U14s Ilkeston 42 - Melbourne Gold 10
By Alistair McVicar
With Melbourne U14s splitting the sides between Syston and Ilkeston we knew it would be a tough weekend! After a long day at Twickenham on Saturday, it was clear some coaches and parents would be as useful as a Candle in the Wind. To clear up a couple of points before we start, Jim forgot the water bottles, Finn forgot his boots, there was a lot of excitement of playing on the 1st team pitch and I'm still standing!
Last season saw Melbourne win both fixtures against Ilkeston, but after our secret agent James Bond Williams, had found out that Ilkeston had signed a few new players, some of who were not Tiny dancers and Melbourne had recruited 12 new players this season, it was going to be an interesting morning.
Ilkeston had the slight slope and the KO to start, Melbourne received, then lost the ball - I guess that’s why they call It the blues. Ilkeston gave the ball to their big, fast No 22 (one of the new signings) to run the length of the pitch, you did not need to have a pair of Elton John's glasses to see that no tackling today would result in a long day at the office for Melbourne. 7-0.
Melbourne KO, the boys showed some desperate defending and a lot heart, which would be needed more than Sad Songs for this game and Ruben put his body on the line to get underneath an Ilkeston try bound ball, the referee awarded it, unbiased consultation from linesman Alistair, who pointed out it was held up, the referee overturned his decision and awarded a 5m scrum. Unlike in the Golds game at Syston, the use of technology was not available, Paul Steno was still looking at which end of his camera to use, following his day out watching the mighty Japan.
Ilkeston would go on to score 2 quick tries and Melbourne would see themselves 21-0, arguing, blaming and no one could Feel the Love Tonight, Melbourne would need some magic, and from no where Joe North was like a Rocket Man from defence and took an interception and Melbourne were on the score sheet, 21-5.
A couple of penalties would see Melbourne in the corner before half time and a good call from Fraser Blue Eyes and the forwards to drive over was inches short and double movement by Kelly, with his healing hands, on the line would see an end to the half.
A few words from the coaches at half time, explaining some Circles of Life and You Just Can't Wait to Be King, you need to go out there and prove yourselves would see Melbourne play some more good rugby, only to concede a breakaway try and go down to another try, 28-5.
Melbourne would go on to concede 2 more tries and be 42-5 down which is rugby and on another day could have been closer, the spirit of the team did not fold and they would go on to be rewarded with a try by Hew who had a good game at 2nd row. Final score was 42-10.
The one thing which this Melbourne squad does not know is when it is down and out, the boys played with more fire and aggression in the 2nd half and the experience will make them into a better team, like the John Lewis advert, you have to start with a piano in your front room before you become a superstar.
Special mentions to most of the boys, Joe Brunt played very well at centre with Ethan, Ben at full back did several try saving tackles to keep Melbourne in the game, in his 2nd game for the team Henry showed some real signs of being a good player and all of the forwards did very well, a special mention and man of the match went to Kelly Bartholomew who cover all areas of a very big pitch.
A big thank you to Ilkeston club and coaches, who understand the rugby ethos and a very good team.