Monmouthshire staged a remarkable comeback at the Principality Stadium on Tuesday to clinch the Inter District Cup for the first time by defeating last season’s finalists Mid District 22-21 in a tense final, writes Ray Ruddick.

Monmouthshire were 13 points down after seven minutes and 18 points down in less than half an hour, struggling to get out of their half.

However, a try late in the first period kept them in the game and, despite Mid District claiming the first points of the second half, Monmouthshire then scored 15 unanswered points to take the trophy. This tournament is for players representing their district who play in Division Three and below in the WRU Leagues.

Mid District took control of the game thanks to the boot of outside half Jordan Jones and two tries by centre Matthew Lewis to lead 18-0 approaching half time.

Mon then started to enjoy territory and possession and in the 39th minute, after a period of pressure, flanker and captain Kirk Lewis powered over for a try from close range in the left corner following a tap penalty.

This score was superbly converted by full back Aneurin Williams and it was 18-7 at half-time.

Jones extended Mid’s lead from the tee in the 48th minute but that sparked Mon into action and five minutes later they went on the attack in the 22 for second row Dan Greenway to barge over for an unconverted try.

Aneurin Williams kicked three more points to make it 21-15 and it was all to play for going into the final quarter.

With 13 minutes remaining, Monmouthshire’s pack drove their opponents back at a scrum deep inside Mid’s 22 and Mon were awarded a penalty from which replacement back rower Pat James took a quick tap and was brought down a metre short of the goal line.

South Wales Argus: Stephen Osborne crashed over for MonmouthshireStephen Osborne crashed over for Monmouthshire (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

The ball was recycled and replacement scrum half Tom Edwards then fed replacement second row Stephen Osborne, who crashed over for a try to the left of the posts, this within two minutes of entering the fray.

Williams added the extras to put Monmouthshire ahead for the first time in this keenly contested final with the score 22-21.

Immediately following the restart Mon were penalised for offside, 30 metres from their goal line on Mid District’s right but the shot at goal was pulled wide.

The final 10 minutes were stressful for both sides as one slip up could cost the match but Monmouthshire held on in a game of the proverbial two halves as both sides contributed to an entertaining and enthralling encounter with winning captain Kirk Lewis getting the player-of-the-match award.

Well done to Monmouthshire who, despite a slow start, grew into the game, showed great character and deservedly came away with the Inter District Cup. Commiserations to Mid District who put up a tremendous fight in a game played in a great spirit.

Congratulations and thanks to the Monmouthshire players and their clubs, coaches, physios, back room staff, administrators and volunteers for all their hard work and commitment throughout this and previous seasons.

After the match, Monmouthshire County caps were awarded to Owain Dumelow, Stephen Osborne and Kirk Lewis and ties to Richard Powell, Corrie Thomas, Corey Burton, Lewys Bassett, Michael Bush, Freddie Issac and Llewellyn Edwards, presented by WRU President Terry Cobner.

Monmouthshire: Aneurin Williams (Abercarn), Mason Parfitt (Abercarn), Jonathan Daniels (Blaina, replaced by Freddie Issac of Nantyglo), Lewys Bassett (Abertysswg), Casey Roomus (Nantyglo), Richard Powell (Nantyglo, replaced by Dex Lewis of Newport Saracens), Jamie Payne (Abercarn, replaced by Tom Edwards of Blaina), Owain Dumelow (Abercarn), Ewan Burrows (Newport Saracens, replaced by Macauley Dimmick of Fleur de Lys), Matthew Jones (Abercarn, replaced by Michael Bush of Whiteheads), Llewellyn Edwards (Nantyglo, replaced by Paddy Higgins of Abercarn), Dan Greenway (Abercarn, replaced by Stephen Osborne of Abertysswg), Corrie Thomas (Blaina, replaced by Pat James of Newport Saracens), Kirk Lewis (Newport Saracens, captain) and Corey Burton (Rhymney).

Scorers: Tries by Kirk Lewis, Dan Greenway and Stephen Osborne. Conversions by Aneurin Williams (2). Penalty by Aneurin Williams.