Team Middlesex Match Reports
Team Middlesex U23 v Navy President’s XV
|Date:||6th April 2016|
|Result:||Middlesex 23, Navy 13|
Following last season’s 24-24 points draw, Team Middlesex were looking forward to the latest game against a Navy President’s XV at Imber Court on Wednesday.
Fielding a very young side, Middlesex started brightly and enjoyed a period of sustained pressure deep in the Navy half, but were unable to translate this into points. Instead after some 15 minutes the Navy broke downfield for the first time and forced a penalty that they converted to secure a three point lead. This was increased three minutes later when a breach of the Middlesex defensive line allowed the Navy’s stand off to fire a long cut out pass to his winger who scored in the left hand corner.
With the conversion being missed, the Navy enjoyed an eight point lead, but that proved short-lived as, in quick succession, Middlesex clawed back three points from the boot of stand off Callum Nolan-Hutchinson and following good continuity work by backs and forwards, skipper Kerry Boyd went over for a try to level the match at 8-8 after 25 minutes. The remainder of the half was marked by a prolonged period of Navy pressure but good defensive work by Middlesex and a degree of white line fever by the visitors combined to leave the score unchanged at half time.
The second half opened with a period of Middlesex pressure that culminated in second row Jack Baker scoring a try in the right hand corner. Callum Nolan-Hutchinson’s successful conversion from the touchline eased Middlesex into a 15-8 lead ten minutes into the second half.
There followed a twenty minute spell in which the Navy tried unsuccessfully to break down the Middlesex defence and agonisingly for the visitors, a breakout by Middlesex led to an opportunity for replacement stand off Jason Lee to drop a goal from 30 yards and extend the home side’s lead to 18-8.
The Navy responded positively to this setback and after sustained pressure deep in the Middlesex 22, they secured a try with five minutes remaining, bringing the score back to 18-13, and leaving the game finely balanced. From the restart, Middlesex drove deep into the Navy half and won a lineout on the 22. Despite losing the throw, second row Jack Baker pounced on the Navy tap back and ran in his second try of the night in the left hand corner to secure a hard earned 23-13 win.
The game was an excellent opportunity for a sizeable number of young players new to this level to step up to the mark and they did so with confidence. “This was a really good test for the squad” said Head Coach John Lacey “It was a high tempo game, played at speed and physically challenging. We withstood long periods of pressure and took our chances when they occurred. We’ve still got lots to do to sharpen our performance, but we have lots of positives to build upon and an exciting young squad of players”.