Monmouth and Klub Mornar contest a thrilling match
Ragbi Klub Mornar
HMS Monmouth enjoyed the 2nd game of their deployment against Ragbi Klub Mornar in Bar, Montenegro. Montenegro is fairly new to rugby first playing in 2012 and 3 teams in Montenegro now contribute to the national side who have recently had fixtures against Greece and Switzerland.
As the sun slowly set behind the distant mountains, the teams lined up on the rough grass pitch, ready to prove to each other what they were capable of. The team captains gathered together and Monmouth won the toss and decided to kick the match off. The supporters were ready, the teams were ready but who would prove to be the better team on the day?
With a big boot down the field by Carter, the receiving Mornar player was brought hard to ground by Spry; the ball was won by Mornar and was quickly fired out wide. An inside dummy pass to what can only be described as a raging bull of a man, cut straight through Monmouth’s defensive line and the first try of the match went to the hosts. Their kicker was settled and punched the ball straight over the posts adding the 2 points, 7 - 0.
Monmouth knew they had to pick up the tempo and could not make any more mistakes or the game was as good as done, so with singing support booming from the supporters the ball was kicked off. A solid catch from Monmouth set up some good sets of play, creating a penalty opportunity for the visitors to push into enemy territory via Cardwell. Stepping up, he pushed the ball far down field and off for a Monmouth line out. A catch and drive from the Black Duke forwards allowed the team to drive forward and attack the red zone. An offload to Meehan and the ball was over the line for a try. The conversion kick missed.
With the score now at 7 - 5 both teams had started to work each other out. The next 20 minutes saw some strong play from both teams, and some phenomenal power from the Montenegrin forwards allowed Mornar to break through the defence and go 12-5 up. Monmouth retaliated in kind with two well worked tries taking advantage of being a man up when one Mornar player was sin-binned. The score sat at 12 - 17 to Monmouth, with 10 minutes left of the half.
With another big kick off from Carter, the ball was caught by Mornar and was soon passed to the talismanic ‘Raging Bull’, who again cut through the defence like a bat out of hell and he was gone!!! Try to Mornar! A successful kick sailed through the posts with the half ending 19 - 17.
The second half was all to play for as the sun was setting across the field. With multiple changes from both sides and fresh legs on the field, who knew what the second half had in store?
As the teams started to take their positions back on the pitch, the crowd roared their support firing up both sides. Mornar kicked off and the ball went high, landing in the hands of Moehle. Mornar, keen to put pressure on the Navy side, fell foul of an offside decision. Content to recover some territory, the ball spiralled into touch resulting in a Monmouth line out within the 22. The line out was thrown short to Ferrell and with a show and go and deft inside pass, Moehle was able to power through the defence to put Monmouth in front. Up stepped Cardwell who once again put the ball between the posts. Monmouth now led by a solitary try, 19 - 24.
30 minutes remained on the clock and both teams were still firing on all cylinders, when out of nowhere Mornar charged through the defensive line like a herd of wildebeast on a stampede. As the last line of defence Carter put in a massive tackle putting his body on the line and the opposition player on the deck. Mornar continued the onslaught and even though Monmouth gave it their all, they couldn’t stop the momentum and the resultant 7 points, 26 – 24 to the hosts.
The tempo of the game didn’t drop as players were changed on both sides due to the blistering heat and fatigue kicking in. Again Monmouth opted for the long kick up the field; though this time they couldn’t secure their own line out ball. Mornar were quick to counter out wide, maintaining their power game. Monmouth couldn’t hold them out and Mornar were over the line. The conversion secured a 33 - 24 win to the Montenegrins.
After the game Mornar invited the Monmouth rugby team to their team bar 'Pub Rhino' in the city for post match hospitality. The teams met up and exchanged team memorabilia and the Monmouth crest was mounted on the wall above the bar, as players exchanged contact details. The Monmouth team departed back to the ship, content with how they played but disappointed to let the game slip away from them at the end of the second half.
Monmouth Team: Wtr Bartlett (captain), CPO Carr, Ch Cardwell, ET Donnelly, ET Spry, ET Meehan, PO Fishwick, PO Bartlett, SLt Ferrell, SLt Looze, AB Pennell , AB Francis, LS Wright, AB Bevan, AB Elliott, LS Kelly, LReg Baird, LPT Squance, AB Griffiths, AB Carter, ET Knight, LET Moehle, AB Richards.
Words by Aaron Squance