National League 3 East A - Monmouth 62 RTB Ebbw Vale 0
SPECTATORS at the Sportsground on Saturday were treated to an Easter try-fest as Monmouth RFC enjoyed a dominant 62-0 victory over an inexperienced RTB Ebbw Vale.
Within five minutes the prospect of a win looked good, with deep breaks first by scrum half Dan White taken on by left wing Kester Mobbs-Morgan and soon after by number eight Tom Hawkins, all of which took some stopping.
Apart from a strong cross-wind from the north west that might trouble goal-kickers, the conditions were set fair for a running, high-scoring game. And so it turned out to be.
With centre Amosa Nove liking the firm surface he was prominent in several breaks, while full back Lee Goddard and wing Mobbs-Morgan both found themselves over the line inside the first 20 minutes with the second of these made possible in the end by a superb long cut-out pass by fly-half Paul Emanuelli to his left. Emanuelli was still trying to adjust his kicking to the wind, so both scores went unconverted.
The visitors rallied at this stage and for a short spell were much more vigorous and playing in the Monmouth half. Having cleverly held up a maul, their ambitions were thwarted though by an accidental offside, following which White went on the rampage again, passing around eight challengers in a 35 metre burst. A converted try was the result following another well timed pass by Emanuelli.
White then went under the posts again to stretch Monmouth’s lead to 24-0, with the home side having secured a bonus point with ten minutes still to play before half-time.
After a kick ahead by Monmouth which ran dead, RTB’s luck did not last as one of their number was yellow-carded for a fairly fierce ’no arms’ tackle. Nove took advantage of the gaps and ran 50 metres to cross the line only to delay and give the score to Goddard who was following up. Emanuelli again converted the try.
Number eight Hawkins joined in the free-flowing spirit with a lovely pass from the base of a ruck which flowed left along the line for Mobbs-Morgan to again score under the sticks. 38 points down at the break meant the visitors were facing a stiff second-half task.
The challenge quickly became greater as Monmouth scored under the posts again through Emanuelli soon after the restart, but as RTB played for pride and frustrated Monmouth attacks, it was a good 10 minutes before Nove was again able to cream the defence, bringing the score to 52-0 with a full 28 minutes still to play.
RTB tried hard but the boot of Emanuelli helped relieve any pressure with some deep kicks to touch. The referee, who generally had a good game, perhaps seemed a bit harsh on the home side during the final quarter, but perhaps Monmouth in their desire to keep a clean sheet were offending more than usual.
The twinkle-toed runs of White again made ground though, this time helping him dance through defenders and over the line.
Confidence was now naturally high but did not excuse extravagant attempts at overhead passes which prevented the completion of some further opportunities. Nor did prolonged scrabbling for the ball on the ground after the whistle had halted play. This offence cost Monmouth a player for 10 minutes, but given their line-out successes, still enabled progress along touch with some adroit kicks. Long before this loss of a player to ’the bin’ though, play had been evened up by the move to passive scrums diminishing Monmouth’s scrummaging domination.
The game would not have been complete without a further display of Nove’s skills in cleverly drawing his man to put Mobbs-Morgan in the clear yet again to complete Monmouth’s try scoring bonanza and seal the result 62-0.
This coming Saturday (22nd April), Usk will prove a stiffer challenge when they visit the Sportsground. Kick off is at 2.30pm.
Photographs courtesy of Gareth Roberts.