Novos Perform Xmas Rock Consett
Novos win 29-22 in an absolute Xmas cracker at Sutherland Park as once again we show squad depth at the club.
Consett arrived at Sutherland Park in fine form with a few changes to their normal squad. The game was always going to be tight with battles expected all over the pitch. The battle at the breakdown was always going to fierce with possibly 4-5 of the leagues best back rows on display.
We also made changes to our normal squad as several players were unable to play. Our depth showed through despite the unavailability of players such as Josh Stacey, Iain Dodds, Jack Spoor, George Davidson, Rich Harrison, Aedan Moloney, Johnny Ward and Cillian O'Shaughnessy. We were able to bring up players from last weeks twos squad in Mike Cousins
, Jamie Wallace
, Chris Ward
, Angus Duncan
and we also saw the return of Czech U20 player Jan Safranek
Despite losing the toss we again were given the end we wanted anyway. With the wind at our back Richard Dodd and Lewis Chater
controlled the game and field position nicely with some towering kicks. We stuck to the game plan perfectly early doors and thrived on Consett mistakes in their own half. In the first 15 mins we won penalty after penalty and eventually scored from a 5m line out via Sam Warren, converted by Dodd.
At 25 mins we were back in our opponents 22 and again won several penalties and Consett were perhaps lucky to have 15 on the park. Their frustration boiled over as their South African stand off started a fight and was yellow carded after he was giving a few clips in retaliation. Dodd kicking the resulting penalty to make it 10-0.
We dominated the half completely but Consett did well to keep us out for the rest of the half. Quick chat about slowing the game down into the wind and trying to keep the game tight.
Consett tried to use their kicking game but were thwarted as Angus Duncan
fielded numerous kicks and fed Carl "Moses" Parkinson who was often able to part the Consett defence. Yet it was the other back three member, Sam Busby
who was to get on the scoreboard. After some great team work the ball was fed to Busby who raced in for an unconverted try. Novos up 15-0.
Next was one of the tries of the game as Ben Merrett
turned the ball over near our 22 which then saw Alex Littlefair
move the ball wide to Busby. Sam took off eventually breaking through and running in an 80 m scorcher. Converted by Richard Dodd for a 22-0 lead.
The try perhaps finally triggered Consett into action as they started to make breaks. Some of these were after our breaks as we tried miracle off loads instead of keeping possession. Consett had a real purple patch and scored 22 points in about 15 mins of play.
The score was 22-22 and Consett had all the momentum and hard started to edge the set piece battle. Last play and we were hanging on for a draw. Consett kicked downfield and the ball was returned with interest with Pete Twentyman
, Carl Parkinson
and Jan Safranek
heavily involved. The ball went through several sets of hands under pressure before Jez Nas crashed over in the corner. Touch line conversion added by Dodd for a dramatic 29-22 win.
Thanks to Brian Callander for officiating. Credit must go to him for completing the match after it looked like he broke a rib in the first 20m after colliding with a player. Tough cookie and perhaps not deserving of the amount of chat that was directed at him from the sidelines.
Consett and City are definitely the two best sides we have played. Consett are one of only a couple of teams scrums that have given us trouble, they competed well in the line out, their 7 and 8 were fantastic throughout and the battle on the floor was a delight to watch as they took on Warren, Merrett and Littlefair. They could easily have got more whistles in their favour at the breakdown but perhaps were guilty of too much chat to the ref which then made him keep his whistle to himself.
To our lads, what a win. That's 4 wins from the last 5 games against Consett. A side who I rate highly and enjoy watching them play. Who would have thought we'd be 1 point of 4th place at Xmas with a game in hand on the two teams in first and second. However, with the pre season we have had, the success of our other sides creating competition for places and the lads attitude to training it is not that much of a surprise. We are enjoying each other's company, being successful in terms of getting the environment right and generally proving critics wrong about our ability. Long may it continue.
Congrats are in order to Ben Melrose as our 2nds have won the first round of league play. Well done to the 3s who got back to winning ways and big congrats to Bruno Smith
, Lewis Chater
and Sam Busby
who impressed in their U20 county trials last week.
Finally, we are training at the club on Monday followed by a gym session on Wednesday. Details to follow but let's remember that it has been hard work that has been the foundation of our recent improvement. Get to training either side of Xmas and keep the momentum going.
Very proud coach. Up the Vos !