East Retford 1st XV 59 Pts V Mellish 1st XV 13 Pts
Having put their Easter Rugby Tour on hold for the chance of getting to the final on Easter Saturday Retford had proverbially put their eggs in one basket.
Having always had a tight fixture against Mellish Retford knew if they could carry on from the previous week's performance a final was on the cards.
An early slip however gave the visitors the start they wanted with a well struck penalty but impressively Retford picked themselves up and hit back almost straight away. Luke Osborne turned the ball over and passed inside to Josh Nicklin who ran a great line stepped outside and ran clear to score with the conversion added by Dan Preece, Retford took the lead.
Mellish were working hard to gain the advantage but Retford held tight in defence before giving up another longer range penalty which Mellish accepted with the help of the crossbar. Retford had their chances as the game rolled on towards thirty minute mark with a missed penalty and also were held up over the line missing out on a try. Then in the last ten minutes of the half the game belonged to Josh Freeman who could do nothing wrong.
The forwards claimed the ball and recovered well before a great move in the backs saw J J Freeman take the ball on to score again converted. Minutes later Nicklin went in to win the ball from centre and Freeman looped round to fill his place in the back line he received the ball and ran through to score another converted try. As Mellish tried to play themselves out of trouble throwing a bit of caution to the wind the ball was intercepted on the halfway line and Joshua Freeman who sped off with all giving chase, not to be caught he scored his third try and before the whistle blew for halftime Freeman tried a drop goal conversion missing the mark but leaving a halftime score of twenty six points to six.
From the start of the second half a bit of a change in tactics saw Mellish play a lot more ball through the forwards and after a period of very scrappy play Mellish forced their way over for a converted try. They believed they were back in contention before another interception this time by fly half Ben Wilson started another try fest. He was stopped short but managed to get the ball away to supporting Mikey Phillips who crossed the line for a try, converted.
Retford were soon back on the attack and won clean ball in the scrum JJ passed the ball out to Ryan Mellins who almost sold himself a dummy before passing the ball to Luke Osborne who scored in the corner, converted from out wide by Preece. With the forwards fired up they were on the hunt for more points and a turnover saw the ball in Harry salathiel's hands as he brushed aside a defender to run through to score, again converted.
Retford were controlling the play as they had done the week before and sound play in the forwards allowed the backs to run and the ball was passed down the line to Freeman who stepped inside and ran clear for his fourth try of the day. Almost from the kick off Retford set off again with a strong run by Preece after Will Wilkinson had set it up. The ball was passed on to Mellins who made further ground before passing out to Nicklin with a back of the hand pass to round off the day with a try in the corner.
A great all-round performance with all the players playing their part but the Men of the match went to Joshua Freeman in the backs for his four tries and to Matt Watt from second row in the forwards who tackled his heart out all day long.