Great showing at Northampton Saints X7s Festival
By Stephen Oldridge
A frankly stellar performance at Franklins Gardens
On a windy day at Northampton on Sunday, Newark’s U15s were in inspired form taking part in the Northampton Saints X7s Festival. Twelve teams took part split initially into 3 groups of 4 with the winners of each group (and the best overall runner-up) going through to a final round-robin group to decide the overall winner.
In the morning the girls topped their group in the first phase of proceedings with good wins over Old Northamptonians and Towcester 2nds. That left them having to square up against Towcester 1sts, Peterborough and local rivals Mansfield in the afternoon session to decide the winner.
First up were Mansfield. Newark were keen to put in a good showing following a heavy 15 a side defeat to Mansfield earlier in the season. With tries from Becky and Sophie (2) combined with resolute defence, great support play and quick ball at the breakdown (with Ellie really coming into her own as scrumhalf), they earned a thrilling 3:2 win.
Next up was Towcester with the girls falling just short this time. Trailing 2:1 they threw everything at a strong Towcester side but just couldn’t quite make the breakthrough and in the end a breakaway try for Towcester sealed a win their resolute defence deserved.
Heads didn’t drop though and the girls rallied themselves for a final match as they took on favourites Peterborough in the very last game of the day. Peterborough were strong offensively with one particularly quick and strong-running back causing problems for the Newark girls. But tries from Sophie and Ember and a quite brilliant team try (turning defence into attack) finished beautifully by Evie storming down the wing kept the game close and in the final minute the girls were trailing 4:3 with Peterborough in possession. Showing a real never say die attitude, firstly Evie stopped the Peterborough flyer before Charlotte and Mae bundled the support player into touch. Then with Peterborough conceding a penalty from the resultant line-out, Becky stormed down the wing to score and earn Newark a well-earned draw and a third place finish in the competition.
Parents were rightly proud of the efforts the girls had put in and it was great to see how they are continuing to improve even so late in the season. They showed real spirit and fight against some of the best teams in the area. The work-rate of all the girls was exceptional but huge credit to Mae, Alice, Charlotte and Ember who laid a brilliant foundation through strong tackling, rucking and driving forward unselfishly all day.
To cap off a fine day the girls got to meet England prop Sarah Bern before going on to watch the Tyrells Premier 15s final where Saracans resisted a late comeback to defeat Harlequins.
Written by Stephen Oldridge
Checked by James Tomlinson