WRU East One

Monmouth 34 Senghenydd 30 

THE final game of the season brought a good crowd to the Sportsground to see Monmouth win 34–30, despite having to play with 14 me for almost half the game, reports PETE WALTERS. 

Having waited since early September, Monmouth were aided in avenging their away defeat by an early knock-on from Senghenydd, and from the scrum an early three points from full-back Lewis Bates followed a high tackle. 

Despite the sunshine, a strong swirling wind influenced play, with line-out throws going askew, and Bates pulling his next penalty.  

The referee was ultra keen on policing offside as his whistle regularly punctuated play, crucially so when Senghenydd intercepted a speculative pass near their posts only for it to be ruled offside.

Captain Dan Dunmore’s quickly-taken penalty and Bates’ conversion then made it 10-0 after 14 minutes.  

Senghenydd were soon camped deep in Monmouth territory though, opening their score with a penalty goal. 

Kester Mobbs Morgan is tackled
Kester Mobbs Morgan is tackled (GARETH ROBERTS)

But their band of loud supporters were almost immediately dampened as centre Morgan Jeffs move to advance his team to a 17-3 lead.  

Senghenydd turned to their carrying strengths, requiring some brave tackling, as demonstrated by Dan White, the smallest player on the field.

Tempers were restrained throughout but frustration saw the visitors marched back 10m for dissent, although the kick failed due to the wind. 

Senghenydd responded well to this let-off by bursting through just before half-time to score a try to narrow the gap to 17-8 

A long restart was knocked on, but when a Monmouth player was ruled offside, back-chat pushed them 10m back.

The penalty kick brought a line-out deep in the left-hand downward corner and then disaster! 

Eager to defend drives for the line, in a double tackle, hooker Joe Christopher was ruled high and dangerous which saw him sent off. 

The visitors opted for a scrum, and broke to narrow the score to 17-13. 

Home supporters now feared the worst, but the tension was eased when the ball was spun wide, the winger being held up, but the recycled ball putting in scrum-half Oliver Scriven to make it 22-13. 

Ollie Scriven is airborne to secure a try
Ollie Scriven is airborne to secure a try (GARETH ROBERTS)

And then another big blow, literally, took the ball way downfield over the line, but a too casual defensive response saw an attacker up first to touch down.

With the kick Senghenydd were now only two points behind at 22-20, with 30 minutes left to play against 14.

Dan Dunmore juggles to keep an attack going
Dan Dunmore juggles to keep an attack going (GARETH ROBERS)

But perhaps complacency or fatigue for the visitors and Monmouth raising their game, aided by the fresh vigour of substitute flanker Ollie Park, saw another score for the hosts, two passes from a scrum near the line putting in Scriven for a 27-20 lead. 

Ollie Scriven spots a gap for his second try
Ollie Scriven spots a gap for his second try (GARETH ROBERTS)

After another ten minutes of to and fro, the home defence was wrong-footed to concede equal pegging at 27-27 though

And when the visitors took a 30-27 lead from a penalty with five minutes left to play, locals feared  the worst. 

But this time they held firm and continued to press with a Bates kick followed up by Jeffs for his second and Monmouth’s fifth try, which the creator converted to snatch the win 34-30 on almost the last play of the game. 

Morgen Jeffs pounces for the winning score
Morgen Jeffs pounces for the winning score (GARETH ROBERTS)

A fitting end to a season in which the team have continued to develop and are now fully deserving of their near mid-table place in East Division 1.