MONMOUTH lost to Nantyglo 29-15 at the weekend with the hosts scoring four tries and a bonus point.
The weather was near ideal for a good game with Spring-like sunshine, a dry ground and only a slightly gusting breeze running the length of the field. Monmouth set off in a very determined way into the breeze putting Nantyglo under a great deal of pressure.
The home defence was however resolute and despite a large amount of territorial advantage it took Monmouth 27 minutes and two long distance failed penalties before that defence succumbed to a try by right wing Adam Roberts who scooped a loose ball 10 metres out of the right hand corner and cut inside a defender for the first points of the game.
The conversion failed but wing Matt Tabb redeemed himself when from a poor defensive clearance the local players failed to retreat and fell a further three points behind to a penalty.
This stirred Nantyglo who responded immediately and were able to kick a long distance penalty of their own.
To and fro the game went and Roberts again made ground on the right but passed inside direct to a back-tracking home three-quarter who was able to set Monmouth back in their own half.
Fly-half Ricketts kicking may have deteriorated of late but his defensive performance was colossal as he appeared virtually everywhere when needed and seems never to be inhibited by heavy tackling responsibilities.
Sadly a Monmouth player ran from in front of his kicker and from the resulting penalty, Nantyglo gained the line-out from which they were able to drive a maul and level the score at 8-8 at the change-over.
Nantyglo started the second half with even more determination only to have a try disallowed for lack of grounding and then visiting fans were heard to raise a cheer when a decision and a penalty went their way near to the end of the third quarter.
Monmouth’s centre Dewi Lane led a break-out taken on by Adams and Tabb but a knock-on halted a threatening move and then hooker Dean Bartlett made good ground but was penalised for holding on. The kick regained the ground for Nantyglo but some aimless kicks ahead resulted in fair catches relieving pressure.
Monmouth then lost its scrum-half Price who left the field for 10 minutes as he tried to intercept a pass near the half-way line.
Momouth went seven points behind as Nantyglo stretched the visitor defence first one way then the other before scoring.
Injury time came with a free kick and another try to Nantyglo as they cut through easily in the centre only to receive a riposte as they looked to score again with centre Lane intercepting and running to score under the posts.
Tabb converted for a 22-15 score with three minutes of injury time gone but the losing bonus point opportunity was whisked away as Nantyglo took advantage of tiring legs by their opponents to move the ball along the line once again to gain themselves the win.