Monmouth crowned champions after victory on final day of season

By Jake Chown  
Wednesday 1st May 2019 9:50 am
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WRU National League 2 East - Monmouth 36 Ynysddu 8

MONMOUTH became champions of the WRU National League Division 2 East after a 36-8 home win over Ynysddu on their last game of the season on Saturday (27th April).

Ynysddu, whose clear intent to spoil any possible party, kept Monmouth on the back foot at the outset with quick ball from rucks and a seemingly very well drilled routine aided by smooth linking by their half-backs.

The visitors were the first to score within 10 minutes through a well taken penalty in a very difficult wind, but an immmediate response saw Monmouth camped on the opponent’s line for a succession of four scrums, the first three of which resulted in repeat penalties hopefully building up to a penalty try until the fourth resulted in a penalty instead for Ynysddu and a relieving kick to touch.

The whole Monmouth team were up for it but some even more-so, like wing Amosa Nove who made a searing break which shifted play upfield some 35 metres. A further scrum brought a penalty for offside which fly half Rhys Gant moved quickly but with his pass blocked off he jinked inside the obstruction and continued eluding defenders to the line as he so often does. The supporting number eight Ross Coombes was on hand to take the ball round under the posts making the conversion easy for Gant.

In two further minutes a try made by flanker Zak Williams was completed by Nove, again near the posts, with just a hint of visiting tetchiness appearing as a defender slid in with his feet in desperation.

Defence of the re-start was sound and from a counter-attack and deep kick, scrum-half Dan White, who also sparkled, fed centre Dafydd Hellard who forced his way over. Ynysddu came back with determination but a tackle and turnover saw Nove break out again to run clear to the line for a try-scoring bonus point.

Both sides stuck at it for the 10 minutes before the break with honours even and tackling fierce enough to leave wounded on both sides in their wake.

The 21 point deficit predictably stirred Ynysddu and Monmouth tackling needed to be at its very best after the re-start. Wing James Smith led in this respect as he put in a succession of critical tackles, the last of which created a loose ball which Monmouth carried on into the right corner almost scoring as a result.

Gant was next making gaps, handing on to White for centre Jarred Hinnem to score near the sticks to extend the score to 31-3.

Deep kicks were the obvious tactic now to maintain pressure on the visitors but Monmouth deserve their reputation for tries scored even when it is not always the wisest ploy, as demonstrated by a further break and an attempted chip-kick which failed bringing the visitors back on the counter.

An eventual penalty for holding on when the smothering of the prone player did not allow for release, brought a score for Ynysddu through an overlap in the right corner but the kick failed, narrowing the gap to 31-8.

Moved by this set-back the fresher substitutes continued to make an impact and it was fitting that replacement prop Tom Green, who has developed well this season, used his drive and weight to burst through several desperate tackles to achieve what was to be the final 36-8 score of the game.

There could have been more but some moves foundered for attempts at clever running when simple and speedy passing would have been better but there was not long to wait before Monmouth could relax safe in the knowledge they were this year’s league champions.

The result meant Monmouth eventually headed Senghenydd by five points, having won 18 games with four losses.

A WRU representative presented the trophy to captain Zen Swagrzak, photos were taken and the celebrations deservedly began and will have continued long into the night! The result capped a good day for the club, including a home win for the Druids v Ynysddu Seconds 40-26, but most of all a memorable year for all sorts of reasons.

Photos courtesy of and with thanks to Gareth Roberts

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