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1st XV - Match centre

Nottingham Casuals
Dronfield
Sat 23 Sep 15:00 - Midlands Division - Midlands 2 East (North) Full time

Nottingham Casuals 26 Dronfield 15

Casuals take the honours in a tense, hard fought game.

Sat 23rd September 2017
Midlands 2 East North

Nottingham Casuals 26 Dronfield 15

Casuals take the honours in a tense, hard fought game.

What a turn round from the Coalville game.
Casuals knew they were going to have a tough afternoon, but withheld the Dronfield challenge, and came out worthy winners.
Dronfield came to play Rugby, and it proved a very entertaining game, but it was also Dronfield’s undoing, as they surrendered the lead to a determined Casuals’ unit.

Casuals forwards throughout worked well as unit, with good runs, great support work, and Casuals defensive efforts were markedly improved from the Coalville game.
The passing was much more accurate, and Casuals have to have belief that the ball in hand is a great attacking weapon.

Although Dronfield were first on the attack, it was Casuals who had the first opportunity from a lineout, but unfortunately the first clear move resulted in a knock on.
Thereafter Dronfield exerted some pressure which resulted in a converted penalty to give them the lead after 6 minutes.
Casuals came back from the kick off, and gained ground through a kick to touch from Higgins. Casuals were not able to capitalise on that, and Dronfield kicked ahead, which had Ben Hallam bravely scrambling to retrieve the ball, but Casuals were then penalised.
Fortunately Dronfield could not construct an attack, and Casuals were then awarded a penalty, which would have drawn them level, but for the kick to divert away from the posts, somewhat.

Dronfield won a scrum on their 10m line, and after a few phases of play, the ball went down the line for a try in the corner, which was converted to give Dronfield a 10 nil lead.

Play went to and fro for a time, Casuals forwards working well around the fringes, taking play into Dronfields’ half with some good inter-passing, but Dronfields’ defences were still not breached.
Hallam came closest to a break through, but he had no support, and the ball was then knocked on.

Undaunted, Casuals kept up the pressure, keeping Dronfield in their half, and finally some good work from the forwards, mainly 2nd phase and 3rd phase, the ball was passed to Naylor who made 30m before going out of play.
Casuals stole the ball from the lineout, and from the ensuing maul and ruck, hooker Jack Weedon managed to scramble over for the try, which Higgins converted, dragging the points difference to only 3.

Unfortunately Casuals dropped the restart ball, and Dronfield ran in a try from the resultant restart, Casuals defence a bit sloppy in the lead up to it.

Casuals were penalised form the kick off, but sloppy handling by Dronfield allowed Graeme Roberts to recover the ball with a brave dive, the forwards then secured possession, and a huge overhead pass from Chris Brelsford to Steve Naylor (which had the Dronfield supporters bemoaning the fact he should have been nailed and cut in half), and Naylor then knocked over one defender and then brushed aside the other defenders to cross for Casuals 2nd try, and with Higgins again converting, Casuals went into ½ time, one point behind.

Casuals started the second half on the attack, but again daft errors cost them ground.
A bit of aerial ping pong gained Casuals a lineout on Dronfields 22, but Casuals’ lineout was just not functioning, and they surrendered field position. Giving away a few penalties, Casuals were put under pressure again. They were relieved when Dronfield knocked on when a score was on.

Defensive pressure form Casuals was beginning to tell.

Dronfield set their 3/4s off on a move to their right, but a wayward pass was seized on by Naylor, and he ran a full 60 metres unchallenged for a superb individual try. Unfortunately the kick hit the upright.

A second opportunity then came his way for an interception, but the ref called it back for a scrum.

The lead was almost very short lived. Dronfield took play up to Casuals’ line, the ball was held up in going for the touch down, and Dronfield then managed to knock on in the move from the scrum.

Dronfield then had yet another opportunity to attack Casuals, but again a 3rd very wayward pass was grabbed by an alert Naylor, and as the covering Dronfield defence were about to converge on him, he shipped a great pass to Ben Hallam flying up in support, and nobody got near him as he blazed away from 70 metres out, for another converted try. Kicker again Higgins.

Casuals were obviously very happy at the final scoreline. The team showed a better spirit all round, and hopefully this improvement can be carried into the next league game this Saturday at Ilkeston.

3 players who have come into the 1st team this season are back rowers Stuart Williams, Chris Brownlie, brother of coach Ben, also Steve Baraniak rewarded for his pre-season efforts, in at prop.

The team

15. Ben Hallam
14. Steve Naylor
13. Chris Brelsford
12. James Wood (Vice Capt)
11. Nial O'Kane
10. Mark Higgins
9. Gareth Davies-Jones
8. Matt Fox
7. ChrisBrownlie
6. Graeme Roberts
5. Simon Roberts
4. Kieran Maisonnet
3. Richard Gill (Capt)
2. Jack Weedon
1. Adam Connolly

Subs Dan O'Connor, Steve Baraniak, Stu Williams

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Midlands 2 East (North) results

Matlock
32
13

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. West Bridgford 5 22
2. Coalville 5 22
3. Matlock 5 19
4. Newark 5 17
5. Nottingham Casuals 5 15
6. Dronfield 5 14
7. Ashbourne 5 12

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