Following the deluge around the country on Saturday, it was a great relief to see the sun shining at Welbeck College and a firm pitch for the second Super Sunday matches.
After their successful outing against Staffs. two weeks before, the Squad were excited about matching themselves against the Warwicks. team and they started the game in great style.
Receiving the kick-off, the NLD side showed great composure and patience, moving the ball forward in phase play and finally crashing over the line to score after barely two minutes of play.
The restart by Warwicks. was gathered and returned in much the same manner and the first twenty minutes of the game followed a very similar pattern. With NLD playing a controlled off-loading game, the Warwicks. side found it increasingly difficult to gain any momentum and any forward progress was met with strong and determined defending across the field.
Within the first twenty five minutes, NLD had racked up four tries without a reply from the Warwicks. side and were cruising to an easy win. However, as is often the case, complacency crept into the play and Warwicks. made determined efforts to find inroads into NLD territory with some strong running through the Centres and from Full Back, and the lack of con
centration finally told, when the Warwicks. boys scored a well-deserved converted try right on half time.
With the compulsory changes being made at half time, NLD looked significantly less cohesive during the early part of the second half. Although they remained in control, Warwicks. began to assert some dominance in the break down and ran in a couple of tries with the NLD defence is some disarray. Time to regroup.
After a group huddle and strong words from the players to each other, the team began to re-establish the patterns and shapes from the first half and, again, concentrated on playing sensible rugby with close support and an off-loading game which one of the selectors noted was very hard to defend against.
In the end, NLD ran out winners at 42-22 and a number of players once again impressed and will have to cross their fingers that their efforts are rewarded in the grading.
From a purist’s point of view, the expansive but controlled running game played by NLD in the first quarter was outstanding and demonstrated that, with everyone involved, the whole squad was integral to the success enjoyed on the day.
The Squad have now scored over 80 points in the two Super Sunday games and yet the players wer
e astute enough to point out themselves the areas where they believe there is still room for improvement. Identifying those areas and working hard to correct the small inconsistencies has created a great environment for what Representative rugby is all about – player development.
NLD now have a Christmas break and the final Super Sunday will take place at Loughborough University on the AGP facility with the team playing East Mids. in the final game at 15:00.
Well done to everyone who has contributed so far – the togetherness of the Squad and their willingness to work for each other has been instrumental in providing a platform for individuals to shine upon. That just goes to show what real teamwork can produce!
Best wishes to all players, parents, supporters and Coaches for a great Christmas and a successful New Year!