1XV v Berry Hill (away) 24 Aug 2019

28-38 Loss

Berry Hill RFC’s ground was bathed in sunshine for the Annual Memorial Day in honour of Ian ‘Sedge’ Seymour, former coach of Monmouth and Berry Hill. The large crowd was treated to valiant, occasionally stirring, play by both the first and second XVs despite the unfriendly temperatures. Numerous veterans were on display in the first game including Adam Seymour returning home in memory of his Dad, Andrew Davies, Monmouth’s new Chairman and, the now 62 year old, John Jeffs who can still be seen playing competitive rugby most weekends. The narrow 16-15 win by the visitors was a true reflection of how keenly contested their game was. The game which followed between the senior sides was equally hard fought but with many more scoring opportunities made and delivered by both teams. Mistakes there were aplenty as is to be expected so early in the season but flashes of guile, class and even fitness, too, were on display. The home team was the first to score an unconverted try but Monmouth responded quickly, first with a score in the left corner which was ruled out for having been dropped in the act of scoring, which the same centre made up for with a good run when he took two tacklers over the line to take a 5-7 lead. The response was almost immediate with Berry Hill winning a line-out deep down the slope in the left corner. The resultant drive regained a lead of 12-7 which in turn spurred the visitors to regain territory and win an easily kickable penalty for offside which they declined but then failed to cross the line, A mistake at this stage as the final result was to show because Berry Hill then scored again although relief came a little later for Monmouth when they intercepted in mid-field for a clear run in to the posts. 19-14 down at half-time may have been a tolerable measure of first half play but, calamity, as Berry Hill were awarded a penalty try for persisten offending near the line and a further 7 points for a 26-14 score at the break. Berry Hill benefitted most from the rest period by starting back where they left off when good support play at pace exposed some weak tackling to move to 33-14 within minutes of the re-start. Monmouth rallied and were camped upon their opponents line but the local defence was strong, rebuffing attack after attack. The ball made it into the centre but a grubber yo breach the gain line ran safely into the deadball area. Converted tries were exchanged as both sides kept up the pace and Monmouth restored some pride near the end with a well taken try through the centre beating three men in the act of scoring. Despite losing 38-28, the good points from a Monmouth point of view were their ability to fight back despite having 6 significant absentees engaged elsewhere, their line-out and how well some of the new faces acquitted themselves. The tackle percentage does however need to be improved upon. The winner overall was Cancer Research UK, the beneficiaries of this fun event, as well, of course, as this annual opportunity to remember a courageous and sporting man, who through the game he loved, continues to maintain friendships and memories despite his having passed away. Well done and thanks, Sedge!

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