East Retford 1st XV 40 Pts V Worksop 1st XV 10 Pts
In a change of venue due to Bonfire night commitments Retford were host to local rivals Worksop who were only a couple of places below them in the league table, so once again Retford was expecting a tight game.
The first ten minutes or so was all Retford but the pace was at a hundred mile an hour so no control was present for either side. It took a long time before the home side settled and when they did some twenty five minutes in they made their mark. The ball was worked up the park by the forwards before simple ball down the line saw the ball arrive at the wing of Joshua Freeman who collected the ball and raced in at the corner for a try.
Worksop upped their game and were soon to rub out the lead when their pack made a concerted effort to drive for the line. Several attempts were held up before the visitors produced a final push to cross the line and level the points. Worksop were soon swamping forward again but great turn over ball in midfield saw a brilliant opportunistic kick up the park by Simon Phillips bounce the right way again into J J Freeman’s hands and he glided under the post for his and the sides second try converted by Dan Preece.
Before the interval Retford were gaining momentum with some great interplay between all the players before Ryan Mellins hit the right line to ghost passed his would be tacklers to score Retford’s third try again converted by Preece to give a half time lead of nineteen points to five. The team talk at the break was one of determination but also to control the ball as much as possible and keep possession thus starving Worksop of the chance to play.
Once again the best laid plans were not to work out at the start of the second half as Worksop decided to adopt the catch and drive scenario at every opportunity and were soon to use the power of their forwards to drive over for their second try. This however just brought out Retford’s best play and with all the substitutes being used in the second half by Retford over the remaining thirty minutes they or should I say Josh Nicklin ran in three unanswered, converted tries.
The first one was a move called in the back line where Nicklin took the ball on a pace and just left the defenders in his wake, converted by Preece. The next saw the side with more control before Nicklin rounded the players to score out wide on the right with an excellent conversion struck by Freeman and his third coming from a superb turnover ball by Ed Driver to set the play going forwards and slick handling saw Nicklin through the gap again converted by Freeman.
It had been a well-deserved win although not a pretty game by any means. It had been a hard ground out win with both sides at times cancelling each other out but Retford came good and produced their eighth bonus point win so far this season taking the lead in the division by one point. Retford’s Man of the Match went to Josh Freeman for an excellent game in the backs with the Donkey going to Joe Helliwell. The first team have a week to recover before travelling to Gainsborough on the 17th.