Sunday 23rd February, played at Leicester Forest RFC
Well due to the floods and incessant rain over February a small part of Leicestershire was claimed by NLD for our “Home” fixture. Our hosts for the day could not be faulted from organising changing rooms to the food and hospitality post match. And to quote the Club what a great game of rugby.
Watching the video of the match back I was amazed at how much time passed before the first score by Leics, the game ebbed and flowed from end to end and some amazing tackles were put in by both sides. Leics broke the deadlock with a their forwards pealing off a ruck only to be stopped first time, but quick ball saw their second effort take them over almost under the posts making the conversion easy for their kicker. Not to be outdone NLD tore into Leics from the restart and almost scored but knocked close to the line. From the resulting scrum Leics passed the ball down their backs instead of kicking clear and NLD pounced on a loose pass kicking through for our 12 to score an unconverted try. With nothing left of the half NLD gave a penalty away in midfield and quick thinking from Leics saw they run the ball and with some great handling and interplay between forwards and backs scored out wide on the right hand side. Conversion missed saw the half-time score at 5-12
The second half saw no change in the way the game was played with both sides playing good attacking rugby and defensively showing why they represent their Counties. NLD finally got back into the game with a penalty kicked to corner, and from a scrappy line out the NLD 8 somehow got through the resulting ruck and scored, but conversion missed from out wide. 10-12
The game seemed destined to end in a tight loss for NLD, but the NLD 4 pinched a Leics line out and this seemed to rejuvenate the NLD pack, retaining the ball NLD worked their way up field and our No 3 picked a tight line taking the ball off our 9 and breaking deep in the Leics half, a penalty at the breakdown saw NLD kick for the corner, but unable to gather clean ball for a catch and drive the ball was spun into midfield and Leics were caught off side in front of the posts. With great captaincy the decision was taken on the field to go for posts and our 21 stepped up with the clock ticking down and slotted over. The final whistle went and against all odds NLD came away with a hard fought victory.
This brings the NLD U16s program to a close not just for this season but for the future as Leicester Tigers take over the program from next year. On behalf of the coaches a big thank you to all the players involved and the parents for all those evenings driving to training at Scunthorpe who kindly let us use their training ground.
Its been a wonderful season with NLD winning all three of their fixtures, something not done for while.