Dominant win for title chasers Monmouth

By Jake Chown  
Wednesday 3rd April 2019 7:40 am

Dean Higgs takes the pass before scoring the first of his four tries

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WRU National League 2 East - Monmouth 76 Abercarn 12

With the fixture backlog now requiring regular mid week fixtures, Monmouth travelled away to Caerphilly last Wednesday for what was to be a predictably tough game.

The lead changed hands many times but Monmouth showed great character again to clinch the result on the final whistle with a penalty 19-21, thus keeping their promotion dream alive.

Then on Saturday, Abercarn were visitors to the Sportsground, despite them having only 14 players to play and a immediate need for passive scrummaging.

It was to prove tough for Abercarn from the very start with the first try coming inside 10 minutes with the kick to follow being almost a formality.

Back rower Alex Thau soon followed this up to make it 12-0. With Monmouth’s focus still on attack, Abercarn were able to take advantage by cutting through for a five point response.

The irrepressible full back Dan White, backing his usual belief in his ability to beat opponents even near his own line, next made a lengthy burst down the right touch-line only to be pushed out of play near half-way.

Abercarn in taking a quick line-out made ground but a grubber through merely brought an opportunity for Rhys Gant to make a long clearance following which Amosa Nove was on the scoreboard; and then within a mere two minutes he took a high pass well on the left wing to scorch through for a converted try and a try scoring bonus point after only 20 minutes of play.

The home team continued to cut the visitors’ defences to shreds at this stage with first White making a major incursion before feeding scrum-half Higgs on his inside to score only for Higgs to score again with Nove, the creator this time.

Gant missed the conversion from in front of the posts despite earlier successes which seemed to give Abercarn a second wind despite the 38-5 deficit.

A penalty award led to a series of attacks by the visitors during which Monmouth had to dig deep in defence. But despite the sustained pressure all came to nought when a grubber kick was overcooked and went dead.

Gant however regained the balance with another fine break and the ever present Thau was on hand to increase the score further to 45-5. Gant’s conversion brought ironic applause as this was a replay of his earlier easy failure.

Abercarn kept trying and were next on the attack with a good move along their back line but hyper eagerness brought a knock-on by their left wing and the half-time whistle.

From a line-out after Monmouth had kicked off, the ball was knocked back. Hawkins drove on and fed centre Lee who in turn popped up the ball in return to Hawkins who injured himself in the act of scoring and had to be replaced. Cawley had now successfully taken over the place kicking.

Smith was next to shine with a superb run from halfway but a determined defender managed to ensure the ball was held up over the line in the tackle.

Attacking play continued with the ball being spread left to right and back again. A penalty for offside was taken as a scrum and moved right just avoiding a near interception for a further score on the right.

White, keen not to be left out of things, broke up the left and when thwarted, passed inside to Jeffs who cut a nice line towards the post to take the score with a Cawley kick to 64-5.

White went solo next with a 40 metre run in before Abercarn responded with a long grubber kick towards the corner following which their outside centre ran in virtually untouched to narrow the gap to 71-12 as Monmouth temporarily blinked.

Thau responded with a great run but was questionably penalised for not releasing as his tackler seemed to lose his grip. Abercarn ran the ball back from the penalty; threw a wild pass which Gill poached as he was regaining position and thus his fourth try!

The referee had seen enough and kindly called the game to an early end for a 14 try overall bonanza but, sadly for Abercarn, a dozen of which were against them. Full marks though to the visitors for their determination and discipline as Monmouth moved on to their next game away to Pill Harriers.

Photos courtesy of Gareth Roberts

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