Novos second string proved to be too good for Division 3 side Prudhoe and Stocksfield 1sts, running out comfortable winners with a display of good running rugby.
With Novos 1st team putting their feet up (And I can assure you that they were!) A genuine Novos 2nd team took the field on Saturday against Division 3 promotion chasers Prudhoe & Stocksfield. The large squad named soon dissipated on Saturday morning forcing Novos head coach Rob Jones into a bench appearance as well as taking the rare opportunity to cast an eye over some players hoping to force their way into his plans for the 1st team for their upcoming fixtures.
The game kicked off and Novos were immediately on the front foot, Sam Dixon
recovering the kick off and quick ball for the backs showed they would be able to exploit space with both Chris Donabie
and Mark Cooper
making breaks. Prudhoe defended well and stopped Novos short of making a dream start with opportunities for Thomas Armitage and Matty Bradford going begging early doors.
The crowd didn’t have to wait long for Novos opening try a break from Alex Hind
was off loaded to Ed Yuill, the veteran made good yards before offloading to Liam Savage
who passed out of contact for Alex Hind
to crash over, Jason Mcdermott adding the extra 2 points.
Within minutes Novos scored again, James Bass
showing good footballing skills to seize on a dropped pass from Prudhoe and chip through, winning his own chase to ground the ball out wide, again Jason Mcdermott adding the extras. Thomas Armitage picked up a leg injury in the build up and was replaced by Hooker Ben Walker
on the wing, much to his delight and everyone else’s dismay!!
At 14 – nil down within 15 minutes a shell shocked Prudhoe began to fight back, they reverted to keeping it tight with their number ten opting to crash the ball up rather than kick possession away, It was a tactic that was starting to pay dividends as they made progress up the field into Novos half. Craig Patterson hit a crunching tackle in midfield allowing scavenger Liam Savage
in to steal the ball, a determined run from James Forbes
set up a ruck on half way and Number 9 Jason Mcdermott got himself in a right tangle, and couldn’t get his pass away to Chris Fife
to set his backs away – his response though was classic, spinning out of a tackle and turning he broke blind beating the near side defence before putting on the after burners, beating the full back to score, adding the extra 2 points provided the proverbial cherry on the top. In the earlier tackle Craig Patterson injured his ribs and he was replaced by old hand Dave Addison. Craig making his first 2nd team appearance following some good reviews on his 3rd team efforts – he did his claims for a 2nd team shirt no harm at all before his debut was cut short.
Prudhoe’s coach was heard to say ‘another good score for Novos 1st team’ – slightly disappointing, once again to reiterate this was our genuine 2nd team (In fact if anything we were missing a few 2s regulars as well) unlike, many other clubs we don’t load our sides at Novos.
Novos closed out the half with a try for flying cube winger Ben Walker
, A strong break from Martin Blight set up play on the Prudhoe 22 and Chris Fife
set the backs away and great hands from Chris Donabie
, Mark Cooper
and Matty Bradford set Ben away to score from 20 yards. Jason Mcdermott couldn’t keep his 100% kicking record intact though and Novos went into half time 26 – 0 ahead.
Novos knew they would be in for a harder 2nd half – a strong wind meant Prudhoe were likely to kick and with an effective short driving game were likely to be dangerous especially if they scored early – the game was far from won!
Sure enough Prudhoe started the 2nd half strongly, their number 10 was full of bravery as he took a lot of crash ball himself, Novos were disciplined in defence and soaked up the pressure whilst always fancying themselves when the ball went wide to score from distance (Kicking into the wind was a none starter!)
Prudhoe’s pressure looked to have come to nothing when the excellent Liam Savage
again scrambled a loose ball and Novos broke, with a try looking on the cards, The Prudhoe centre stole in and intercepted and scored a try that in fairness their effort and industry deserved.
Novos then stepped up a gear A scintillating break from the impressive youngster Alex Hind
created space and a move that saw both Addison brothers, James Forbes
and Eddy Yuill handle the ball space was made for Cooper to exploit and find Sam Dixon
in support for the young 2nd row to sprint away and score – Jason Mcdermott again added 2 points with the boot.
Micheal Williams got on the field replacing Martin Blight and there was a big cheer for Rob Jones as he stepped in on the wing for Williams seconds later as a blood replacement, with Ben Walker
into the back row.
Micheal eventually rejoined the action but Alex Hind
was given a rest after his lung busting afternoon leaving Rob Jones on the wing, even though he looked like he needed the rest more!!
With the game heading toward its conclusion Novos scored for the 6th and final time, Chris Fife
throwing a wild dummy to break before finding Chris Donabie
who passed to Mark Cooper
to race away and finish the game and Jason Mcdermott took his personal haul to 15 points by adding another conversion.
This was a decent performance from Novos against a good side, it could have been better, Novos got a bit of white line fever at times and didn’t always make best use of the amount of possession they had but to win so comfortably against a first team gunning for promotion into a league our firsts may yet occupy next season was a good preparation for the River Aln league run in where Novos have title aspirations of there own.
Those title aspirations are next tested away to 2nd placed Gateshead on 4th February in the next league game with the 2s hoping to fit another cheeky friendly in before then.
Final score 40 – 7 and Man of the match was Alex Hind
who just about edged it from Mark Cooper
, Jason Mcdermott and Liam Savage
who were all in fine form!