East Retford taken to the 80th minute to earn new year win!
By Dan Preece
East Retford 31
East Retford travelled to rivals Ollerton knowing full well a stern test awaited in what was a very physical but fast game of rugby. Ollerton made the better start crossing the line 8 minutes in after sloppy Retford defence. A further Ollerton try followed, the home side pouncing on Retford’s poor accuracy. Ollerton continued to win ruck ball, earning themselves a close-range penalty, taking a 15-0 lead 25 minutes in. The ever-reliable Dave Howard started Retford’s much needed response, making a powerful run, to then off-load to Jordan Mee, who crossed for Retford’s first converted try. Almost immediately, Simon Phillips then showed great awareness to find Will Wilkinson in space, who drove over for Retford’s second. Retford had now found their stride. The ball was passed along the line deep in their own half to find Ryan Mellins, who used his speed and then skill in timing a beautiful pass to centre partner Nicklin, who crossed for Retford’s third, converted by Preece, 15-19 to Retford at half time.
With the game in the balance, Ollerton again made the brighter start to the second half to put their winger in the corner. Nicklin was then yellow carded for a no arms tackle and with one man down and Ollerton on the front foot, the home side took 25-19 lead. Retford saw yellow a further two times which led to very challenging and nervous 20 minutes of rugby. Retford were resilient in defence with 13 men, seeing off unrelenting Ollerton attacks. Their attacking play was never in doubt however, recycling ball well and a nice inside pass to captain Preece saw him score his own converted try. Preece followed this up with a second, with yet more great teamwork providing space for him to score out wide, the score 31-25 with 5 minutes to play. Ollerton were not to give in and Retford worked tirelessly to see out the game in final moments to secure the win. Preece was this week’s forwards MOM for his crucial contribution in the closing moments. Ben Wilson the back’s MOM for his control at fly half.