Novos 79, Ashington 7 - One Win Away From Easter Final
By Magnus Leask
Chris Ward played his 100th club game in this Northumberland Plate Competition which saw Novos win 79-7 against a gallant Ashington side.
The sun was shining on this competitive pre season cup fixture vs Ashington. Squad wise this must have been closed to the strongest side we have put out for an August fixture in the past 5-6 seasons. This is despite the unavailability of injured players - Stacey and Menzfeld and/or the lads on holiday - I Dodds, Arbuckle, Rowntree, Fearon, Wallace, Humphreyson, B Smith, Dayson, Kelly, R Duncan, E Duncan and A Duncan. Competitive debuts for Adam MacDonald (Vos Colt) Jack Hearn (ex Northern Colt), Toby Tremlett (ex Boro) and Cameron Spencer (Vos Colt)
Ashington kicked off deep and the ball was moved through a couple of sets of hands leading to a break down the far wing by Sam Busby. After a 40m run Busby through a speculative pass which found Jack Hearn to gallop in for his third try in only his second game for the club. Conversion added by Jonno Wilkes for a 7-0 lead.
Again the kick went deep as Sean Ramsay carried us forward, then Josh Igoe getting over the gain line. With only a small blindside to work with there was some nice hands under pressure. Wilkes danced around his opposite number and off loaded out of the tackle by Washington's 15. Ben Walker took the pass and raced in from 30m on his return to his hometown club after a long absence at uni. Wilkes added the kick for a 14-0 lead in 4 mins.
De ja vu as we again moved a deep kick off wide out to Busby and Wilkes who carved up once again before Wilkes went over, banging another conversion over for a rather ominous 21-0 lead within 7 mins.
Ashington finally settled into the game and had a short spell of possession. However, with our tails up we showed no respite as Tom Dias, Alex Littlefair and Walker put in some man and ball hits via good line speed. Eventually, Ashington coughed up possession and Lewis Chater put in a beautiful cross field kick for Wilkes to cross over for 26-0.
Whilst we were too quick out wide, Ashington were doing well in the scrums where their physical assets could be used. Our forwards were doing some great things in general play as we carried hard to create space out wide. After another break Pete Twentyman found himself in space after an off load and sprinted in for an unconverted try out wide. A great team try was ruined as Twentyman signalled his customary love sign to Fran who we presume was somewhere on the balcony ! 31-0
The end of the half saw some fine inter play from our forwards with Dias, Twentyman and Chris Ward distributing in close quarters for breaks to be made by Igoe, Ramsay and Littlefair. In addition, the work rate and desire of young Adam MacDonald was a joy to watch. This structured play by our forwards created space for our backs to score two more tries through Busby and Chater, one conversion added by Wilkes for a half time score of 43-0.
Ashington had some moments early in the second half as their 13 and 15 made breaks. However, they were unable to finish as Novos scrambled well preventing Ashington getting on the score board.
Novos were first to score in the second half as Busby scorched in for a try then Hearn scored one of the tries of the game. From a Vos scrum the ball was fed to Nash with Chater on a loop. Just as it looked like we were going to go wide Nash delivered a beautifully weighted pass to Hearn on a hard line as he stepped two cover defenders for a fine try. Novos 53, Ashington 0.
A great moment in the game followed as Ashington were not throwing in the towel and took the game to us. They scored a deserved try to make it 53-7. Pressure continued to come from Ashington for the next few mins but we kept them out. From a scrum on our goal line we went blind as Busby put Ben Wollerton away. He drew the 15 and sent Busby on a 75m run to the try line, conversion added by Wilkes for 60-7.
An even better moment soon followed as Novos again broke from their own 22m. After fine play from Hearn and Nash the ball was off loaded to Cameron Spencer for a debut try. Cameron is the grandson of club stalwart Geoff Parkinson who sadly passed away last season. I am sure Geoff would have been very proud of Cameron's try. Novos 67-7 as Wilkes added a simple conversion.
With ten mins to go Novos again struck from deep as Chater ripped the ball off Washington's big number eight and tore up the pitch as everyone hoped he didn't tear his hamstring ! He made it unscathed despite being chased by a few Ash lads.
The final score came via Wilkes who added the conversion to make the final score 79-7 to make his personal points tally 29 with a hat trick of tries and converting 7 of our 13 tries.
Thank you to Tom for taking charge of the game. I thought he made some excellent decisions and communicated well with both sides. It was nice to chat with him afterwards about what we could get better at from his perspective as well as give him some development points.
Cheers to Ian's Ashington boys who I thought never gave in, never resulted to foul play in a one sided game. We wish you well as the league season starts next week.
Our lads, hopefully you saw that the things we have worked on at training did have an impact on the game. The starting boys played well and there were some great cameos off the bench particularly from Toby Tremlett, Dan Whittaker and Shaun Stewart.
Next week we have a huge challenge against last seasons runners up - Westoe. The match will be held on the artificial pitch at Harton Comp as cricket is still being played at Wood Terrace. We are looking forward to testing ourselves and returning to league rugby.