U14's back on track
By Ian Stenson
Rushden U14's were back to winning ways with a fine win away at Towcester
Rushden travelled to Towcester expecting a tough encounter and they weren’t disappointed.
With Freddie nursing a broken collar bone from skiing and Tana still side-lined by a growing injury the team wasn’t at full strength. However, the development the boys have shown this season you wouldn’t have known it.
Kyle J moved into the number 8 shirt allowing James N to partner Kyle S in the second row. In the backs Jake reverted to fly half and Matt came in for Elliott C on the left wing.
Having not played a competitive game since Feb 10th the boys were slow out the blocks and allowed Towcester to dominate them for the first 8 minutes. The work Rushden had done at training on the tackle certainly showed as time and again the Towcester players were repelled as they pushed hard for the opening score.
On 7 minutes the lively Towcester right winger got away from his would-be tackler and headed for the try line. Th ever dependable Lewis M made a fine cover tackle but couldn’t stop Towcester winning quick ruck ball. Towcester forwards could sense a try was looming and did their best to crash through the Rushden defence. James N, Kyle J, Kyle S Max H and Sam W defended excellently and stopped several Towcester charges. Elliott F, who had a fine game, was to be Rushden saviour though, with a big shot on the Towcester 2nd row forced him to knock on. From the ensuing scrum Rushden cleared their lines and escaped 9 minutes of pressure with no scores.
Rushden, had now woken up and with a change of emphasis at the break down it was their turn to start controlling the game. Max H, Kyle J and Kyle S started to carry the ball allowing Jake and Aiden to get front foot ball. With a bit more space it wouldn’t be long before Arron would be able to use his pace and power. Unfortunately, he left his hands at home and dropped or missed all the passes given to him. Even his normally supportive brother was critical of his handling……
As one man struggled another was starting to excel, enter Lewis M. A couple of weeks off hadn’t put Lewis of his rather long stride. His running style and pace were a constant threat to Towcester, which made up for Arron having a bad day.
10 minutes in and Rushden were starting to turn the screw and it was there turn to look for the first try. The forwards were getting the upper hand in the set piece, which allowed the back row to start carrying the ball more and suck in the Towcester defence and create space out wide.
The first try came from just this set play. The forwards took it on and sucked in the defence, Aiden carried hard into the Towcester midfield. The ball was transferred to the half backs who fed Arron, who dropped the ball!! Thankfully, the ball went backwards to Lewis M, his speed off the mark saw him accelerate away from the covering Towcester defence to score a well-deserved try. Unfortunately, the conversion was missed 5 – 0
Although Rushden were controlling the game the break down was a mess with both sides guilty of slowing down ball or entering at the side. To improve this Jack was replaced at flanker by winger Elliott C. The hope was that Elliott’s speed to the break down would help secure second phase ball.
The remainder of the half saw both sides come close to scoring but for the last pass to be knocked on or dropped, as the weather conditions started to play its part. That said, both sides played some excellent rugby in both attack and defence.
On 17 minutes Rushden had a scrum in the centre of the park, like most sides the 8, 9, 15, 14 move was called. This move is normally called about 10 times in a match and never works, as someone will delay the pass, run the wrong line or the forwards will lose the ball.
However, on this occasion it worked like clockwork……
Jake ran a dummy line to draw in the 9, Kyle J picked and fed Jamie whose early pass was collected by the galloping Lewis M. Lewis handed off the winger to create a two on one with the covering full back. His pass was delayed perfectly to allow Callum to race on to it and score a very well executed try.
Conversion missed 10 – 0
Half Time – Euan swaps for Sam W
The second half was much the same as the first half with both teams trying hard to create opportunities but failing at the last hurdle.
Upfront Rushden were now very much in control with Kyle S, Kyle J, Max and Elliott F making numerous charging runs. Elliott C was enjoying being closer to the action and made 4 or 5 strong tackles to thwart the Towcester charge. James N had the best game he has had in a year and reminded the coaches of what he can offer, if he is in the right frame of mind.
They say you can’t keep a good man down and on 35 minutes Arron showed just why he has amassed 37 tries this season. Aiden took the ball into the midfield and off loaded to Kyle S who burst through several tackles before being dragged down. Jamie went blind from the following ruck and fed Arron on the half way line. His speed took him past the winger and then his strength saw him bounce off the 15 and covering winger to score a great try under the posts.
For good measure he slotted home the conversion 17 – 0
The forwards had worked man fully all morning and were starting to tire, so fresh legs were summoned from the bench. Lewis H replaced Alfie at prop and Finlay replaced James N in the 2nd row. The changes gave the forwards a new lease of life, in particular Kyle S. Whilst he had been impressive so far in both attack and defence it seemed like there were two of him on the pitch in the last 15 minutes, he was everywhere
Rushden attacked through the midfield again through Aiden, who set up a ruck. Elliot C charged on to the ball, then Elliott F picked up from the ruck to keep Rushden moving forward. As the ball was moved to the backs the Towcester back line rushed Jake to stop him moving it on. At the start of the season he would have panicked and knocked the ball on, not now. He calmly, pulled the ball back to Callum who was coming around the corner and allowed Rushden to set up an attacking ruck 10 meters out. By now the Towcester defence was in disarray and seeing a gap Jamie popped a lovely pass to Kyle S to crash his way over from 10 meters out.
Arron missed a difficult conversion. 22 – 0
As the game moved into the final 10 minutes Ryan replaced Jamie at 9 allowing Rushden to use all the players on the bench.
Towcester did score a consolation try on 45 minutes following a fine passage of play by them, the conversion was pushed wide.
Full time 22 – 5 to Rushden
MOM Kyle S