1XV v Abergavenny (home) 19 May 2018

30-22 Win

League Champions Go Up With Another Win

Abergavenny provided the opposition for the last game of the season on Chippenham knowing that a four try bonus point win would see them joining Monmouth in League 2A East next season.

They put Monmouth under considerable pressure for much of the match and although they scored their crucial fourth try in the closing minutes of the game, the lead the fourteen man local team had generated by then prevented the win they needed.

Both sides played their hearts out as the award of several yellow cards demonstrated but when a Monmouth player received a red card for foul play with just 20 minutes gone, local hearts sank at the thought of the uphill battle that now faced their team.

Abergavenny were the first to score through a driving maul cheered on by the highly vocal support of the visiting fans which was to incur the wrath of the referee later in the game.

Both sides were giving as good as they got with deep kicks downfield and fierce tackling on the counter by both sides. An early altercation even caused play to be halted as wing Tabb looked to be well on his way to a score.

Fly half Davies was next to break free but when he kicked ahead he was tripped, resulting in a yellow card for the visitors. The penalty to touch was won and when play moved to a maul towards the right touch-line, Monmouth in turn transgressed and earned their sending off.

Predictably the visiting pack used their one man advantage straightaway to drive Monmouth many yards back at the next maul but they soon earned a yellow card for persistently and the penalty for not rolling away after tackles which got the local team onto the scoreboard 3-5.

A little later 10 metres conceded for dissent put Monmouth back on the front foot and after a strong run from wing Davies, handling on the floor at a ruck brought another penalty which brought Monmouth a 6-5 lead.

But Abergavenny were still playing strongly and although a score was prevented by dogged defence and a crucial turnover, a poor clearance led to a succession of rucks from which a visiting 2nd Row barged through to take the lead to 6 -12 on the stroke of half-time.

Abergavenny's second half tactics, overheard because of their proximity to the crowd, was to be similar to the first half. "Maintaining the pressure they don't like and putting the ball in behind them" was fairly obvious advice, whereas, for Monmouth, defeating Abergavenny for the third time in the one season was the only spur they needed.

Monmouth began by becoming more daring, probing for gaps despite the risks that this entailed, but it worked, as fullback White took play over the advantage line and with support made substantial ground up along the right touch line. In no time they were under the posts and open- side flanker Williams drove over for a converted try and change of lead to 13-12.

The visiting was now unhappy, requiring the referee to admonish individuals amongst them but their team seemed stirred by this and despite working their way down to the corner and several rucks near the Monmouth line, a 'scorer' was held up but when their fly-half McGlynn eventually wriggled over, the try was good and the lead again changed hands.

Now under immense pressure Monmouth defended as if their very lives depended upon it and again they held up someone over the line. Abergavenny's very pacey backs made much ground running back relieving kicks and only superb tackling was cutting them short.

White again began a counter-attack, which after slick inter-passing, was rounded off by flanker Williams. The kick failed but an 18 - 17 lead spurred Monmouth on more. Within three minutes they had scored again through their Season's star, centre Nove. He burst several tackles at pace for this well deserved score which now had taken the home team two scores ahead. With their spirits now very much on a high, scrum-half Davies broke and nearly went all the way but saw flanker Williams on his left to score yet again. The referee, maintaining his impartiality, stopped the conversion for it taking too long, but at 30-17 Monmouth weakened just the once and as time was running out, Abergavenny put a good move together to stretch the Monmouth defence cross field to the left to narrow the final margin to 30-22.

Their bonus point achieved but with absolute victory eluding them, the resolve shown by the 14 men very much made it their day and ensure it is Newport HSOB who will accompany Monmouth into Division 2A East after an exceedingly long and successful season under the effective guidance of Coach, Craig Everett. The celebrations deservedly lasted long into the night.

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