Novos stage second half recovery but Alnwick hold on.
Despite missing five regular starters, losing three players to injury and lending a player to the opposition, Novos U15’s demonstrated the size and depth of their squad with an excellent performance away at Alnwick.
The absentees missed an entertaining and very close game in which Novos staged a strong second half recovery and were unlucky not to seize victory at the end.
The home side began strongly with their back row making some strong runs. Novos tackling improved and after 4 minutes the visitors were awarded a penalty on their own 10m line with a chance to get into Alnwick’s half. But the penalty failed to find touch on Novos’ left and Alnwick quickly moved the ball across the field, slipped some poor Novos tackling and scored to the left of the posts.
A heavy defeat looked possible, but Novos’ forwards began to come to terms with Alnwick’s back row and the game became more even. After 15 minutes Novos forwards secured their own scrum on their 10m line, the ball was moved quickly to left wing Kavindra, who made 30m, beating two defenders before being brought down 15m from the line. Full back Peter was the first in support and recycled the ball for Matthew who popped up on the left wing to score.
Novos could not prevent Alnwick’s second try after 25 minutes when the number 8 bundled over after a 5m scrum. As the half finished, Olly, on at full back for Peter who was covering for the injured Rory, was unable to touch the ball down in the Novos in-goal area after chasing down a speculative punt from half way by Alnwick, and the home winger gratefully seized the chance for a score.
Novos made several changes at half time but were still under pressure and needed Kieran to make two try saving tackles in succession to prevent Alnwick’s fourth try after 2 minutes. After 3 minutes Novos won their first scrum against the head and set up a break which led to a penalty on Alnwick’s 22. A quick tap from Peter to Matthew found Sean at inside centre whose side step broke the line and created space for Joe D to score under the posts. Peter converted.
Trailing 17-12 Novos were back in the game. Pushing a rare Alnwick attack into touch after 11 minutes, Novos looked to have averted danger, but they lost their own line out on 5m and Alnwick used their forward strength to score.
After 19 minutes, Will S, on the left wing, broke from half way and scored in the corner after a fine run. The referee signalled a try, but the touch judge indicated that the winger’s foot was in touch and the referee reversed his decision to expunge the try from the record.
But Novos heads did not drop and, now the stronger side, were awarded a penalty on Alnwick’s 22. Sean completed a good morning’s work with a direct run to the line. Matthew converted to reduce the deficit to three points.
Novos pushed for a victory, but with a penalty on Alnwick’s 22 with (as it turned out) the last play of the game, Joe, at scrum half, just failed to find Kieran with a tapped penalty and the knock-on denied Novos the chance to grab a last minute win.
Tries Matthew (15’), Joe D (33’), Sean (51’).
Conversions Peter (33’), Matthew (51’).
Novos Peter; Jonny, Joe D, Sean, Kavindra; Matthew, Rory; Jack, Luke, Dan, Oscar, Ryan, Alex T, James, Niall.
Replacements Mitchell (for James), Olly (for Rory), Ant (for Luke), Anis (for Dan),Will B (for Ryan), Joe C (for Alex T), Will S (for Kavindra), Kieran (for Jonny).