|Match Report - Sun 22nd April 2007 v Newark
Wellingborough 52 Newark 0
The final league game of the season yielded excellent squad numbers, despite several players being absent, and it is hoped that this will continue on into next season.
Newark arrived with 11 players, having had two of their number pull out minutes before travelling down to the Boro.
Newark won the toss and chose to run down hill. Boro opened up the score line within the first two minutes of kick off, and this continued for a good ten minutes with Emily Underwood breaking through tackles, followed up by good hands and lines of running from Emma Eley, Nat Smart and Rachel Jones, until Newark composed and focused themselves into the game.
Newark, switching tactics, began to kick off to the backs from the re-sets, after realising that the Boro forwards were not afraid to hit both their players hard, nor the rock hard ground even harder.
Boro continued to show that they were capable of winning the ball in mauls, as they had in their last game against Ripley Rhino’s, and often spun out of mauls to make quick ground up the pitch.
Injuries to Newark early on in the game resulted in uncontested scrums for the majority of the first half and part of the second, and became reminiscent of the first game played against them, where time was called after the first half. However, their injured player managed to get back on, and following this, Boro showed their dominance in this area; Janita Dickens winning the majority of opposition ball, as well as all of her own, backed up by the powerhouse that is Stephanie Cannell and Debbie Dexter.
Whilst the absence of Laura Frost at tight head prop was missed, Pollyanna Stokes proved that in the scrum, she could more than hold her own.
Claire Wilson brought experience onto the field as she subbed on for Polly, and her effectiveness at number 8 was missed, having had to play 10 a side.
The second half led to Caz Harrison making her debut at tight head prop, Emily Underwood turning her hand to scrum half having already played out of position at fly-half, so that Sarah Sargent could take a well earned rest. Emma Eley was replaced by Kate Hiney, the former having scored twice in the first half, but suffered from hamstring troubles and Amanda McHugh came on at wing, having been denied the opportunity to shine as flanker. Amanda displayed her trademark qualities, tackling backs without pause or hesitation and immediately moving on to the next to repeat.
Newark only truly troubled Boro once in the first half, and a couple of times in the second, however the Boro defence meant that nothing came of it, even when Boro gave away penalties in advantageous places.
Newark appeared to get back into the swing of things with their contested scrums, no doubt having been annoyed after Boro consistently pushed them back on every contested engagement.
Despite this, Emily managed to scored an individual un-opposed try straight off the back of a scrum within the opposition 22 in front of the posts, taking advantage of the ‘blind side’, running straight to the posts as all of Newark players were crammed into their right hand side of the pitch.
Newark were careless, allowing ball they had won at rucks to get into the open, with Elaine Addy taking advantage and running over half the length of the pitch, supported by Janita and then Steph, and were unlucky not to have scored, but this was rectified by Emily after Newark lost a scrum.
Elaine continued to make breaking runs, but generally succeeded in scaring her own team…
Nat Smart proved that she doesn’t have just one good run in her, completing a hat trick in the second half, before being subbed to allow the recovering Laura Gorman (Jorgi) time on the pitch. Jorgi showed that she was learning from previous games and training and made decent efforts tackling the opposition, before going over her already injured ankle just at the end of full time.
Emily, having scored 6 tries, was relieved by Sarah who showed that she was willing and able to take the ball into contact herself following successful scrums, with support being provided by the forwards. The forwards had learned their lessons from the Buckingham Swans game, and not committing everyone to every breakdown, which shows the worth of coaching from Dave East, supported by Lewis Ramoo.
An awesome score line, in view of an improved Newark team, despite only one conversion by Emily.
Back of the match: Emily Underwood