COMPREHENSIVE VICTORY FOR 1ST XV
By Dan Preece
East Retford 1st XV 57
Amber Valley 1st XV 6
Retford eventually settled after a frantic and scrappy start to the game, to build attacking phases and set up centre Mikey Phillips to open the scoring. A Valley penalty made it 5-3 but Retford soon responded with good all-round forward play, allowing Ed Driver to make a trade mark line break, offloading to Dave Howard in support, putting the ever-present Jordan Mee in for the second, converted by Preece. It was then sharp work at the breakdown, led by Simon Phillips, that allowed quick turnover ball to be spread to Mikey Phillips who blitzed through for his second. Valley’s only response was through a second penalty and with the score at 17-6, Retford began to dominate. Front row Helliwell, Dove and Palmer were powerful in every scrum which set a platform for Howard to attack from number 8, only to be tackled a metre short. Scrum half Rob Purdew was quick to react and snipe from the ruck and dive over to score. 24-6 to Retford at half time.
Retford maintained the pressure throughout the second half and were unlucky to be help up over the line. Dan Fielding made a big impact of the bench to score a deserved try on his return, which was soon followed by Simon Palmer’s try, who hit a strong line, well converted by captain Preece. Further constructive rugby from Retford saw them start to turn defence into attack with quick ruck ball and powerful tackling led by Ed Bailey-Hobbs at the lineout. Dan Lodge this time finished strong attacking play by beating two defenders to score from out wide. The last 10 minutes belonged to winger Josh Freeman who expertly converted the final two tries from either touchline, and also scored two tries of his own, using speed, a great sidestep and powerful hand off to beat his opposite man twice. Full credit to Amber Valley for their own resilient performance. Man of the Match this week was Simon Phillips for a fine display at openside flanker. Plenty to improve but Retford remain full of confidence as they visit in form Boston next week.