Morpeth dominate but Novos hold on for hard-won victory
Novos U15’s, back to near full strength, produced a disciplined and determined performance to secure victory in a close encounter at Morpeth in the County Cup.
The first few minutes set the pattern for the rest of the game, with the home side dominating possession and territory, but with Novos defence holding firm. It took 4 minutes for Novos to get into the home side’s half when a penalty for not rolling away gave the visitors a line out on 10m. Novos forwards did enough at the line-out to allow Dan to secure the ball, then Rory and Liam C moved the ball to Sean, whose step broke the line and set up Liam M to score under the posts. Liam C converted.
Novos almost messed up the restart, but Will B tidied up and made ground to allow Liam C to clear upfield. The Morpeth full back returned a strong kick parallel to the right touchline; Olly took it after an initial fumble on Novos’ 10m line, then ran straight and stepped through several tackles for a fine individual try. Liam C converted.
Morpeth kept up their pressure and after 10 minutes looked certain to score when they elected for a scrum from a penalty 10m out. But just short of the line the final pass went astray and Novos were able to clear.
The next 15 minutes were dominated by Morpeth and after 25 minutes a high kick ahead from the home side’s fly half left Liam M isolated on his own try line leading to a turn over and Morpeth’s first try. Novos held on for the rest of the half to lead 7-14 at the break.
In the second half Morpeth again dominated possession and territory, but could not convert into points. After 37 minutes, scrambling defence by Novos held up a Morpeth drive on the line, with a repetition three minutes later.
With Novos able to replace two of their forwards, Morpeth switched the focus of their attack to their backs, and twice looked certain to score, but on each occasion failed to take advantage of an overlap on the right.
With the game reaching its final minutes, Morpeth eventually broke through; after camping on the Novos line, they drew in an extra defender before working the ball left to score. But the conversion drifted wide leaving Novos with two minutes to defend their slender lead.
When Novos kicked away possession in attack, Morpeth sensed an opportunity on the left, but were just bundled into touch on half way. Novos secured the line out and Mitchell made some ground before passing to Angus who saw Morpeth’s backs out of position and scored another fine individual try on the right with the final move of the game.
Tries Liam M (4’), Olly (6’), Angus (60’).
Conversions Liam C (4’, 6’).
Novos Olly; Kieran, Sean, Angus, Liam M; Liam C, Rory; Anis, Anth, Dan, Will B, Joe C, Alex T, Bryn, Niall.
Replacements Mitchell (for Bryn), Peter (for Olly), Jack (for Dan), Oscar (for Joe C), Matthew (for Rory), Joe D (for Kieran), Bradley, Ryan, James, Luke, Kavindra, Jonny, Mauro.