WRU East One  Bedlinog 31 Monmouth 20

THANKS to the initiative of the Bedlinog Committee, when only two games were played in the East Division League 1 because of snow, this game was switched to The Wern, home ground of Merthyr Tydfil, and its 4G pitch, reports PETE WALTERS.  

A later than usual kick off time allowed the match to take place after a prior scheduled Youth game. 

The scoreboard didn’t really reflect the effort and how close the game was, with several missed first-up tackles allowing some very penetrative breaks perhaps being the deciding factor. 

But a second half improvement meant the result was almost there for Monmouth’s taking, barring a few handling errors. 

Shaun Hobbs crashes over for the sixth straight match
Shaun Hobbs crashes over for the sixth straight match (GARETH ROBERTS)

The visitors were actually first to score courtesy of a strong carry by second row Shaun Hobbs scoring his sixth tries in successive games! 

Right wing Matthew Tabb was on hand to secure the relatively easy conversion as he continued his journey to 100 points for the season to date. 

Matt Tabb kicked 4 from 4 and cleared 100 points for the season.jpg
Matt Tabb kicked 4 from 4 and cleared 100 points for the season (GARETH ROBERTS)

Hobbs continued to punch holes in the Bedlinog rearguard, but the home defence were lively and achieved a  turnover when he was stopped. 

The boot was now on the other foot. for almost immediately the hosts sparked into action and ran from their 22 in a move that saw a superb dummy sold and taken with their left wing going in at the corner. 

Their fly-half Gethin Coleman converted the tricky conversion in style, a precursor of his accuracy with the boot for later in the game. 

And deep kick out of defence then went dead resulting in play being brought back to whence it had been kicked, giving Bedlinog the position to mount another attack to take a 14-7 lead. 

The Monmouth scrum was penalised for turning under pressure and this was repeated until guidance from the touch-line led the referee to realise that the home loose head prop was the one not pushing straight. 

Tabb was next to lift Monmouth supporters’ spirits coming out of defence but sadly the promising move was frustrated by a knock-on. 

Skipper Dan Dunmore eyes a gap
Skipper Dan Dunmore eyes a gap (GARETH ROBERTS)

Captain and centre Dan Dunmore was the next most noticeably in the fray with an excellent break stopped only by an illegality at the ensuing ruck. 

Sadly the penalty kick to the corner went to touch in goal giving Bedlinog the opportunity through hard running to near the Monmouth line again. 

The defence was initially sound, but after four phases they succumbed on the half hour with the deficit increasing to 21-7.

Tabb managed to edge them back with a penalty before pportunity swung Monmouth’s way when the Bedlinog left wing was yellow carded for a late tackle. 

A further turned scrum brought them another penalty leading to a 40m break by left wing Harry Whelan whose powerful runs were to earn him the Paul Jarrold Tyres Player of the Match accolade.  

Dan White sprints clear for his try
Dan White sprints clear for his try (GARETH ROBERTS)

Although the ensuing line-out was lost Monmouth re-gained possession in the centre of the field and fly-half White seized the opportunity to score near the posts to take the score to 21-17 just on half-time. 

With the dying sun and cold breeze now behind them, Monmouth must have been fancying their chances with the restart.

But encroaching within ten metres of a line-out and again some missed tackles saw them again on the back foot. 

A defensive touch down followed by a goal-line drop-out led to a wide attacking move from which Bedlinog‘s right wing received an exceedingly long pass. 

And his step inside the covering defence then took the home team into a 26-17 lead as full time approached. 

Monmouth through Tabb pulled back a penalty in front of the posts lifting his season’s scores to more than a century when a Bedlinog forward offended.

The match official seemed to be considering a yellow card but did not give it, although it had certainly been a score frustrating offence.  

With little time now left both sides piled in and tiredness began to show.

But although Monmouth were able to tackle a local attacker he cleverly popped up the ball to a supporting player to stretch the lead to 31-20. 

Tom Green on the charge
Tom Green on the charge (GARETH ROBERTS)

All out attack by Monmouth was now the only option and go for it they did but sadly it was not to be as first substitute flanker kester Mobbs-Morgan had a chance in a wide ranging move but knocked on, soon to be followed by Dunmore breaking through only for his pass out of the tackle being knocked on, compounded by the ball being kicked dead soon after on the firmer surface of the 4G pitch. 

Another near loss but at least there is a game on this coming Six Nations’ weekend, with Nelson at home on Saturday (March 9), with the Wales game against France on Sunday.

Other local fixtures on Saturday include – Abergavenny v Brynmawr, Pill Harriers v Usk, Nantyglo v Chepstow.