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Last spring Monmouth travel to Albany and the two sides battled to draw in a very physical encounter. So this game was eagerly anticipated by the Monmouth squad looking to show how much they had improved in 12 months.
The game was played an excellent spring conditions with a slight breeze on a fresh sunny day.
First Half
The few minutes were bruising as Albany came out of the gates hard hitting rucks hard and putting in good tackles. Perhaps they expected Monmouth to play a tight game and take them on around the rucks and mauls. Monmouth however has a different idea and once came first phase possession was won Monmouth backs used their speed to attack Albany beyond the gain line. Within a couple minutes Monmouth breached the Albany line with Eric Daneman scoring in unconverted try.
The next 15 minutes continued with very physical exchanges and Monmouth’s patients was rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts just on the 22. Declining the chance to go for points Monmouth attacked Albany with ball in hand and again found space out wide with Garret Mozolic scoring a converted try on 19 min. (conversion Joe Lucarelli).
The rest of the half continued with of abrasive contacts around the breakdown. Albany clearly wanted the game to be a war of attrition whereas Monmouth wanted to play a more creative game.
Albany were rewarded for their good forward play with the try on 34 min. but was not converted but almost immediately Eric Daneman put in his second try which was converted by Joe Lucarelli. This left the halftime score at Monmouth 19 Albany 5.
Second Half 
Monmouth started the second half at a blistering pace with Mark Biafore showing incredible soft hands to take a pass is wide on the left and score after less than 2 min. The next 20 min. showed Monmouth’s desire to play a creative and constructive game using their forwards to win clean possession and their backs to attack wide. Superior fitness and organization led to Monmouth scoring tries from Joe Lucarelli after 57 min. and Eric Daneman completing his hat trick on 60 min. (conversion Joe Lucarelli).
A lapse in the defense of concentration allowed Albany to score a converted try on 65 min. but by this stage Monmouth had introduced a slew of replacements as the squad needs as much game time at this level as possible.
Replacement fullback Brendan Leddy ran a great support line to score a try in the last 5 min. on his debut.
Monmouth played a well structured but expansive game that paid off due to the work that they’ve done in fitness and skills. this game was a test of the young Monmouth packs resilience and they showed that there up for the battle given this was a game where they could’ve been intimidated by an older more physical side but showed composure to execute their game plan.
Nick Lynch round the back line at pace despite it being his first game at fly half for considerable time. All of the pack played well including the replacements and the blacks showed their desire to be creative and score tries while shutting down the opposition. the previous week’s work in practice on defensive organization paid off with some imposing hits behind the gain line by the Monmouth backs.
The development squad backed up the first 15 with the 24-10 win over month over Albany. This game is again a physical encounter with the very young Monmouth development side showing that they have the mettle.
This spring is the preseason for the fall competitive season and Monmouth are at the halfway point. So far the squad has grown in depth and in talent. Next Saturday Monmouth men travel south to take on Jersey Shore who are on their way to nationals at Division II.
thank you to jack for the pictures and pat for the write-up