Novos 39, Horden 27 - Almost As Planned
Novos won for the second season in a row at Horden as Jonny Ward scored a hat-trick in an entertaining 6 tries to 5 win.
Novos visited Eden Park on Saturday with the wind blowing off the coast. We had a great week of prep and felt we had some plans in place to try and get a result. Conditions were at our backs as we kicked off.
Within seconds Horden knocked the ball on and we were given a scrum 40m out in the middle of the field. Strong platform from the forwards allowed Paddy Sowter to put Sam Busby
in space - gone. Shaun Stewart
added the conversion for a dream start 7-0 to Novos.
Horden responded as expected carrying well into our half. We conceded a few penalty’s which got them into our 22m and they then cleverly scored from a ruck. Novos up 7-5.
From a deep kick their influential 8 carried the ball back and was fouled by Luke Menzfeld
. We received a yellow card and their player left the field with what looked like a bad arm injury. The boys stood up in defence despite being a man down - some great tackling and scrambling meant we got through the period without conceding points but we did give away more penalties. As such, back on came Luke Menzfeld
but off went Henry Wilson
for hands in the ruck. Back to back yellow was too much for the group and Horden scored after a miss tackle from a Horden scrum. Horden 12, Vos 7.
Despite being a man down we tried to control the tempo but were a bit off with our set piece as the wind contributed to line out issues. However, in general play we were causing them issues and Rich Harrison
had been controlling field position nicely. From a penalty awarded at half way Harrison off loaded to Jonny Ward
for him to step a few defenders on a 40 m run to the line. Conversion missed but we were back on level terms 12 all.
The sides were back to even numbers and Horden were winning the penalty count 7-4 in the first half allowing them field position and possession. From a scrum in our 22m they beat our defence to go back into the lead 17-12.
Despite having two men in the bin we ended the first half with energy as Tom Cox
and Henry Wilson
carried the ball forward with just some decent work from Tom Winning
as well. Eventually, the pressure told and Horden were awarded a yellow card of their own for a high tackle. We pounded away at the Horden defence and were happy to come away with a 35m drop goal from Harrison.
Before the game we had hoped to keep still be in the contest at half time and take the game deep. So despite being behind 17-15 we were happy with the game and placed importance on playing the remainder of the game with 15 men.
Into the wind solved the lineout issues and allowed us to move the ball wider. Cox and Chris Ward
would go on to have 100% success rate in the lineout in the second half and from one off the top lineout Sam Busby
broke away. Horden scrambled well but we recycled posssesion until Wilson crashed over to make it 20-17.
During this period week dominated the penalty count which would finish 9-2 in the second half. This allowed us to take quick taps and control the tempo of play. After some strong carries Paddy Sowter through a wide passion out to Shaun Stewart
who glided outside a Horden forward to stretch our lead to 25-17.
We were having our best period of the game in terms of possession and winning the gain line with Zach Weatherhead
making some great carry’s in his debut game at hooker. An incredible rise given he was playing third/fourth team wing only 18 months ago. From a Euan Duncan
quick tap Jonny Ward
raced in for his second from 50m out, conversion added by Stewart as we pushed it to 32-17.
Horden have some great players and they were never going to lay down at home. Whatever was said under the posts reignited them as they had 15 mins where they dominated the gain line. Front foot possession allowed them to score two tries to make it 32-27 with 5 mins to play. They had a chance to tie it up but a pass went into touch giving us possession for the last two mins.
From the resulting lineout Tom Cox
rose high to secure possession before Greg Humphreyson
lifted a switch pass to Jonny Ward
- gone. Ward sprinted in untouched from 65m to secure the win for Novos 39-27 as Stewart added the conversion.
Thank you to Phil Walton who was very consistent on foul play issuing 3 yellow cards for dangerous tackles and generally had a good day.
To the Horden lads the game could’ve gone either way had a few passes stuck but we were delighted to get the win as it is a hard place to get a positive result. You put points on the board when you got over the gain line and scored some nice tries. I was surprised to hear that training numbers have not been great going into this game as you have such a great community feel to your club. Hopefully, you’ll get to training in numbers during the off week and I’m sure you’ll climb the table back to your top six spot you normally own.
Our lads, great win at a place where we have often struggled in the past. We looked good when we did the stuff out the back and controlled the tempo like we had worked on at training. Great to see Zach get his debut, Wardy get a hat trick and Sam not. Man of the Match went to Tom Cox
who got through an incredible work load. Richard of the Day went to Euan Duncan
who was late to meet despite going to team breakfast at 1030 ! When prompted about his whereabouts the lads replied - Heaton has him now.
This Saturday we travel to Halifax for a National Cup Match with Old Rishworthians. Unfortunately, I will be heading to the Cabbage Patch to watch the All Blacks play. If there is only one try in this weeks fixture I will be asking for my money back !
Up the Vos !