Newark Seconds Beat Notts Medics 3 Tries to 1
Rare victory over quality university side
In a mud-spattered encounter on pitch 3 at Kelham road, Newark dug deep – sometimes literally – to hold onto a winning margin in this close-fought match.
The home side, featuring a sizeable infusion of players from the 1sts after their game had been postponed, fielded a strong forward division alongside a full complement of running backs. The Medics, who traditionally rely upon a fast-paced, disruptive style of play, didn’t disappoint, and the stage was set for a thrilling clash of rugby styles.
Both sides struggled to stamp their authority on the game in the first period of play, although Medics drew first blood shortly after kick off when Newark conceded a kickable penalty for holding on in the ruck – 0-3.
Unfazed by the setback, Newark reacted positively after the restart, stealing the ball at the lineout, and mauling towards the visitors’ line before knocking the ball on to yield a scrum in Medics’ favour, allowing them to clear. With good ball from the ensuing lineout, Newark set up the maul, driving into the 22 before shipping the ball out to Matt Clark who raced in to score left of the posts – 7-3 (conv. Findlay Tweedie).
This was the signal for Medics to take the offensive, deploying the kick and chase to good effect, and there was 10 minutes of harem-scarem on the Newark line with the defenders stubbornly refusing to relinquish points before Matt Clark cleared up-field and the home side returned to the attack. With Newark pressure telling once more, the visitors struggled at their own line out and a great charge down on the attempted clearance saw David Shiels touch down for an unconverted try – 12-3.
With momentum again shifting back to Medics, the final minutes of the period turned into a dogfight on the Newark line, before the visitors went over but failed to ground the ball thanks to the efforts of the hard-working defense, allowing both sides to grab a breather after a frenetic first half.
Grit and determination were the watchwords for Newark in the second half, as Medics moved up a couple of gears and remorselessly battered away, but struggled to find gaps. Newark played consistently to their strengths, with absolute domination in the set piece and using a rush defense to disrupt the fluidity of the visitors’ attacking play. At times, this went a little too far and the ref, clearly frustrated at repeated offenses by the home side in a number of areas, eventually set an example by sending the unfortunate Nick More to the sin bin.
Nonetheless, Newark managed to weather the storm until the 30-minute mark, when the Medics finally managed to create a gap in the line and coasted through to score between the posts – 12-10.
But as so often happens in sport, Newark saved some of their best until last. With a great chase from the restart, Medics conceded a penalty, 10 metres from their line. Opting for the scrum instead of the boot, the Newark lads trundled the Medics’ pack backwards effortlessly, with Dave Garland doing the honours to score the last points of the game in a pushover try – 17-10, final score.
Terrific effort by all concerned to gain a rare victory against one of the strongest sides in the Pennant and thanks again to all the lads from the 1sts who made the game possible in the first place. Next up – West Bridgeford at home.
Tries: Matt Clark, David Shiels, David Garland
Conversions: Findlay Tweedie