Unbeaten home record secured
A special all round team performance
Written by Richard Staniforth
Checked by Gaz Morgan
After having being unbeaten at home all season, we knew that to preserve that record in our last home game of the season was going to require a great all round team effort against a side who had not lost for 18 months.
And this is just what we got
Immediately we were put under pressure from a strong WB side and we spent the first ten minutes playing mainly in our own half. Our defensive abilities were challenged, but from all across the team, tackles were made, rucks were hit and turnovers won.
Then a great straight run from William B, from just inside our half, saw him link with our new prop Cody, playing only his second ever game of rugby. Cody put in a strong dynamic run, which took at least three WB players to bring him down. From the ensuing ruck we managed to win quick ball and spin the ball out wide for George to score in the corner.
This was the first time we had been ahead against WB in our last two games and the boys’ heads noticeably lifted.
Yet again WB put us under pressure from the restart. We were though gaining more and more in confidence and play swung between both ends of the pitch. We started to move the WB scrum backwards, even on their own ball and a number of scrums were won against the head. The forwards were having the game of their season.
Then after a long WB kick deep into our 22, full back JP made a great text book fall under presuure onto the ball and managed to pop the ball to Ben T, who seeing space on the left touch line, ran for over half the pitch before defensive cover reached him. But with fantastic support being put in by Matthew, the pass was made and he took the ball on. Again defensive cover reached him, but the ball was yet again offloaded, this time to the supporting William S who managed to streak away and score from 20 meters out. Given the distance the ball was carried in hand, this was probably one of our best tries built from support work all season.
WB were to be out done and managed to score a very good try in the right corner, when we got too narrow in our defence for the first time in the game
Half time 2-1
The boys came into the half time team talk with a real determination that they were not going to let their great play from the first half go unrewarded come the end of the game.
A number of changes were made for the second half, but this did not change things as Newark began to take the control of the game as their confidence increased. They firmly believed this was a side they could beat and they were not going to let that opportunity go.
A great back line move from a scrum on the WB 22, saw Ben T pass the ball out to Matthew who after drawing the defender to his outside, slipped the ball back inside to Ben T who managed to get over the line. This was a great try made by two players who are starting to develop a great understanding of where each other is on the pitch.
Pressure still came from WB, particularly from their back line, and some great defensive tackles were required. All the backs from Ben R at scrum half to Josh on the wing, all made their fair share, but Max in particularly stood out by the number he made.
The game moved back to the WB 22 and after a lovely movement of the ball down the back line, Tom T, playing in a new position of outside center, ran the perfect line and scored. He even managed a smile afterwards. Something we have been missing from him for a while!
Then after a another great counter ruck from the forwards Ben T, managed to exploit space behind WB's back line with a clever chip over the top. Then after great control with his feet he managed to get the ball down under pressure.
5-1 and the boys were really enjoying it
WB though were not going to give up easily, and put us under a lot of pressure on our own line. Eventually after a number of 5 meter penalties from our line, we eventually buckled to one forward drive too many
With 10 minutes to go and the score 5-2 there was a feeling that could this be the start of a great comeback.
But the boys had other ideas. From the kick off, Jack S took a great take and put in a storming run, managing to the offload to George and then receiving it make to make still more yards. This was the sort of effort and determination that was the trade mark of the day.
The game was sealed in the next five minutes when firstly our defensive pressure forced a dropped ball, which was picked up by George who powered over form 15 meters and then finally William S made a lovely blindside break from the back of a ruck and managed to get in over in the corner
WB score a consolation try with an interception from virtually the last play of the game.
We will remember the smiles on the boys faces at the end and during the game for a long while. They were thoroughly deserved. They played as a team for the entire 50 minutes and the effort and determination was there throughout. To end our home season in that manner was very special and made all the hard work through the season worthwhile
MOTM was difficult choice, but went to Max for his tireless and determined tackling throughout the game