NLD U17s vs Leicestershire 19 May 2023
This season’s NLD U17s took a match squad to Leicester Forest RFC to play Leicestershire on a sunny Friday night with Leicestershire opting to field two teams for the fixture.
The game was split into thirds, two 25 minute sessions and a final 20 minute run out.
Leicestershire came out of the blocks very quickly and NLD had to withstand some early pressure in the opening couple of minutes before establishing themselves as the dominant team for the remainder of the opening 25 minute session. Strong defence put Leicestershire under pressure forcing infringements and good kicks to the corner established an excellent platform that NLD secured good lineout ball, driving towards the line before NLD scrum half Harley Matts spotted an opening to dive over the line for the opening try. With the game being completely played in the Leicestershire half with fast flowing rugby by NLD, only a few handling errors let the hosts off the hook but as the first third drew to a close another lineout saw the blues drive over the line with Ted Coen touching down and Eddie Frear adding the extra two points with the conversion to give NLD a 12 points to nil advantage as the first third ended.
A fresh new Leicestershire side took to the field for the second part of the game with NLD making seven changes and the hosts forced a number of errors from the NLD boys and As Leicestershire went wide only a try saving tackle from Ollie Cross prevented the hosts from scoring. It took until the 15th minute before NLD defence was broken with Leicestershire exploiting gaps in the NLD defence breaking through to score a converted try reducing the margin to 5 points. Joe Bunting and Jacob Butler linked well from a scrum but were stopped short and penalised allowing the hosts to clear the lines to finish the third with NLD still 12-7 ahead.
A number of changes again by the hosts as NLD started to struggle under pressure from Leicestershire and from a scrum penalty out wide the hosts drew level with an unconverted try. NLD did make some good ground into Leicestershire’s half but again handling errors let them down relieving pressure. As the game came to a close, Leicestershire had a penalty kick at goal which missed to the left and NLD tried to go for the win themselves running the ball from behind their goal line only to get held up on the 22m line before Leicestershire player stole the ball from a maul and ran in unopposed for the final try and play of the game to give the hosts a 19-12 win.
Leicestershire 19 – NLD 12
A good close game where NLD will take lots of positives into the final game against Staffordshire next week as part of their development and ahead into the U18’s next season.