WRU East One
Brynmawr 75 Monmouth RFC 14
Brynmawr showed why they lead League Division East 1 with their strong carrying and speed and skill at the breakdown, deservedly running out 75-14 winners against Monmouth on Saturday, reports PETE WALTERS.
The game followed the unveiling of a statue in Brynmawr town centre by dual code star Jonathan Davies in memory of Roy Francis – a Welsh rugby league legend who went North, but was overlooked and forgotten about back home in Wales – who began his career at the Recreation Ground.
In all fairness, Mawr needed little luck or assistance in continuing the celebrations on the field, but the referee showed little tolerance or discretion as he worked hard to impress his assessor watching from the stand.
He did not miss much but some decisions definitely appeared to be a matter of looking for things to whistle for, even when they were inconsequential or just plain hasty or wrong.
Such comment though should not detract in any way from Brynmawr’s achievement, because having scored their first try on six minutes, they racked up 12 tries in all after gaining their try-scoring bonus point on the half hour as well as a further two before half-time.
Their superb goal kicker was to miss only one conversion to add a personal 25 points from his boot.
The home captain and centre Joel Amphlett was his usual deceptive and strong running self leading the way to the line.
Easy to say from the touch line, but he needed to be closed down early if he was not to find gaps or break tackles.
Monmouth kept at it throughout, but they were not helped by some simple mistakes.
Being in front of the kicker at a drop out, a signalled long pass being intercepted and playing a line out ball inside the 5m line all added to the pressure on the visitors.
But there were some encouraging points as well, as for the most part through first half props Luke Hunter and Tom Green, the set scrums held up well; few lines-out were lost; there were individual examples of strong tackles and, although it might be understandable otherwise, everyone kept trying.
Half-time brought a necessary breather and some bolstering talk in the face of the 42-0 deficit.
Then despite an early driving maul further try-scoring setback, having gained ground up the slope on the left fly-half Jordan Howells took a penalty for offside quickly to open the scoring for Monmouth with wing Matt Tabb adding the conversion.
But this stirred Brynmawr enough for them to score three tries in the course of five more minutes to reach 61-7.
Full back Lewis Bates was doing his best running balls back out of defence, but the home team more often than not were quick to turn over at the rucks helped by a certain laxity in spotting offsides in defence when Monmouth were attacking.
A further try down and Bryn- mawr’s joie de vivre led to one of their number urging his team-mates to ‘go for three digits’, but this achieved little other than increase determination against the odds for Monmouth.
After defending several rucks and scrums near their line, the visitors ran the ball out over some 60 metres with excellent inter passing completed by scrum-half Oliver Scriven in support for a converted score.
Brynmawr, strangely were niggled now and lost a player to a yellow card for backchat to the referee, and in virtually the next move as Monmouth were again making an incursion, Brynmawr had a forward red-carded for kicking the head of a key player who had gone to ground in a tackle, lacerating his ear in the process.
Stirred by this, Monmouth attacked again in the closing minutes from the penalty, but sadly a rather wild pass saw Brynmawr intercept and run the length of the field to add a final deflating seven points for the final 75-14 result.
The next scheduled league game is Risca at home on November 4 after a welcome break for rest and reappraisal.
Elsewhere, Blaenavon beat hosts Abergavenny 20-16 in a WRU East 1 derby, while Usk lost by a single point 24-23 at home to Blackwood in East 2.
Chepstow also missed out 34-25 at home to Blaina in East 3,