Victory built on solid defence!
By Dan Preece
East Retford 1st XV 17 Pts
Chesterfield 1st XV 0 Pts
The 1st team this week produced their finest defensive display of the season to maintain a seven point gap at the top of the league. Playing with the wind in the first half, Retford dominated early territory but came away without points. This was until Dave Howard made a trademark run to beat a number of forwards to open the scoring, converted by Dan Preece.
Credit to Chesterfield for their relentless and structured attacking play, but Retford held strong time and time again. The first half defence was led well by Ed Bailey Hobbs, who was strong in contact. Having very little possession Retford had to be clinical. From their own half, quick possession and then great handling down the backline saw the ball reach Dan Preece who drew his man well, to release winger Dan Lodge down the touchline. He sprinted 30 metres, bouncing off and evading tacklers well, to go in at the corner. 12-0 at half time.
Knowing it would be difficult playing into the wind, Retford braced themselves for a gruelling second half. Both the backs and forwards were very brave in defence. Stand out defenders were Simon Philips and youngster Ryan Mellins, who as always used great power and technique in the tackle.
Will Wilkinson also made a huge impact off the bench on his return to the side, stopping a number in their stride with some huge hits. Retford’s teamwork and resilience was optimised by the 20 minutes spent defending their own try line, not to concede a try, saved by the last ditch effort of Howard’s right boot.
Putting bodies on the line meant Retford came away without conceding, despite two yellow cards. Retford finished the game in style. After 30 minutes with their backs against the wall, great handling meant the ball found its way to Josh Nicklin who burst from inside the 22, to go on and draw his man and release Josh Freeman who ran 50 metres down the wing to score, a sublime counter attacking try.
Man of the match this week was Dan Lodge for his excellent attacking and defensive display on the wing.