Novocastrians 36 Acklam 33
By Mark Collins
Acklam are beaten but an exciting late comeback earns them bonus points
Although Acklam were beaten 36 - 33 by Novocastrians they staged an exciting late comeback to earn two bonus points.
As usual Acklam started the game quickly - after two minutes winger Josh Abraham
made a good break and the ball was moved back left for opposite wing Tom Hughes
to outpace the cover defence and score. In very windy conditions the conversion was well kicked by stand off Marcus Sudron
, unusually with a drop goal.
The visitors ' early lead didn't last long, however. After Acklam conceded a couple of penalties Novos got the equalising try after a driving maul. Acklam were a bit unlucky to concede the next try - they were on the attack but a loose pass went to ground in midfield, Novos won the ball at the ruck and broke away to score.
Acklam soon came back when Novos knocked on from the restart and were then penalised at the breakdown. Acklam kicked to touch and from the lineout and driving maul scrum half Alex Faint
picked up to go over. Another excellent conversion by Sudron evened up the score at 14 all. Then after a see saw first 20 minutes the rest of the half was disastrous for Acklam. Novos drove over from a line out to score then on the half hour Acklam front row Jordan Rae
was sin binned for a no arms tackle. Novos took full advantage to score two more unconverted tries to give them a commanding 29 - 14 lead at the break.
Things got worse for Acklam shortly after the second half restart - they were on the attack but knocked on and from the resulting scrum deep in Novos ' half their stand off chipped over Acklam's backline and the ball was regathered to enable the home side to score another breakaway try.
Acklam were now 36 - 14 down and a heavy defeat looked on the cards. But to their great credit the visitors fought hard to stay in the game. After a spell of Acklam pressure a Novos player received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle. Shortly afterwards Acklam full back Brad Gater made a great run and after he was stopped just short of the Novos line prop Jamie Bowtell-Potter burrowed his way over from the ruck.
With just over 10 minutes to go Acklam saw the opportunity to get something out of the game. They were soon on the attack again and from a scrum Sudron broke through to score Acklam's fourth try to give them a bonus point. Acklam were after more though and after second row Paddy O'Brien was stopped in midfield the ball went wide and Sudron made a great run, beating several players to score under the posts. His conversion meant Acklam were now only 3 points behind at 36-33, with a losing bonus point also in their grasp. There was still time for the restart and Acklam looked to run in search of what would have been a remarkable victory. However, they were caught in their own 22 and penalised. Novos kicked for touch to end the game and ended up relieved to come out on top. Acklam's stirring late comeback had earned them two bonus points.
Updated 13:03 - 14 Oct 2018 by Paul I'Anson