NLD U17s vs Staffordshire 24 May 2023
This season’s NLD U17s final game of the season saw Staffordshire the visitors to Newark RFC for a midweek match on a sunny Wednesday evening.
Staffordshire kicked off putting NLD deep into their own half but gradually the hosts made ground forcing errors and penalties for the front foot pressure. A good kick to the corner by Oli Anderson saw the forwards set up a lineout move five metres out and a super front peel ball saw Joe Bunting score the opening try with Harley Matts adding the extra two points (7-0). With NLD on the front foot a Staffordshire kick was collected by Will Day on the wing and his break found the supporting forwards secure quick ruck ball where Oli Parry was on hand to dive over for the second try with Harley Matts adding the conversion (14-0). As NLD boys defence stood tall, Joe Doubell stole the ball breaking down the left before quick recycled rucking saw Oli Anderson put in a Crossfield kick that was collected by Will Day whose sidestep took him away from the Staffordshire defenders to score (19-0). Staffordshire came back at the NLD boys but a combined tackle by Joe Doubell and Archie Murdock in the centre saw the ball break free to Will Day who set off from his own half dodging tackles to score a fine individual try with Harley Matts adding the extra two points taking NLD into a deserved halftime lead (26-0).
Half time NLD 26 Staffordshire 0
After a good first half NLD made 8 changes but that didn’t stop the boys continuing the quick rugby and a collected clearance kick by Staffordshire by Noah Bhatia saw him break tackles getting into the 22 before quick recycling of the ball and quick hands down the line saw Moses Ratnage dive over in the corner for the opening try of the second half (31-0). Discipline then saw the visitors gain ground through penalties and eventually Staffordshire scored their first converted try (31-7). NLD boys showed great character forcing the visitors on the back foot again and another 5m penalty saw the forwards secure good ball which gave Dom White an opening to crash over from close range with Harley Matts converting the kick (38-7). Staffordshire again came back and broke the NLD defence breaking through to score another converted try (38-14). NLD again put pressure on the visitors forcing another clearance kick which only found Lucien Leteroy who broke round to the left drawing the last defender before a long pass wide saw Oli Cross score NLD final try of the evening (43-14). Staffordshire though still continued to push forward and a penalty saw the visitors conclude the scoring with the final converted try of the game.
NLD 43 – Staffordshire 21
A great finish to the U17 season for these boys whose development over the six weeks taking on board the structure and type of play the coaches requested shows the potential these boys have with lots of positives to take into next seasons U18 programme.