1XV v Usk (home) 03 Sep 2016

6-23 Loss

Disappointment for Monmouth at Usk

Monmouth began the new season away at Usk helped by a few veteran players given that several of their squad were unavailable. And in the first half it showed, as Usk took the game to them playing with much more purpose and power.

An early penalty for handling in a ruck brought the first points for Usk and soon after they spread the ball wide to put their right wing over untouched for an unconverted try near the corner.

The diminutive Dan White was needing all of his tenacity at scrum half as the ball was flapped back from the lines out and having to play behind a creaking scrum or taking on the home team's rampaging back row.

Full back Thomas was on hand when another try seemed an almost certainty but for his brave tackle. But Usk from this position were soon able to drive over for their second unconverted try and all this inside the first twenty minutes.

A moment of excitement for the rain sodden visiting supporters when two Monmouth players broke away was short-lived as they were called back for an Usk penalty which this time they converted.

With half time approaching and Monmouth not having made ground other than by the boot, captain and outside half Parsons had their first chance to score through a penalty which sadly he missed. The half-time whistle came as a relief with Usk all but camped in the visitors' 22m area.

At this stage the persistent light rain turned into a downpour adding to the uphill 13-0 task Monmouth faced but Parsons was soon to open their scoring with a gargantuan penalty kick from the half-way line.

This seemed to spark the visiting players who now tackled hard and won the ball at many rucks despite the pressure placed upon them by the bigger Usk forwards. More accurate line-out throws helped Anstey to more reliably catch the ball at the line-out and generally there was much more go forward, aided by the award of a yellow card for a hurtful tackle on one of Monmouth's more consistent forwards whilst up in the air. Sadly Gleed had to leave the field apparently with an injured shoulder.

Usk were now repeatedly offending the referee giving Parsons more kicks at goal albeit from long distances and although good efforts, the many near misses added nothing to the score.

Another yellow card helped to keep up the momentum for Monmouth and when Parsons added another penalty there was at least the belief now that a further score might make victory possible or failing that, a losing bonus point.

Usk must have been thinking the same though and suddenly picked up their game taking play deep into the visitors' half. The defences held out if rather frantically, until they went for a pushover try which Monmouth could only defend illegally. The resultant penalty try and final score of 23-6 although disappointing was a fair reflection of the game.

Monmouth travel to New Tredegar next week but if they can produce the same determination they showed in the second half, this is the type of sharpened performance they will need to succeed.

Pen: S.Parsons (2)

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