1XV v Tredegar Ironsides (home) 06 Jan 2018

17-0 Win

Disappointment Despite Win for Monmouth

On a bitterly cold but clear day, Monmouth entertained Tredegar Ironsides last Saturday who they had defeated comfortably away in late September.

Despite recent inclement weather the pitch, which drains very well, seemed all but perfect for another contest with the pack dominating in the scrums and the backs playing the free flowing game supporters have become used to seeing.

The very first scrum of the game suggested there were little problems to fear in that respect as they put the visitors under immediate pressure, but 'The Irons' were defending well enough to ensure play was pretty even for the first ten minutes or so with both sides probing deeply into each other territories.

Eventually the pressure told on the visitors after a series of rucks near their line which were desperately rebuffed, when flanker Giles nipped over for the first score after quarter of an hour. The surface was perhaps more greasy than earlier suggested because the relatively easy conversion was missed.

The referee was not pleasing the crowd because of a series of apparently strange decisions and in particular for ignoring the current requirement that the ball should be put in straight so that it can be 'hooked' for. But clearly not a requirement today when Monmouth's scrummaging could have been decisive.

Monmouth lived dangerously in contact and suffered two yellow card suspensions in the space of two minutes for questionable tackling but fortunately the visiting goal kicker missed the penalties both times.

With full playing numbers restored, home dominance grew and open side flanker Grant made a scything break downfield to be supported by wing Tabb, but overlooking a substantial overlap saw an opportunity go begging. Monmouth soon redeemed themselves when having been stopped short of the line a few times, a further infringement resulted in a defender in turn receiving a yellow card. The pressure from a resulting scrum saw The Irons trundled back over the line for a touchdown by No. 8 Hawkins and a conversion to secure a 12-0 half-time lead.

Tredegar kicked off after the break and soon won themselves an attacking line on the left downfield which they won with a quick front ball and nearly scored. Luckily in defending the threat, Monmouth won a penalty and cleared their line.

Play picked up now for the home team and eventually a move from halfway upfield to the left brought some speedy and exciting play, resulting in 'an assist' by newly returned flanker Rees, complete with new hair style and striking beard, to centre Smith who did not need the further players outside him as he scored although the kick hit the post.

With a full 32 minutes to play, hopes of more scores and a winning bonus point were now high but amazingly the game then went amazingly flat.

Tredegar defended well, but the most significant change seemed to be the almost complete lack of playing advantage with the whistle predominating matters. The number of times there was an infringement and Monmouth were playing on, only to be called back for a re-start was incalculable, and apart from a further yellow card for a repeat high tackle by The Irons to frustrate a promising move at last by the home backs in which prop Rawlings popped up with a trade-mark strong burst, little worth reporting occurred.

That is, until near the very end, when Tredegar came near the line and no matter how well they were legitimately defended it seemed the referee was determined to help them score which Monmouth's tenacity ensured they did not.

All in all, a very frustrating day at the office when their enforced inability to capitalise on their strengths may just cost them dear by the end of the season. Still, it needs to be 'heads up' again by next week, as they travel to take on Hafodyrynys in a Cup match, prefacing a long series thereafter of away League matches before several games waiting to be re-arranged.

Tries: Giles, Hawkins, Smith
Conv: P.Emanuelli

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