Rivalries renewed in annual ‘Sedge’ memorial match
WITH the formal rugby season still awaited, Saturday attracted a large crowd to the now annual contest between Berry Hill and Monmouth in memory of Ian ’Sedge’ Seymour, a former coach of both clubs.
This highlight was intended to be prefaced by a game between the veterans of both clubs and although many had dusted down their old boots, including Adam and David, Sedge’s sons, there was a large number of youth players on display, which caused some ’oldies’ to question whether they were likely to cope with the pace involved.
They did cope, however, and were first to score, only for the visitors to respond using their superior initial pace and strong running to put Monmouth under considerable pressure for much of the half.
This compounded with breaking through too many tackles resulted in them creating a lead by halftime of 7-19.
Significantly, the Seymour boys led a resurgence making good ground and with the home pack now the more dogged, through line-outs and driving mauls and excellent ball winning performances from Sparey, Gray and Edwards and intrusive runs by Baker, their score crept upwards to 17-19.
David Seymour ran hard to score a try in the left hand corner from some way out to take the 22-19 lead which Berry Hill were not to surpass, despite trying hard. There is always next year for a further crack at one another.
The bouncy castle and bar provided some early afternoon distraction before the main event along with a very generously supported raffle which raised a massive £1,330 in aid of Velindre Hospital and Mental Health Research.
The game commenced with all present having respectfully reflected upon the recent sad loss of one of Monmouth’s brightest stars, Max Davies, with no quarter being asked for and ex-Monmouth player Griffiths putting in some early particularly strong runs.
Inside 10 minutes, excess passion had earned Berry Hill a yellow card and centre Nove crashed over for a 7-0 lead from a bold take in the face of the defence. The visitors responded by doggedly working the left hand touch-line forcing Monmouth to defend relentlessly until their fly-half relieved the pressure with a deep kick. A ruck resulted and brought the first tussle of the match before the visiting scrum half and full back combined with enterprising runs to reduce the pressure they were under.
Monmouth next moved the ball well along the line to feed left wing Mobbs-Morgan who ran well to score in the corner, a try which the fly half again converted. Scrum half White’s continued early season sharp performances pegged back the visitors with his darting runs, but it was a full 20 minutes before the home pack achieved equality with the visiting pack who had been Berry Hill’s main strength up until then.
Their driving maul was still a concern and it was from one of these that the visitors eventually first bothered the electronic score board minder.
Monmouth’s backs however were superior, aided by new signing Bateman in the centre, who fed his player coach and fly-half a delightful inside pass for a further score near the posts. A further such move involved Nove and Mobbs-Morgan but this time the winger was tackled into touch.
Half-time and a rain shower did little to cool some passions and whilst Griffiths distracted many spectators by trying his best to confront his opposing number eight, Monmouth tore away down the right flank to score another try through Nove.
The home backs were still hungry though and White made a lovely break to find flanker Williams on his shoulder to score near the posts. At 33-7 there was now no real way back for Berry Hill and two further tries by right wing Williams and, yet again, by Nove brought the score to 45-7.
Whether Monmouth eased up at this stage or Forest pride returned was not clear, but Berry Hill’s pack regrouped and made the final score of an entertaining game with a second try of their own for a final result of 45-14.
As in the earlier game, no doubt this will be used as a spur for revenge at next year’s away tribute to a fine man, loved by many. May the rivalry continue in his memory.
Next week brings the first league match away at Croesyceiliog with kick off at 2.30pm.
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