U14s Leicester Vipers 19 - Melbourne Gold 19
By Alistair McVicar
With Melbourne U14s only having one team out this Sunday it was a chance for the other ‘A’ team to get all of the attention. A strong squad was sent to take on Leicester Vipers, a mix of ability would see Melbourne continue to build on last seasons 2 squads, this team is no "B" team or "development team and Vipers would be a strong test for them.
The additional support of Ian Lucas, who is well travelled around the world and this time last year enjoying some California Love, would offer some expertise and in particular the advice on the 2pac's.
The Tupac's would get down to business within the first 5 minutes and a strong scrum and back move from Vipers would see Vipers lead 7-0 early on, Alistair spoke to the team and told them to Keep Ya Head Up.
Kelly was again having a strong game and after Ian had advised him to go down the blindside his response was "I Get Around" the winger and would run a strong 40 yards and put Melbourne on the front foot, some loose play would see Vipers clear their line with American football style play (they had most of the team in front of the ball when Vipers kicked the ball) and pressed Melbourne down and won a scrum, another set move would see Vipers score a try again under the posts to be 14-0.
As in previous weeks, character would see Melbourne continue to push and hip hop their way up the field and win a penalty. Joe North would kick to the corner and Derby ball would be called, again the 2pac's would go head to head and Melbourne this time would be the stronger team and pushed Vipers back to their own line, only to have another brush with the wrong side of the law book and penalty called for playing the ball on the ground was called and hip hop and brush with unlucky pen halftime.
2nd half team talk would see Jim, Ian and Alistair tell the boys All Eyez on Me, the coaches explained that this was a much better position than Derby and Ilkeston and only 2 tries down and no need to be worried.
Melbourne started strong and pushed Vipers back, they kicked the ball long to Ben Stevenson at full back who run the length of the pitch to score under the posts, a great solo try and would not be the last we would see of Ben's pace and finishing. 2 additional points from Joe North and the score was 14-7.
The 2nd half would see Melbourne have a lot more possession, a penalty into the corner saw Melbourne have a great attacking position from 10m out, a tactical chat with Joe North off the pitch and Joe Lucas, a very late replacement for Harrison Jones, would go on at fly half, like his father, the only thing Joe was going to do from 10m out would be to run hard and straight and score under the post. Another great team try, good lineout, good pass from Ollie Smith to Joe, try time.
Conversion by Joe North who was back on and at fly half and both teams would be level at 14-14.
Melbourne continued to pressure and a scrambled kick would see Viper kick the ball in-between the 22 and halfway where Fraser was anticipating the kick, knowing that he would only have the pace to make it to the 22, he made the correct decision to pass to Ben at full back who would nicely finish in the corner, 19-14. Joe North was close with the conversion but just fell short.
With only minutes left on the clock Vipers got close to the Melbourne line and after the referee told Melbourne to release the player, Vipers fell over the line and scored from close range 19-19, conversion missed and last play.
Both team's Gridlock'd at 19-19 and the referee would blow up for full time, again Rugby was the winner, if only Melbourne could stop giving teams a head start and start the games as well as they finish them we would have a more enjoyable Sunday morning.....
Special mention to Finley Cribb who had a great game on the wing, in the forwards - Kelly again was leading from the front foot and Ellis and Ben T both had strong games running hard, in the backs we would see an exciting new centre partnership of Henry Hipwell and Joe Brunt created, but the Man of The Match would have to go 2 try, (not 2Pac) Ben Stevenson.
Again Vipers were great hosts and improved on last years team and we look forward to the rematch in the new year.