Under 14's success at Haslams Lane
Win against Derby makes three in a row
Newark u14s vs Derby
Sunday 1st October 2017 - Haslams Lane, Derby
Report by Chris Milligan
Checked by Charlie Paley
For those of you who think it rather quaint that the main route from Nottingham to Derby is now aptly named “Brian Clough Way” after the very successful football manager (Derby 67-73 & Forest 74-91), for me it reminds me of all that is wrong with our road system. If you have ever had to make the journey from Newark to Derby for an 8.30 start at Derby Crown Court, or anywhere else in the centre of Derby for that matter, I suggest you leave at about 5am. Brian Clough Way should be re-named Brian Clough Car-Park in the rush hour. Mondays being the worst. I have found myself sat on Brian Clough Way for hours and hours, the warehouses and retail parks merging into one as the rain lashes down and the brake lights in front illuminate yet again.
It was therefore a pleasure this morning to see that the Google Maps time estimate for a trip to Haslams Lane, on the north side of Derby City Centre, home ground to Derby RUFC, would take - yes, I know this sounds miraculous - one hour. With that in mind we were able to get up at 8am this morning and run through the usual Sunday morning chaotic routine of getting a 13 year old up, showered, breakfasted and changed into kit for rugby - instead of 4.30am. Thank goodness matches are played on a Sunday and not a Monday. In any event I don't think EVEN a special edition Oakham Referee Whistle would rouse our 13 year old at 4.30 am, no matter how many times it was blown….
So our next fixture for the U14 2017-18 season was Derby away. Last year we played Derby twice. Our first match was at Kelham Road and the boys scored a narrow but hard fought victory, winning 15-10. The away fixture was played on the University of Derby 4G pitch - a new experi-ence for the team, and Derby beat us convincingly, 30-15. Whether it was the pitch, our attitude or Derby simply being the stronger side on the day, we were not expecting such a convincing defeat. Now was our opportunity to put things right. Derby are drawn in the NLD Cup, as are Mansfield who we played last week. It would be another very tough game and given the score on the 4G pitch last year this away fixture was one we certainly did not travel to expecting to win. We would however go with the right attitude and a desire to win.
Jim led the coaching contingent in the absence of Charlie. I am sure that Charlie was getting regular updates and had a full report afterwards. After a warm up and a pre-match briefing in the changing rooms, the boys were out on to the pitch, spurred on by thunderous clapping from a throng of Newark parents who had made the trip, via a very quiet Brian Clough Way, to Derby to support the boys.
Kick-off. Within seconds Newark were rucking over and gained possession. The pass from the back of the ruck was dropped (a little bit of a theme for the day for Newark) and Derby intercepted and took possession. A very strong run straight through our boys, with several missed opportunities to tackle saw a try touched down under the posts. Derby scored an easy conversion. 3 minutes in and 7-0. Oh No! Was this to be a repeat of the 4G away match last year?
Newark kept their heads high and fought back. A knock-on by Derby just inside their own half led to a Newark scrum. A no.8 pick up led to some great passing and running by Newark. Driving the mauls and quick direct passing out to Archie led to a try and the equaliser within minutes of conceding the first try. The ball was right out on the wing and Newark narrowly missed the conversion despite a great kick from Ben. 7-5 to Derby.
There then followed 20 minutes of battling. Derby were strong and applying pressure and Newark were absorbing the pressure and making ground on the counter-attack. Every time Newark made ground however they would invariably concede a scrum or a penalty - usually for holding on to the ball in the ruck or knock-ons. Newark began to dominate as the first half began to draw to a close. Newark started to turn Derby over in the rucks and win a few scrums against that head. The forwards were now exerting their dominance in what started off as 2 equally balanced packs. Out-rucking Derby and taking possession deep in the Derby half led to a succession of quick, direct passes by skilled backs out to the wing where Harry took full advantage and scored the next try in the far corner. Newark 10, Derby 7. Half time.
The first five minutes of the second half saw Derby fighting their way into the Newark half and gaining ground. The pressure was on and Derby came close to the Newark try line more than once. The tide turned following a big kick from Derby which Callum Simmo caught and then he charged up the pitch and nearly broke all the way through. There followed relentless pressure from Newark. A driving maul in the far corner (hard to see without my glasses) and Will C had touched down to get the next try. A piece of teamwork and superior fitness and strength from the Newark players who maintained their drive until the ball was over the line. 15-7. Ben Lee struck the ball well for the conversion and 2 more points. 17-7.
With 7 or 8 minutes to go Newark continued to dominate. They appeared the fitter and quicker side. Derby defended well and tackled with fearless dedication. Newark were hampered on the attack by, on occasion, sloppy handling. Several scrums were awarded to Derby. With a few minutes left Derby were on the half way line with a scrum. In the breakdown Derby handled the ball on the floor and Newark were awarded a penalty. Will Walker took it quickly and Derby were caught sleeping. A quick pass to Alex who drew his man in and then out to Ciaran saw another Newark try in the corner. 22-7.
Newark dominated for the last couple of minutes and spent the majority of the second half putting Derby under sustained pressure. Full time. Final score - Newark 22, Derby 7.
There were commanding performances from many of the boys today. They played as a team and what was noticeable was how well they ran and passed the ball, most of the time the catching was good, the forwards were very strong in the loose play and the set play.
There is no need single out a few boys who played to a very high standard and were noticeable in the amount of effort they put in - they were all giving it 100%. It was a team effort. All the boys played well and none of them let the side or their coaches down. There was determination from all today (after the Derby try in the 3rd minute), with tackles being made and excellent defence and counter-attack. Newark were, on the day, the fitter and stronger side and the win was well deserved.
Charlie, and the rest of the squad who were not present today would have been very proud of the boys today.
After sausage and chips for the boys (no bacon rolls for the parents as unfortunately they had run out by the time the match was over) the Newark boys and parents headed for Brian Clough Way. Not at all like a rainy winter Friday afternoon when again, it becomes Brian Clough Car Park from about 3.30 onwards… I’m actually beginning to like Brian Clough Way.
As I said last week - there are signs that the boys could have a very good season indeed. If they retain their composure and maintain their fitness and effort, anything is possible. Well done.