The "local derby"
By Fran Mockford
The “local derby” was keenly contested with both sets of players showing full commitment and great intensity for the full 80. The only real difference in the two team was that West Park were more clinical in taking the opportunities they created.
Novos were keener to move the ball out wide to attack more of the space, and this paid dividends when a break through the middle by Emma Nichol saw her cut down just short of the line, but Lauren Roberts was on hand to pick up and get the ball over the line, and followed up with a great kick for the extra two points.
This stirred West Park into action, they attacked through their big ball carriers with their No8 and inside centre making ground every time they got the ball. This tactic got the home team back in the game with two quick tries for the centre, the second being a physical, tackle breaking carry from the ½ way line, both tries were converted.
This was set the theme for the visitors as they were put under pressure by the West Park forwards and had to scramble hard in defence to keep them out. Novos continued to attack wider and after a series of rumbustious runs by the forwards which allowed the ball to go to the backs on the right flank and good handling allowed Emily Oliver to race over almost untouched to score.
The home side finished the first half strongly with two more tries, the first with their winger just squeezing over in the corner, closely followed by the other winger going over much closer to the posts. With the successful conversion meant that Novos turned around 26 – 12 down.
Half time gave the team a chance to reorganise and reset targets. This seemed to work well for them as they attacked with much better accuracy and intent. There were still plenty of mistakes by both teams as both defences held firm, so the game was played very much in the middle third of the pitch. Again, Novos created several opportunities to get over the line but the hard working defence kept them out. Novos kept attacking and in the last quarter, good handling got the ball to Laura Stewart who had pace to fly over on the left. The Novos defence ensured that West Park could not get over for their bonus point try and allowed Novos to come away with a losing bonus point.