Novos 24, Whitby 12 - Windy Whitby Win
By Magnus Leask
A bonus point win at Whitby was secured through tries by Sam Busby, Ben Merrett, Euan Duncan and Ben Wollerton.
An enjoyable bus journey on the way to Whitby - red wine aroma at the front and the smell of desire toward the back of the bus. Arrived in plenty of time thanks to Snaith's Buses and the lads had time to check out the clubhouse and watch a bit of the Falcons game.
The majority of the squad had not played at Whitby before - nice pitch but incredibly windy up as it's up on a hill.
We played with the wind in the first half and perhaps ran more than we should've. We dominated the early exchanges as our scrum got on top and we had some strong carries by Josh Stacey and Sean Ramsay. In addition, Ben Merrett made a clean line break in the first few moments as we looked to hit the middle and go back blind.
Whitby seemed a much improved side at home - showing great spirit and were causing us problems at the break down. They defended well in the first 20 mins and we were unable to score despite being camped in their 22 for long periods. Nick Bellamy came on for Lewis Chater after he was involved in a tip tackle. Whilst our constant pressure was not rewarded on the scoreboard their back rower was binned for a cynical offside. He was very lucky not to be red carded as he said something to the ref on his way off.
We had settled into the game on the back of a dominant scrum and great lineout work by Chris Ward and Tom Cox. Inside Whitby's 22m Sean Ramsay made a half break before off loading the ball to Sam Busby. Despite being in traffic Busby accelerated away to score and with the conversion added by Shaun Stewart we were up 7-0.
The kick off didn't go ten so we went back on the attack. Again, we were camped in Whitby's 22 for a long period before Josh Stacey bumped a couple of defenders off and lifted the ball to Ben Merrett. The veteran openside strolled to the line for his try which capped a fine first half performance. Novos up 12-0 at half time.
Two changes made as Chris Law joined the back row and Euan Duncan entered the fray for Daniel Shuttleworth. Whitby started the second half the stronger side as we made some poor decisions at the breakdown. However, we defended well and kept them out and looked for opportunities to counter attack.
Ben Wollerton was having a very good game on the left wing - skinning his man on almost every occasion. After an incredible chip and regather we were camped in Whitby's half again. We looked to get over the gain line then a great reverse of play found Euan Duncan on the blindside. An initial thought of making a pass was rightly ignored as he crashed over in the tackle to push the score out to 17-0.
Whitby tried to get back into the game but some great defence by Jack Hearn, Sean Ramsay and Ben Merrett stopped them from going in under the posts. Instead, we were off on the counter attack and Ben Wollerton beat a couple of defenders with a fend and was off into open spaces. Sighs went out as he took on Whitby's15 with support either side. However, Wollerton calmly stepped the defender to record a 70m try. Conversion added by Stewart and we seemed comfortable at 24-0 with the bonus point secured.
Our opponents who had showed great heart all afternoon had other ideas. A yellow card to Chris Law would prove costly as down a man with ten mins to play Whitby scored two very good tries picking off some forwards in midfield.
Final score 24-12 to Vos !
Thank you to the ref who I thought made some excellent decisions at the break down and generally created a decent contest despite the wind.
Whitby - hospitality was great all day. Thought you were unlucky to not nick something from the game. You were vastly improved at home and I am aware that you have some big games at your place against sides in the bottom half. I hope you take some confidence from Saturday as it was not easy for us to get the win.
Novos - cheers the fellas who came on the bus and to the families that journeyed to come and watch us. Great attitude from the lads in the wider first team squad to travel with us and give up what would've been a free Saturday. I thought the scrum went well apart from the odd scrum. Josh Stacey carried well and caused huge problems with the ball in hand. Ben Merrett did some great link up work and Jack Hearn defended well against Whitby's powerful 12. A bonus point win away from home which sets us up well for a big challenge this week. Barnard Castle will want to take our unbeaten home record from us and we will need to be at our best to get the win. Should have a few bodies back in contention for selection in Henry Wilson, Andy Hall and Tom Winning looking to get back into the squad.
Up the Vos !!