Newark Under 16s travelled to Old Scouts with an experienced squad of 15 after some late cancellations and were all keen to play this new opposition in the southern climes of Northampton.
Newark kicked off and despite the long journey looked wide awake during the initial encounters in what was looking like two well matched teams.
The first sign of a breakthrough came from Hooker Joseph L who struck against the head to win an early scrum, creating a platform from which led to a lineout deep in the Old Scouts half. The blustery wind then played its part and some skewed throws from both sides eventually led to a successful catch and drive from Newark, spreading out to the right wing and when a great grubber kick from Elliot P was not gathered by Old Scouts it was only the short dead zone that robbed Newark of the opening try.
After intense pressure from Newark the breakthrough came from a penalty on the Old Scouts 5m line, the Newark phase play was initially repelled until a strong burst from Archie W split the defence for the try, converted by Oscar M. 0–7.
Old Scouts were stunned and immediately went on the offensive to level the score, putting pressure on the Newark line, which was defended with vigor but eventually Old Scouts were rewarded with a penalty which they chose to kick and close the gap to 3–7.
A Newark lineout on the 22m was well caught by Sam R and distributed to Elliot P, who kicked the ball behind the Old Scouts defence for
Smorgie to regather hand off the final defender and score the try. Conversion by Oscar M, 3–14.
Old Scouts came straight back, and it was a fantastic clearance kick from Oscar M that found touch, and whilst the resulting lineout was lost the pressure from the forwards led to a fumble from Old Scouts and Sam R pouncing on the loose ball for the try, conversion Oscar M, 3-21
The final play of the half came from Old Scouts after a yellow card reduced Newark to 14, a skewed lineout found the hands of the Old Scouts and repeated phases eventually breached the Newark defence, 10-21.
Old Scouts kicked off the second half looking to continue where they left off in the first half, but it was not to be as Newark cleared their lines and won an attacking Lineout near the Old Scouts 5m line. With the ball secured and the maul formed, the training paddock move led to Harry C finishing it off, conversion Oscar M 10–28.
Sensing that the game was quickly getting beyond their grasp Old Scouts pressed again with only the strength of the Newark defence and Sam H holding up the ball and preventing the score.
Another Yellow saw Newark back down to 14 and allowed Old Scouts to apply the pressure once again which led to their second try, 15-28. This only served to infuriate and invigorate the Newark backs, who sped forward from the restart with Smorgie catching it and when he finished it off for his brace, immediately took the wind out of the Old Scouts sails as a two-score was once again restored. 15–33.
The final score of the match was by Old Scouts, who from an attacking lineout on the Newark 5m, formed a maul from which it was distributed to the backs for the breach and made the final score 20–33.
A great victory for the Newark side who played entertaining rugby all morning with some excellent tactical kicking by Oscar M and competed for everything to the very end. The lack of replacements made for some very tired bodies, but the win made the long journey home that bit shorter.
The long journey's continue next week as we head to Leeds to take on Roundheigens, the Yorkshire Champions.
Written by Will Nicholson
Checked by David Hayle