No stopping Claudio Bowden's men in 6 try win!
By Chris Ward
Claudio Bowden and Ian Pratt mastermind a third win on the trot in local derby.
The 2nd XV travelled the short distance to McCracken Park on Saturday, buoyed after winning their 2 previous fixtures. A strong squad was assembled by Gareth ‘Claudio’ Bowden and words of wisdom were endowed upon the squad via a rather ‘tasty’ pre match text message from skipper, Ian Pratt; decorum prohibits the words being shared in this match report.
Novos started the game in rip roaring fashion and kept the ball in Northern’s half for most of the early exchanges. After only 8 minutes, Novos were in front when James Bass dotted down out wide after Selkirk put him on his way, faster than you could say “Did you know that I played prop last week?” Ben Melrose took an unfortunate knock early in the 1st half and was replaced by Nicholls after only 18 minutes. Novos were controlling the game in every facet by this stage and after a long time spent in Northern’s 22, Shaun Stewart kicked over a simple penalty to increase the lead to 8-0.
Ben Kelly raced in for Novos’ second try of the afternoon after some wonderful offloading play saw Novos keep the ball alive. Stewart converted from the touchline and shouted ‘I told you I’d get the bad kicks out of the way before the game!’. Shaun unfortunately forgetting, he had in fact missed the first conversion of the game that had preceded this one.
10 minutes before half time saw Novos score their third of the afternoon when Nichols was put into space and placed the ball down under the posts for Stewart to convert. (Two out of three isn’t bad Shaun. Make sure you get ALL of the bad kicks out of the way next week!).
Half time and Novos were sitting pretty for the lead at 22-0. Wise words of wisdom from Merrett, Bowden and Pratt in the team huddle. The next score was vital. Novos responded immediately the ball was spread wide from Harrison, to Ward to Harrap. Novos somehow managed to win the ruck and skipper Ian Pratt strolled in from 20 yards beating 5 Northern defenders in the process after picking up the loose ball for a try that will surely go down as the slowest line break in history. Stewart again converted score 0-29 (3 out of 4 for him. If only he had kept practicing before kick off…). Novos were in total control, however the referee deemed to Novos to infringe five times I our 22 in as many minutes. Ben Merrett managed to get a sin binning for being in two places at the same time. His fine as yet, is to be paid.
With the benefit of an extra man, Northern ran in their first try of the afternoon to make the score 5-29. Novos hit back 7 minutes later when a lineout in Northern’s 22 was caught by Ward and driven over the line in the 65th minute. Ben White touching down on his debut. Stewart back on form, conversion missed. 34-5.
Novos certainly saved the best until last however. Harrison marshalled a perfect forwards play off the fly half - Ward broke through the defensive line and offloaded to James Bass, circumventing around the Northern defence before putting in Cameron Spencer for a wonderful team try. Stewart converted 41-5. Unfortunately, the last 15 minutes saw Northern camped in the Novos half and they managed to score two late tries which slightly flattered them. However, they stuck at it for the whole game and it was a very competitive match. Final score Northern 2’s 19-41 Novos 2’s. The mighty 2nd XV have league free weekend next up, however a game against Newcastle University is sure to be one to watch on the pitch and in the bar after!