U14s lose away at Ilkeston
By Stuart Grantham
A great display of team determination at the end of a challenging match
The day started with a few downpours leading everyone to believe that this would be a error strewn match played in the mud. Surprisingly, the clouds cleared, the sun shone and, if it wasn't for the cold wind whipping across the pitch, it would have been the perfect rugby day. Unfortunately, we also lost a couple of players to prior day sporting injuries with both Nathan and Rouwan unable to play. However, to compensate, we were able to welcome Raphael back for his first game this season as well as Owen who made his debut for the club (after an active recruitment campaign by Nathan and Tom).
Before any of the matches started, Moderns u14s, u12s, u11s and u10s joined their opposing teams at Ilkeston to pay respect to our service men and women and recognise two minutes' silence for Remberance Sunday.
Onto the game - recognising the wind was blowing strongly from East to West, we decided to play into the wind in the first half. As a result, Harry launched the ball towards Ilkeston to start the game. With a decent chase from Moderns, pressure was applied to Ilkeston, eventually forcing a knock on and the first scrum of the day. Henri got the ball in and out quickly to Harry who got it into Tom and Billy in the midfield. Unfortunately, the ball was spilt and Ilkeston got the ball to one of Ilkeston's off season recruits from Moderns, Jake, who broke through the middle to score Ilkeston's first try. Ilkeston hit the post for the conversion, so 5-0 to Ilkeston.
From the kick off, Ilkeston drove the ball through the centre and, after two or three phases, gradually worked their way up to Moderns' try line. Whilst Moderns worked hard defending the try line, eventually the defence was broken with an Ilkeston forward going through under the posts. Try converted and the score was 12-0.
With Billy's knee playing up, Owen came onto the field and quickly got involved tackling one of his schoolmates in the midfield. Some strong pressure from Moderns forced a knock on. Once again, a quick ball in and out of the scrum with Conner picking up at no8 got Moderns moving forward toward Ilkeston's 22. Some quick drives from Leo and Finn, combined with a few balls out to Harry and Tom got the ball down to within metres of the Ilkeston try line. Unfortunately, one of their players came through the ruck to take the ball and, with a couple of passes (plus a couple of missed first tackles), Ilkeston got the ball to Jake who ran in from about half way. With the try converted, the score was 19-0.
During the next phase of play, Moderns were able to turn over Ilkeston's possession with some strong counter rucking. With quick ball out to Conner, he stretched his legs and, handing off a couple of defenders, he scored to the left hand side of the posts. Leo lined up the conversion, but the ball held up in the wind. Ilkeston 19, Moderns 5.
Moderns received the ball and moved it up field to around Ilkeston's 22, but a lost ball found its way again to Jake's hands and, as Moderns struggled to switch from attack to defence, he broke a couple of tackles to score another try which was converted - Ilkeston 26, Moderns 5.
From the restart, Moderns' pressure created a knock on and a Moderns' scrum, but, unfortunately, a strong push from Ilkeston as the ball went into the scrum resulted in turnover ball. With a couple of runners in the midfield and some strong play from the forwards, Ilkeston got within 10 metres of the line before Conner was penalised for going off his feet. Ilkeston tapped the ball, but Moderns came of the line quickly with Thomas and Leo driving Ilkeston back. Unfortunately an offside call gave Ilkeston another penalty. Again, Moderns were quick off the line, but, with the tackles going a little high, one of the Ilkeston forwards drove through to score under the posts. With the conversion, it was 33-5 to Ilkeston.
With a converted try in the final play of the half, Ilkeston went into the break leading by 40-5.
In the second half, Moderns would have the benefit of the wind as well as the kick off to restart the game. The kick off ball was well taken in the centre of the field by Wynn who had a quick dart of about 5 metres. Henri got the ball out of the ruck to Conner who made a break on the left before passing the ball to Raphael on the left wing. After a gain of 10 metres, Raphael was tackled and the ball was passed through Harry and Tom to Owen who made a good run through the middle before Henri passed the ball to Ben for a run up the right hand side. With the last player managing to tackle Ben, the ball was eventually lost in the counter ruck, ending Moderns best sequence of team play in the game so far.
After a series of drives and runs from the back, Ilkeston knocked the ball on around midway, resulting in a scrum to Moderns. Whilst Moderns' pressure had resulted in a number of knock ons, Ilkeston were pushing hard in the scrum, leading to a number of lost scrums. In this instance, a slightly early push from Ilkeston ended up with Georgie having to go off with a sore shoulder and Finn hobbling away from the scrum. This forced a switch to uncontested scrums. With Conner picking up from the base of the scrum, the ball got to Tom in the middle of the field. With Ilkeston failing to roll away in the tackle, Moderns had a penalty which Harry kicked towards touch. Unfortunately, the ball went straight into the hands of Morgan, another ex Moderns player, who got the ball to Jake who had moved into the centre. Breaking two tackles, Jake got behind the Moderns' defence and, in spite of a valiant chase by Ben, scored another try. Ilkeston 45, Moderns 5
With another two tries (one of which was another turnover when Moderns were 10m from Ilkeston's try line) and a conversion, Ilkeston were more than 50 points ahead. As a result, the Moderns players were offered the chance to concede the match or play the final 10 minutes. Whilst the game was ultimately lost, all the Moderns players decided that they would rather finish the game, rather than give up at this point.
From the restart, Ilkeston knocked the ball on, giving Moderns a scrum about 15 metres into Ilkeston's half. From the scrum, Conner picked the ball up and ran straight at the Ilkeston defence. Breaking the first two tackles, he dived under a final tackle to score to the right of the posts. Leo stepped up for the conversion, but the ball fell just short and to the right. Ilkeston 57, Moderns 10.
With the wind against Ilkeston, the restart didn't make it 10m, so Tom elected for a Moderns scrum on the centre line. In a repeat of the previous scrum, Conner picked up the ball from the base of the scrum and, having handed off the first two tacklers, passed it onto Raphael. As Raphael was tackled to ground, Conner picked up the ball off the ground and broke through a couple of attempted tackles before scoring a final try under the posts. Harry went for the conversion, but a scuffed kick ended up with the ball under, rather than over, the posts.
Final score: Ilkeston 57, Moderns 15
Whilst it was a difficult game with three tries scored against Moderns from turnover ball when they were within scoring distance of Ilkeston's try line, Moderns never gave up and, with the decision to see the game through to the final whistle, the boys ended up winning the final 10 minutes by 10 points to 0.
Well done boys - let's keep developing ahead of our NLD Shield second round match against Market Rasen on Sun 16 Dec