Newcastle under Lyme (7) vs Altrincham Kersal (12)
A depleted squad demonstrates its flexibility to secure a win
A reverse to last weeks fixture saw the Colts travel to Staffordshire to take on Newcastle. The Kersal squad was weakened with the loss of a few players in key positions, resulting in some significant reorganisation with several players asked to take on unfamiliar roles.
The early encounters were tight, Newcastle using their big pack and strength in the line out to make life uneasy for Kersal. Kersal’s superior pace in the backs and strong defence countering the opposition.
Kersal took the lead on 19 minutes. A line out 10m from the Newcastle line was well taken by Luke Daldry with the rest of the pack quick to set up a driving maul. The speed of the set up created good forward momentum which Newcastle couldn’t contain. Anthony Tanner at the back of the maul took the ball over to score. (0-5)
Almost immediately following the restart Kersal took the ball back to Newcastle. Sam Walsh took a solid catch from a towering kick deep inside his own 22. The subsequent break saw the attack halted 10m inside the Kersal half, but AK were able to keep possession at the breakdown. Tom Sullivan fed Jasper Kearns who broke the defensive line making good territorial gain, he evaded the Newcastle defence to find Cormac Grieves outside who drew in the covering defender before popping the ball off to Harry Backhouse on the right wing. Backhouse accelerated down the line with only his opposite number to beat, he saw Sullivan advancing inside on a hard line and neatly passed the ball into his path which he collected and raced in from 10m out to score under the posts. Sam Walsh scored the conversion to take this score to 0-12.
Kersal were now in control and should have extended the lead just before half time. A sustained period of pressure a metre from the Newcastle line saw AK attempt to score from three recycled rucks. The Newcastle defence was resolute, eventually forcing Kersal into conceding a pentalty allowing them to clear their lines.
Altrincham had to see out much of the latter stages of the first half with 14 men as the referee penalised the team for deliberate offside deeming it worthy of a yellow card and seven minutes in the bin. Kersal were able to hold on to lead 12-0 at the break.
Newcastle came out for the second half with a point to prove and spent the opening 5 minutes camped in the Kersal 22. On 41 minutes their persistence paid off as they brought the score back to 7-12 with a converted score under the posts.
The remainder of the game was intense and evenly fought. Kersal switched from their expansive play through backs, into a rucking game dominated by the forwards. Kersal were not able to make the most of this tactic with Newcastle strong in the counter ruck, forcing several penalties due to Kersal indiscipline . Both teams were reduced to 14 men midway through the half, the players continued to put in a huge amount of effort, but neither side were able to manufacture a passage of quality play to add to the score.
Final Score Newcastle 7 v Altrincham Kersal 12
Kersal try scorers
- Anthony Tanner
- Tom Sullivan
- Sam Walsh