WRU East One

Pontypool United 5 
Monmouth RFC 30

A DESERVED win was achieved at last away at Pontypool United on Saturday, with a much-changed side in front of a smaller crowd than usual, and despite an early kick off to accommodate viewing later of the Wales v Argentina quarter-final, reports PETE WALTERS.

By the end of the match the home crowd were much less vocal than normal, too.

Initially play was scrappy as fingers warmed up in the chilly but bright weather, although it was Pontypool who were struggling in the early stages to exit their own half.

Captain and line-out jumper Jack Edwards was first to show with a good take and break out but Logan Woskett was to shine in this department, too, as the game progressed.

Maintaining the pressure, Monmouth were first to score after 15 minutes with a penalty following a ruck by wing Matt Tabb and soon they were to make 45 metres up the left despite some lobbed high passes, before the ball was turned over following some desperate scrambling defence.

But in no time Tabb had stretched the score to sixpoints for an offside offence, stroking the ball well between the posts.

Fly-half Jordan Howells was keeping the visitors on the front foot with good linking as well as long and low probing kicks particularly to the left touchline.

Play though was hampered somewhat for both sides by the regular sound of the whistle, seemingly for perverse reasons not helped by the lack of clear signals by the match official other than the obvious one for high tackles.

A yellow card produced for what the crowd knew not, brought further punishment when Pontypool were awarded a free-kick as Monmouth delayed the put-in at an attacking line-out, enabling the home team to narrow the score to 6-5 through an unconverted try.

Scrappiness continued as no-one claimed the kick-off allowing the ball to find its way into touch.

As half-time neared Pontypool lost a player to the bin as Monmouth upped the ante, with a good scrum drive and would have scored but for a player taking his eye off the ball and knocking on.

With the pressure still on, following a deep clearance kick, Monmouth ran the ball back and after a 10 metre drive by the pack, Howells was over to stretch the lead to 11-5.

Woskett did his best at the next defensive line-out with an excellent take and a further probing kick to the left by Howells to just inside the opposing 22.

Now in injury time, quick hands originating from scrum-half Oliver Scriven, who had a very lively game throughout, put full back Lewis Bates in at the left corner, Tabb converting the difficult kick for an 18-5 lead at the break.

Now with the slope in their favour Pontypool’s deep kicks were returned in good measure and both sides were going at it hell for leather with a Monmouth score ruled out for a foot in touch.

Wing Harry Whelan saved a try with an excellent cover tackle and Pontypool’s attacks were dissipated at times by a degree of greediness within their backs rather than timely passing.

Second row Shaun Hobbs was his usual self with some good carries, although the home team had now picked up their rucking game, making the game altogether more exciting, although Monmouth’s line-outs were holding up well.

Far out on the right wing Whelan made good ground and when tackled was able to pop the ball to supporting substitute centre Harry Jenkins who went over to make it 23-5.

Scriven next made 40 metres or more with a sniping run through mid-field but sadly knocked on as he tried to free his arm to keep the move alive.

Pontypool, now frustrated, audibly disputed a referee‘s call and received a yellow card for their indiscipline, although they were to defend their line well when Monmouth were pounding it, both by turning the ball over and/or holding it up over the line.

But it was to be Monmouth’s day sealed by a try scoring bonus point as a result of blind side flanker Cory Harper securing a deserved try for his busy efforts throughout.

The conversion by White made for a 30-5 good and fair result, giving the team some much needed overall confidence which they may well need for their trip to high flying Brynmawr this coming Saturday (October 21).

Elsewhere, Usk lost out 28-17 at home to Newport HSOB in East 2, but Caldicot pipped Pill Harriers 29-28 away.

Chepstow lost by a single point though, 23-22 at Llanhilleth in East 3.

Usk host Blackwood this Saturday, while Chepstow host Blaina, and Caldicot visit Newport HSOB.