Defeat to a stronger side
Under 14's winning streak comes to an end
Newark u14s -v- Oakham
Kelham Road. 12th November 2017.
Newark drummed by an efficient, well drilled Oakham side.
The return fixture against Oakham at Kelham Road was always going to be tough. A straw poll of regular spectators suggested that so far this season, Oakham have been our toughest opposition. The score line in the away match at the beginning of the season was so tight it really could have gone either way.
Oakham itself is built on an incline at a height of between 99m and 120m in the Vale of Camtose. The Town is twinned with Dodgeville in Wisconsin, USA…. perhaps an omen for what was to come...
A two minute silence on the First Team pitch allowed us all to reflect on the lives given 100 years ago on the battlefields and in the trenches. It was a sobering sight against a bright blue sky on a very crisp November morning.
Before long the match had started and there was a Newark knock on, Oakham ball, after a Newark pass rolled along the floor like an odd shaped inflatable marble.
Oakham then made a break after the scrum and Newark failed to make the decisive tackle with Oakham putting the ball down very near to the Newark posts. The conversion was secured and Oakham lead, 7-0. Oakham were in front within only minutes and had exposed a hole in the middle of our defence. They were learning quick and it was a vulnerability that they would go on to exploit without remorse.
Soon after the kick-off an offside play from Oakham in the ruck led to penalty being awarded to Newark. Newark elected to kick and aimed for touch but a strong wind meant that the ball drifted into a safe pair of Oakham hands for a swift counter-attack. Newark quickly regained possession and attacked but a poor pass led to a further knock on - Oakham scrum. Oakham Forwards were strong in the scrum and quickly took possession. Oakham then attacked with speed, breaking through several tackles to score under the Newark posts. The try was converted easily. It was now 14-0.
After the re-start Newark gained a penalty as Oakham played the ball from the floor. Newark kicked to touch and a Newark lineout followed. The ball was moved quickly down the backs with good passing, accurate and to hands but an unfortunate knock on led to an Oakham scrum. A great kick from Oakham led to a chase from the half way line to the Newark try line. Some out of position play by the Newark backs and some rapid pace from Oakham, who got there first, led to Oakham touching the ball down to score their third try in 15 mins. The conversion attempt failed but the score was now 19-0 to Oakham. Heads were starting to drop which was unusual for Newark.
Within seconds of the kick off Oakham were straight through again to score their 4th try after a succession of missed tackles. The hole in our defensive line appeared to be widening. Conversion was easy for the visitors as the try had been scored right under the Newark posts. 26-0.
Oakham broke again after the restart but a forward pass on the 10m line led to a Newark scrum. So far, sustained Oakham pressure and a failure to make tackles has given Oakham a comfortable advantage. A lucky break by Oakham after losing our own scrum led to quick passing from the Oakham backs and further missed tackles. Oakham didn’t get the extra 2 points but another try was scored. The score was now 31-0.
What followed next was a repeat of what had just happened moments before. It was beginning to seem like Groundhog Day! Oakham broke and not one tackle was put in. Not only were heads down but the basics were not being applied. 38-0.
Within seconds Oakham were off again from the kick off, breaking through down the left wing. One tackle was made this time but Oakham retained possession and scored again. 43-0. It was beginning to look like a whitewash.
With only a couple of minutes left of the first half, Newark made 3 substitutions, the first of the game. This had little to no effect as Oakham broke through the middle once again and put the ball down under the posts to score again. A converted try meant a score 50-0 before the half time whistle went.
The second half got underway with a Newark kick and then a scrum. The scrum was won by Oakham. Oakham showed textbook attacking with fast, direct passing down the back line to the wing where a run down the left hand side was met with a complete failure to even attempt a tackle. Oakham once again scored under the posts. An easy conversion for Oakham and it was now 57-0.
Following the kick off Newark at last had a period of counter-attack, penetrating deep into the Oakham half. Newark spent the next 10 minutes in the Oakham 22 but were foiled at every opportunity by an excellent Oakham Defence. Oakham were tackling to a high standard and despite the pressure there was not to be a Newark score. The Newark heads were back up and passing and rucking was improving.
Play was now on the halfway line and a penalty to Newark was kicked to touch. Newark lineout just inside the Oakham 22. The chance was squandered as Newark conceded a penalty and play was back at the halfway line. A brief counter attack by Newark was repelled quickly and a second short period of dominance in the Oakham 22 was over.
A quick break from Oakham led to a succession of missed opportunities by Newark and a try under the posts. Converted try. 64-0.
Oakham defended well as Newark moved forwards and quickly attack us again on the break. An unlucky Oakham knock on led to a Newark scrum.
A break by Ben D with a lovely chip and a grubber led to a consolation try for Newark. Converted by Ben T. 64-7.
After the restart Oakham broke from the lineout to pass across the pitch in a flat line with impunity. No tackles again and a quick run on the right hand side, another missed tackle and a final try to Oakham.
This was a real drumming for Newark. Probably our worst defeat of all time and by some margin. The winning run this season has come to a rather abrupt end.
Oakham fielded a strong side who were well drilled. Despite 2 periods of real pressure from Newark in the second half, where we dominated in the Oakham 22, we failed to break through and score. This demonstrated just how strong the Oakham defence is - as observed on the 17th September at Showground Way when there was a try between us.
Newark will take a lot away from today’s match. There are lessons to be learnt and there’s much to be done. Fitness levels were lacking. We were too slow to the breakdown, time after time. The backs were static and there was a lack of explosive speed. Confidence and technique in tackling needs to be built up.
Congratulations to Oakham. Well done.
Written by Chris Milligan
Checked by Charles Paley