League 4 East
Monmouth RFC 41 - Abercarn RFC 17
IT WAS a busy fortnight for Monmouth RFC with a 29-3 win against Old Iltydians on April 19 to boost confidence prior to a testing trip to Abertysswg.
The younger than usual team was comprehensively turned over six tries to one (11-39) on Wednesday, April 23, by a well drilled unit, before the Druids took a deserved win 15-22 against Crickhowell in the Ivor Jones Cup Final on Friday, April 25, followed by a 41-17 win at home over Abercarn on Saturday.
Abercarn kicked off and initially used the wind effectively to keep the home team penned deep in their half, although they missed the opportunity of going ahead when they missed a penalty after only two minutes of play.
A clash of heads immobilised flanker Squires early on, but the loss of this eager flanker made way for Griffiths to return from injury and deliver his usual vigorous performance, carrying and rucking well along with his fellow back-rowers.
Good cover tackling by scrum half White helped keep Abercarn out as they maintained the pressure, but after a 60 metre relieving kick by the visitors, a gap appeared which centre Kinsey scythed through to put his left wing in and the visitors 0-7 ahead.
Elusive running led by White, Lane and Harding regained ground, and right wing Meredith used his long-legged style to avoid a few defenders. From the resulting ruck, the home team transferred the ball along the line with slick hands to wing Tabb, who scored untouched in the corner. Given the wind Ricketts’ conversion was exceptional and levelled the score at 7-7 after 22 minutes.
A penalty apiece for Ricketts and Abercarn, either side of a chance for the visitors to go clear ahead when with a try on the cards a prop forward fancied his chances as a centre only to knock on, saw the half close all square at 10-10.
From the kick-off after the break Griffiths was up to pick up the loose ball and with great determination drove through to score near the corner. Ricketts’ kick was excellent and gained a 17-10 lead.
In no time at all, centre Davies stole an interception to score under the posts for a further seven points and Harding was available on the left to use his pace and physique to charge through out on the left, but this time too far for Ricketts’ kick across the wind.
Tom Green next shone, charging 20 metres or so through several tackles, but the cross-field kick aimed at the waiting Tabb allowed a tackler to arrive at the same time. Confidence was now high as Monmouth again spread the ball wide but gave their winger on the right an uncatchable pass.
Stacey Edwards had now ventured onto the field and as expected steadied the ship as he burrowed under three tackles to gain significant ground but the move that followed faltered due to players crossing.
Abercarn rallied and found themselves deep in the home half when a high tackle brought Monmouth down to 14 men for a ten minute period, but Abercarn ignored the kick at goal and Monmouth were able to hack a loose ball a full 70 yards down the field and into touch.
Still playing expansively Ricketts picked up the ball and fired it along the line. Davies reverse passed to Meredith outside him and he went on to score in the right corner. Ricketts was better into the wind as his difficult kick this time floated across the front of the posts.
But at 34-10 Monmouth’s backs obviously thought the game was won, allowing Abercarn a consolation try as they all ball watched as their line was broken.
At 34-17 Abercarn threw their all into the closing minutes but replacement scrum half Kyle Price took advantage of their eagerness by capitalising with them being over-stretched and scooting over from 10 metres. Ricketts closing conversion completed a comprehensive 41-17 win.