1XV v Usk (home) 14 Apr 2018

29-9 Win

Monmouth Race Away To Win At Usk

Monmouth started off in their usual manner, intent on attack as a form of defence, running ball, sometimes dangerously, from deep within their 22, but with fullback Nove on fine form, deep incursions towards the Usk half were always possible, aided a little apparently by a shortage of usual back-rowers in the home team.

Play was rather punctuated for some time by handling errors and avoidable penalties, the first kickable one of these on the quarter hour being pulled. Centre Paley was on good form too, forcibly squirming out of tackles to make ground, although much of such potential progress was facilitated by the elusiveness of new fly-half Richards.

The Usk pack was stubbborn in its defence though and a particular driving maul had the visitors at sixes and sevens at one stage, capitalised upon by spinning the ball wide to their right only to be tackled into touch near the Club-house.

And then an easy score for Usk got the ball rolling early in the second quarter. A straight 25m penalty brought three points and two minutes later, Monmouth back-chatted after being let off with just a penalty for a high tackle, putting them a further three points behind.

Usk was the most lively and penetrative at this stage failing though to take advantage of yet another kickable penalty.

Monmouth reawakened, and catching an Usk defender in possession, the ball was spun left to wing Davies who was high tackled in despairing defence. Opting for a scrum as a penalty, a scoring opportunity from a resultant ruck evaporated due to a poor pass to the backs by a forward pretending to be a scrum half. From the turnover, a deep kick out gaining a 60 metres line-out temporarily set Monmouth back again.

But they began firing at last. Nove again made good ground but ran out of support with Usk panicking under pressure and readily giving away penalties. Touch followed by a scrum brought another offside call and scrum-half White was over and the ball down before Usk could rally their defence. Seven points took them into the lead and resulted in the referee having to quell home crowd dissension just on half-time.

Usk re-started well and moved into the 22 from a backs’ move which hooker White thwarted but earned himself a yellow card but fortunately Usk could not take advantage of the kick at goal. Their pressure up front still showed though as Monmouth were penalised for turning a scrum which helped Usk take the lead to 9-7.

Nove once again was to make ground from deep but his supporting players kicked possession away. And then the game came really to life when a ‘no arms’ tackle brought a red card for the visitors and a flare-up, but the physical response by Usk’s Captain evened things up quickly with his own dismissal from the field.

Unseemly though the incident had been, it certainly livened up the game which until then had been rather error prone and aimless. The loss of leadership however was to prove more costly with hindsight than one centre less for the visitors and was to prove a turning point.

First right wing Williams cruised past Usk defenders in pursuit of a deep kick upfield to score near the corner for a try that went unconverted. No. 8 Giles made it to the line with the recycled ball going along the line for a score on the left wing.

White was next: picking up at the back of a ruck to see just one defender guarding the blind-side. Always one to try and make opponents appeared flat-footed, he side-stepped and then out-ran those chasing him to score in the opposite corner.

Fly half Richards proved his kicking worth by completing a difficult conversion but in no time at all ran superbly almost the full length of the pitch past despairing defenders to take the score to 9-29.

In a purple patch of fifteen minutes Monmouth had stretched their lead by a further 4 tries and 22 points, collecting a bonus point in the process and another could have compounded the victory when Nove again scorched up-field, only this time, to ignore his support and go for personal glory instead - his only black mark of the day after a star performance as he was bundled into touch.

A trip away to Ebbw Vale RTB beckons this coming Saturday when it is hoped Monmouth will continue to progress towards League Division 2.

Tries: D.White (2), D.Williams, S.Giles, Richards
Conv: Richards (2)

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