him to the two red cards he had already decided upon. The home side supporter who did likewise was cleverer though as he melted into the crowd whilst removing some of his more recognisable clothing to escape sanction.

New Tredegar were now the most fired up and after having their hooker held up over the line, their very next attack brought a strong run from a forward to narrow the final gap to 10-37.

After some excellent play, Monmouth's confidence will have lifted amongst this young team, anchored by a stronger front row and some doughty individuals in the pack.

Roll on Caerphilly who are the visitors on the 24th.

Tries: T.Hawkins (2), K.Pearce, M.Jeffs, S.Parsons
Conv: S.Parsons (4)
Pen: S.Parsons

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