Leek made the long trip to Newark for last weekends game. Newark were last years under 18 National Finalists so this was set to be a tough game. Leek got off to a slow start and sustained pressure from Newark saw them take the lead. We need to continue working on our starts to games as slow starts mean playing catch up rugby.
Newark were quicker and stronger over the ball in the first quarter, and it took us till the second quarter to get our rucking game going. During the 2nd quarter Leek made some great turnovers with great jackalling by Morgan and Katie, with strong tackling around the field and great counter driving at the rucks by Leek. Newark changed tack and moved to a pick and go game in the forwards. Leek responded by strengthening our defence around the fringes.
Leek had the upper hand in the scrums with a really strong tight 5 but unfortunately were unable to turn the ball over at scrum time. Newark had the upper hand in the line outs which is definitely an area we need to practise on.
Both sets of backs tried but struggled to move the ball wide, due to the strong tackling in midfield. Both teams 15's made several try scoring tackles. That said Leek did manage to score from an interception and a break through the midfield by Holly, to score, and Kyra made some strong runs up the middle.
Leek took the lead in the second quarter but struggled to get the phased play that we work on, due to the tackling and counter rucking of Newark. The forwards, led by Millie, Maddie, Morgan, Katie, Danielle, Sammy and Lotty really started to counter ruck, securing our own ball and pushing Newark back on their ball. The backs need to work at urgently getting back into position to take advantage of the next phase, as often the backs were not in a position on 2nd and 3rd phase to take advantage of the space created or the mis-matches from the previous phase.
During the 3rd quarter Newark struck twice by attacking down the blind side from scrums. Our defence was slow to respond, but tightened up after that. Leek came back in the 4th quarter but a final score by Newark sealed the game.
Some great forward play by both sides but Newark were fitter and quicker to the rucks and more disciplined at getting back into position quickly in the backs, something we need to work on if we are to beat the strong sides.
Man of the match, nominated by Newark, was Isabel.
Tries: Holly x2, Isabel, Morgan,
Cons: Holly x 3