Novos 45, Medicals 0 - Fortress Vos !
By Magnus Leask
Novos made it 6 from 6 at home this season after winning the Battle of the Roundabout against Medicals 45-0.
The boys went into this game having had a great week of preparation including a decent review of Medicals and where we might get some joy in attack. We also focused on how much Medicals performances had improved recently and that their league position does not do them justice.
We started the game with the breeze and sun at our backs and gained the initiative from the off. Sean Ramsay led the way in carries up front and Tom Winning and Jez Nash in the middle. As we had hoped we found space around their first defender at the edge of the rucks. Lewis Chater was the main benefactor and on his second break through that area he bumped of the Medicals prop and spun off to race in under the posts. Conversion added by Shaun Stewart 7-0 after just 4 mins.
In the early stages we were dominating the scrum battle and Rich Harrison kicked us into good field position. Medicals looked a bit off colour and made early handling mistakes. We gained a line out in their 22m and Josh Stacey crashed over after a well organised drive - a great effort considering he'd been out all day on the Friday for his works xmas party ! Novos up 12-0 in the 14th minute.
We didn't have everything our own way and Medicals did have moments where Matthew Haig (8) troubled us and a couple of their big lads made some strong carries. However, we tackled well when we had to and Medicals were making some handling errors which was unlike them and prevented them from getting a foothold in the game.
Novos weren't their attacking self either but were causing damage around the breakdown and our back three looked dangerous when the ball was moved to space. However, Lewis Chater had to come off with an ankle injury - not great given that we had gone with three forwards on the bench. Stewart moved back to the more familiar territory of the wing and Jez Nash tested out his freshly recovered hamstrings by shifting to scrum half.
The half finished with Novos on attack after some fine attacking play we secured a scrum in front of the posts - to the roars of the Novos followers we marched their scrum back over the line for Sean Ramsay to drop on the ball. Stewart added the conversion for a 19-0 half time lead.
Half time saw Chris Ward come on for Adam McDonald who had played a strong first 40 and Euan Duncan propping for Josh Stacey who had well an truly emptied the tank. We spoke about not competing at breakdowns to ensure we kept our penalty count down whilst Meds had the wind - as well as allow us to fill the field and keep our back three deep to return kicks.
Medicals came out determined to fight back but once again made errors which we capitalised on. From a kick to the corner our forwards again showed their dominance as the backs joined in a pushed a rolling maul over for the second time. On this occasion, it was Ben Merrett who had managed to get his hands on the ball. Novos up 24-0.
At this stage Meds were not out of the fixture however they perhaps chased the game a bit hard and the game got quite lose. We thrived of their errors as Jonny Ward went 80 metres twice in ten mins, each converted by Stewart. Pet hate occurred on Ward's last try as several Medicals players did not retreat behind their posts after we scored yet still try to charge the kick down - lazy and bad craic.
After their rest Meds were able to reclaim the kick off and exert pressure on our try line. Jonny Ward was given a yellow card for a deliberate knock down. Medicals were unable to get the score they perhaps deserved as Sam Busby shut down an attack and ran 80 metres for a try despite only being in second gear due to cramp. Conversion added by Stewart to make the final score 45-0.
Thank you to Graham Crozier for taking charge of the game - an easy one to handle I think as both sides wanted to use the ball and play rugby,
Medicals boys - we know you are much better than your league position suggests and you were a little bit off form today. We hope that the lads who came off with a head and leg injury are feeling better. You did loads of good things but handling let you down on several occasions and then we took advantage of you chasing the game late on. Enjoyed watching Joe Battle and Matt Horrocks have a run around as we know them from putting on the Novos jersey at the Tynedale 7's. Was great to have the two coaches sit down and have a chat over a pint after the game.
Novos - incredible memory created in winning all six of our home matches. A first for us as a group and set us up well for the last game of the year away at Stockton. Massive game after Stockton beat City yesterday and they will want to turn the tables after we beat them at home at the start of the season. Man of the Match was Daniel Shuttleworth with a great game round the park. Richard of the Day went to Chris Ward for his abysmal personal warm up.
See you all at training for one last week of prep. Up the Vos !