Druids notch up another good win away from home

By Jake Chown  
Saturday 30th October 2021 5:00 am
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Following the previous week’s stunning win against Newport High School Old Boys, Monmouth’s Druids and their blossoming younger players were away again last Saturday to Chepstow to return triumphant, maintaining their 15 point half-time lead down the slope to win by 25 points to 12.

From the start Monmouth were under strong pressure from the home pack. In fact it was seven minutes before they even emerged from their own half and then by capitalising on a Chepstow mistake.After a good move down the left flank, Chepstow turned over the ball at a ruck and when they chose to cross kick by way of attack, the ball was knocked on by their left wing and young Jo Parks, the Druids’ right wing, fly hacked the loose ball to win the race for a touch down albeit too far out for the conversion.This gave the Druids encouragement to move the ball around rather than compete in the pack where Chepstow were the more aggressive and dominant, and soon the visiting left wing Shaun Brisbane was able to capitalise upon one of many good breaks by fly half Dan White who was also able to convert the try which was nearer the posts this time. The home team stuck to their game plan though and near the end of the first quarter they were able to capitalise from a tapped penalty by rumbling over for a converted try of their own.The Druids responded immediately with a series of forays particularly down the left hand side of the field, initiated from adventurous runs out if defence and aided by a succession of penalties as Chepstow repeatedly tried to slow down the ball at breakdowns. The outcome was a well taken penalty kick by White to stretch the lead to 7-15.The Monmouth half-backs’ liveliness was proving difficult to contain and perhaps could have achieved a little more by using supporting players rather than trying to beat just one more defender. But one excellent move, again down the left, brought clever inter-passing and a further converted try completed by Max Roberts. Despite possession swinging from one side to the other, the remaining minutes of the half rather fizzled out and half-time came with the visitors leading 7-22.Chepstow came out even more fired up and with the slope as an advantage the result was a fracas near the visitor’s line which the referee calmly sorted out. The Druids were more on the back foot now as Chepstow brought on some older and wiser heads but continued to defend bravely. Vigorous and eventful though play continued to be, the half remained scoreless for the first 20 minutes until White edged Monmouth further ahead with a well taken penalty.Players were now becoming noticeably tired and to Chepstow’s credit it was they who threw everything into attack mode eventually benefitting from a converted try of their own.With the score now 12-25 and seven minutes of play remaining, the Druids were having to dig in very deeply to keep the opposition out which they not only did, but almost scored another for themselves as Jack Churches made good in-roads into the right corner but his attempt to step inside two defenders failed when tackled. With hindsight, backing his speed and using a hand-off, he might just have scored a deserved try in the corner.Overall another good result for the Druids but a rest awaits them as the only game next week is away at Blackwood for the 1st XV in the Ben Francis Cup (1.30pm k.o.)

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