East Retford 2nd XV 19 Pts V Newark 4th XV 12 Pts
Retford played Newark in the Nottinghamshire RFU Security Plus Junior Shield final and as can be seen from the score ran out winners.
However that is not how the game started.
Newark came out fired up with some aggressive play from their forwards, with the strong start came a converted try only minutes in and with the wind at their backs they were able to keep Retford deep in their own half.
There was plenty of strong running from the Retford players as they hit their stride with all the forwards taking turns to try and break through James and Michael Green always in the thick of it. Running in pods was making the Newark team defend at all costs with Andy Daniels and Paul Barrett doing their best to grind down the opposition.
The ball was spun wide and the back line tried their hardest with winger Chris Marsden just being bundled into touch in the corner, the other wing Luke Osborne showed his dancing feet as he made good ground but each time Newark were up to the task and kicked clear for Retford to start again from their own half.
On another attack Steve Henderson released Rupert Innes through the gap but the Newark defence held out and before the half time whistle a chip and chase by Josh Nicklin saw him dive for the ball but the officials ruled that it had gone over the dead ball line, so the half came to an end with Retford still seven points adrift.
Although it had been a half of Retford attacking and Newark on the counter there had been some excellent defence by both sides. The ferocious tackling from the Retford centres and in particular liam dove, Mitchell Rose and the Green brothers in the forwards had proved to Newark that it was going to be a difficult match to hold on to.
As they turned round for the second half it was Retford who were going to have the wind advantage but it was going to be the hard work by the team as a whole that was going to prove the biggest threat. As they kicked off the Retford forwards were rampaging up the park as shaun dove kept them going feeding the ball to the forward runners making good ground.
As they closed in on the line it was Iain Balmer at full stretch that grounded the ball on the line for a try and with Jack Thomas adding the conversion the scores were level and Balmer had claimed his twentieth try of the season. Shortly after Retford received a yellow card for a seemingly high tackle and Marsden as the recipient had a ten minute interval and Ben Wilson came on at ten to replace Henderson as Retford went back on the attack again. Retford’s scrummage was definitely on top now with some excellent driving but Newark’s back line were still having some mazy runs and gaining ground but mistakes were creeping in.
Having a change round in the pack with Aaron Wood coming on and Neal Whittingham freshened the legs as on the twenty five minute mark came up some great forward play resulted in Captain Kurt Spencer crashing over for a well-deserved try. Chanden Pickersgill replaced Rose in the back row as Retford went forwards again and a set play in the backs saw Innes escape his would be tackler and evade the rest to gallop through to score a well worked try again converted by Thomas. Retford had got their hands almost on the trophy but Newark was not finished.
Jimmy Cruickshank made his entrance on the wing replacing Osbourne and made a great try saving tackle but Newark kept the ball and spun it wide for their centre to cross the line for an opportunist try, as the conversion was attempted and was pulled wide the final whistle was blown and Retford had achieved the win.
It was a fitting end as Captain Kurt Spencer and Iain Balmer were hanging up their boots both to score on a winning day. Men of the match went to Iain Balmer in the forwards and Josh Nicklin in the backs with the donkey going to the yellow carded ‘angry man’ Chris Marsden but all deserves the accolade of being crowned Junior Shield winners.
Next Saturday Retford return to Nottingham for the first team to play Medan Vale in their cup final kick off is at 2.