Under 14's Through to Next Round of NLD Cup
Great win away at Melbourne against strong opposition
Melbourne v Newark under 14s
NLD Cup - first round draw away at Melbourne
In 1837 a tiny settlement in Australia was named after William Lamb, Second Viscount Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s first Prime Minister. Melbourne is now Australia’s second largest city. Thankfully our tie was not a 24 hour flight via Dubai and Singapore - just 45 minutes down the A453 to East Midlands Airport ...and then a little bit further.
Will W will be pleased to know that in April 2013 Melbourne became the first town in Derbyshire to receive “Walkers are Welcome” status.
Melbourne started the match and kicked off and the was caught confidently by Newark. The much anticipated 1st round of the NLD cup had started. Melbourne put in a strong tackle and the ball went to ground. Melbourne however conceded a penalty for handling in the first ruck of the game and Newark were back in possession.
Newark quickly began to dominate, gaining ground and making quick progress into the Melbourne half. An unfortunate Newark knock on after some sloppy handling led to a scrum being awarded, Melbourne ball. Within seconds Newark had regained possession and there followed some good, accurate passing by the backs, albeit a little static, quickly out to Tom Farrell who made a fantastic 40m run. A great Melbourne tackle meant that he ended up in touch. There followed a tremendous drive by the forwards following the Melbourne lineout. The forwards came very close to scoring but the ball was held up by Melbourne denying Newark the first try of the game.
Hotly contested forward play on the Melbourne 5m line was exciting to watch and very tense indeed. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before Newark score but it was not to be.
Next was a scrum in front of Melbourne posts, 10m out from the try line. Newark then lost a little ground but a but penalty was awarded to Newark for an unrecognised infringement. Newark decided to kick to touch but unfortunately the ball was kicked into Melbourne’s dead ball area and there was a scrum back, Melbourne to put in. The tactical advantage, for now, was lost.
Melbourne then made a fantastic break. There followed a truly uninspiring string of 4 missed tackles by Newark. Had Newark put the tackles in then Melbourne would have been stopped in their tracks. Melbourne’s no5, who was both big and very quick, ran the whole pitch down the wing and scored right under the Newark posts. The try was converted. 7-0 to Melbourne.
Newark started to apply pressure straight after the kick off. Soon we were back in the Melbourne 22.
Newark lineout. The ball was passed from the lineout to Will C who drove over the line to score. A fantastic conversion from Ben T from quite some distance away took us to 7-7. Newark were straight back in to the match. Heads were held high and the Newark team spirit was showing through.
There followed some scrappy play with some poor decision making by Newark and static, flat play by the backs. With Newark in possession the ball was moving quickly and some distance, but mainly sideways. Melbourne intercepted a Newark pass with ease but thankfully fumbled it straight away and Newark won the scrum following the Melbourne knock on.
At fifteen minutes in, an injury to Melbourne’s Captain and hooker was sustained as the scrum collapsed and play was suspended to deal with the unfortunate casualty. The medical verdict was that due to the player sustaining a neck injury and exhibiting tenderness on the spinous process (thanks Roly) an ambulance would be called and an assessment at hospital would take place.
Play started again at 12.02, after a delay of some 45 minutes, with a scrum.
Newark forwards applied controlled and constant pressure but the backs were still quite flat and lacking dynamism. Newark then made 20m, but the ball was taken into touch, Melbourne lineout.
A fast Melbourne run down the far side as the rapid Melbourne attack broke through several Newark tackles and the surge was only stopped 10m from the Newark line by a truly heroic tackle from Monty. The tackle was not only crucial and fearless - an example to all - but was also the turning point in what was becoming an aggressively contested match.
Soon a penalty was given to Melbourne. Melbourne were kicking for goal, tactically thinking that a 3 point lead at this stage in the match would give them the upper hand both in points and psychological dominance. The kick missed. A 22 dropout kick to Newark was retaken as Newark players were in front of ball.
The Newark forwards then started a break but despite a clear 2 man overlap we ran into contact and managed to concede penalty. This was the second time Newark were home and dry and failed to use the overlap to their advantage.
Newark conceded yet a further penalty in the loose play. The ball was in touch, a lineout, Melbourne ball. A strong run up the far side of the pitch from Melbourne but thankfully tackled in to touch. Half time whistle, 7-7. It has been a very anxious and tight first half. Tom, Monty, Ben Jackson, Callum and Alex in particular were noticeable in their commitment and determination.
The second half brought sustained Newark pressure with the forwards making good ground in a ruck, driving maul and another ruck with strong running and driving. A final break from Will C led to a classy try scored under the Melbourne posts. The try was converted, 14-7.
Melbourne were now fighting back with pressure in the Newark half. Another penalty. Melbourne advanced again. They came close to scoring in the far corner with repeated blasts of aggressive running at Newark who were forced to tackle hard time after time to stop them. The Newark tackling was now reliable and focused, continually thwarting Melbourne attacks. Much better than the first half.
Melbourne won a scrum 15m out. Then a Melbourne penalty. Newark snatched possession back after multiple fumbles from the Melbourne scrum half. A very fast break on the wing from Tom Farrell who was tackled into touch on the halfway line.
Melbourne broke again. This time they didn’t get as far and Newark regained possession and won a scrum. The Newark pack had the better of the Melbourne forwards and consistently won scrums with and against the head.
12 minutes left to go and the tension was evident and mounting. Julian Jackson was having palpitations and it wasn’t from the Melbourne instant coffee...
Another Melbourne scrum. A Melbourne attack. Melbourne had a 4 man overlap and were certain to score but thankfully dropped the ball with some poor handling. That was very fortunate for Newark. Newark scrum.
The Newark forwards were making real progress now, charging through Melbourne tackles. The forwards set the play up with Will C and then Finn, out to Henry Coy who stepped back inside selling a dummy to Melbourne and scoring under the posts. A great piece of quick thinking from Henry who had just come on from the bench. There was no conversion this time, 19-7.
At this point I realised I had missed the fiasco of the ball getting stuck in the hedge! It was recounted to me later as follows: following a failed attempt to recover the ball by Elliot Paley, sat on Jim Lee’s head, Attempts to free the ball with a short flag were introduced but quickly replaced with the addition of a longer flag pole. Andy Tuscher succeeded in pushing the ball further in to the hedge. The flag came off the pole and it also became stuck in the hedge. The ball was eventually freed by Ben Whittaker who managed the feat without either a flag (long or short) or Elliot on his head. Well done Ben.
Back to the match. Newark forwards made 15m from the lineout with a driving maul.
Plenty of pressure was now being applied by Newark and we were awarded a penalty following a high tackle from Melbourne.
The penalty was kicked into touch.
Newark 19, Melbourne 7.
Well done boys! A gritty performance against a very tough and determined Melbourne side. A well deserved victory. NLD round one in the bag. Good rugby but still lots to concentrate on this Tuesday and going forwards.
Postscript: it was good to see Kye, Daniel and Ben supporting the boys in their first cup match. Looking forward to seeing them back on the pitch. Well done all.
Written by Chris Milligan
Check by Charlie Paley