2s show heart to beat West
It was a grey afternoon at Sutherland Park, Novos super 2’s were looking for a victory against West Hartlepool Stags after a disappointing loss to Morpeth 2 weeks ago.
It was clear that Novos were raring to go as they made their way out onto the pitch.
The sky cleared up just in time for Novos to kick off into West Hartlepool’s half. West Hartlepool found gaps in the Novos defence and carried into the opposition’s half. Novos managed to turn the ball over and Selkirk executed a great (yet rather flukey) 60 meter kick downfield for Kieran O’Donoghue to chase, just as the ball looked like it was going out O’Donoghue dived over the line for the first try (TMO May have suggested otherwise). The wind played havoc for Selkirk on the kicking tee, sending the ball wide, Novos 5-0 up after just 2 minutes.
The next few minutes were rather frustrating for the home side. The super 2’s conceded a number of penalties in their own half which eventually led to a try by West Hartlepool after 14 minutes, 5-5.
After another 10 minutes and many more penalties against Novos, West Hartlepool crossed the line again for another try, 5-10.
The next 20 minutes of the half consisted of a mix of poor discipline from Novos and some ‘questionable’ decisions by the referee. Davies and Pratt continued to make yards and slip through tackles. Half time came and it was agreed that Novos had to tidy things up and sort their discipline out. After a few wise words from Gareth ‘Claudio’ Bowden and Skipper Ian Pratt Novos were ready for the second half.
Neil Andrew was replaced after an impressive defensive effort by the fresh legs of George Bambrick. After stringing a few phases together the super 2’s put pressure on West Hartlepool’s defence before young Gus Graham made a beautiful offload to George ‘Bambi’ who slipped through a hole in the defensive line and galloped from halfway to score under the sticks, an impressive try from the back rower. The try was converted by fly half Mikey Williams on his Novos debut, 45 minutes, Novos lead 12-10.
10 minutes into the second half and it was time to make some substitutions, Will Davies was replaced by Neil Andrew. Ben Melrose was replaced by Ex RGS player Tommy Bilclough on his Novos debut, the Hooker turned centre made an impact with a great tackle on the opposition 12
after just 30 seconds on the pitch. For the next 5 minutes Novos were camped in their own 22 with important tackles made by Brendan Thomas, Dan Shuttleworth and Ex RGS player Isaac Robinson (also making his debut for the club). Clever play by the opposition led to a 3 on 1 out wide leading to an inevitable try, 12-15.
Unaware of the score Novos fought on against the Stags. At 60 minutes Gus Graham was replaced by Oli Dearden, on his eagerly anticipated return from injury. The super 2’s continued to stand up in defence and kept the Stags in their own half for 5 minutes until the ball was kicked into Novos’ half and gathered by winger Cameron Spencer. Spencer made a darting run through the defence beating four defenders before offloading to Andrew who made great yards. The ball was recycled and young Adam MacDonald showed great strength to carry the ball into West Hartlepool’s 22. MacDonald had support on either side from Spencer and Selkirk, he made the right decision of popping the ball back inside to Selkirk for the scrum half to dive under the posts for a great team try which was converted by Williams, Novos lead again 19-15.
The super 2’s continued to put strain on the oppositions defence, Mark Stewart ran a great line out wide and back in but was unable to get the offload out wide. The ball was turned over by West Hartlepool.
The next 10 minutes were spent in the Novos 22. The home side showed great strength and commitment in defence. The forwards continue to cause problems for the Stags at scrum time. Oli Dearden made tackle after tackle and continued to get off the gain line. West Hartlepool were unable to break the line.
75 minutes and it was time for Peter Harrison to make his 2nd team debut for Novos. His last game before jetting off to Australia. Harrison was keen to get involved and was unlucky not to score from 10 metres out. Novos looked to ship the ball out wide again when it was knocked on by West Hartlepool, the ref made the unusual call of a chase down, not a knock on. This led to The Stags making good ground to find themselves in Novos 22 again. However, strong defence led to the home side winning the ball back.
Final score: Novos 19 West Hartlepool Stags 15. Making it 4/6 league wins for Novos 2’s.
Honourable mentions to Josh Igoe who looked good on return from injury, plenty of strong carries. Oli Dearden looked sharper than ever after a few weeks out with a foot injury. The RGS lads both put in a good shift, Isaac carried well and made plenty of yards, Bilclough continued to make big hits and get off the gain line. Man of the match went to a slightly hungover Christian Selkirk who bossed the game from scrum half. Next week the mighty super 2’s are Home to Alnwick, can they make it 5/7 wins...
Match Report by Cameron Spencer