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Kesteven Under-15s triumph over Newark in NLD Cup final

NLD Under-15 Cup

Newark 21

Kesteven 25

Kesteven Under-15s celebrate victory in the NLD Cup final at Newark.
Kesteven Under-15s celebrate victory in the NLD Cup final at Newark.

Kesteven Under-15s concluded their season in style with a brilliant win over local rivals Newark in the NLD Cup final.

At the start of the season, the team’s coaches asked an open question to the whole squad, enquiring what they wanted from the season. Unanimously they all said: “To win the NLD.”

They set about their season with this in mind and last Sunday they accomplished their goal.

Conditions could not have been better as the two teams took to the field. Support and encouragement resonated from the stands, with a small population of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, other Kesteven age grades, including the senior section, having made the short hop up the A1 to lend their voices.

Newark opened the scoring with a nicely worked move soon after the first whistle to put them 7-0 up.

Ks gathered their composure and took the game back to the opposition. A lovely restart led the home team to make errors and eventually a penalty in front of the posts some 22 metres out was awarded to Ks. The option to take the three points was made, the kicker stepping up to the mark and without hesitation converting for 7-3.

Newark were a very well drilled squad and had to work extra hard to find gaps in the Ks defence. Newark added to their tally with another seven points, their kicker on point, ensuring maximum points were taken when on offer, opening the deficit to 14-3.

Before the half was over, ill-discipline from the home team saw two yellow cards for Newark, leaving them down to 13 at one point. Kesteven knew they had to use this to their favour and capitalise and strike whilst the iron was hot.

Kesteven’s kickers put the powerful forward pack in prime position to unleash their maul. The home team tried to dig in and halt the surge but were unable, Ks moving the Newark pack left and right, then over the top, seeing Ks get on to the scoresheet with their first try of the day and 14-8.

Newark, still with 13, had to cover for the gaps that were left, which proved a little more difficult. Kesteven’s back line unleashed waves of runners and once the gaps opened up, dived over the line for another score and 14-13.

Half time came at the right time for Newark with only one point separating the two teams.

This allowed a full complement to return to the field as the start of the second half got under way. Changes to both teams were made.

Kesteven’s scrum had revved it up and stole a couple against the head, allowing the back line to run into space. With the forwards in the driving seat they set about heading for the line.

More discipline issues for Newark at the breakdowns saw them penalised and pushed back on to their own line, scrambling and unable to combat what Ks had to offer. This led to the first score of the second half for the men in black - Kesteven took the lead for the first time in the match, 20-14

This did not last long as Newark found gaps in the excitable Ks defence, allowing them to take the lead once again. Swift hands and some serious pace from the Newark winger saw him go over the whitewash; 21-20 to Newark.

The game was proving to be a great battle between two well deserved finalists. The crowds were having their own battle on the touchline to give their players the support they needed.

Kesteven’s sideline (the loudest) cried heave when the forwards got the ball.

In true style, the game was rounded out with a move straight from the training paddock.

Kesteven’s line out drew the defenders left, trying to stop the ever-present forward pack who were metres from the line. The maul was brought down in the ref’s eyes illegally. giving the backs free ball to have a go.

Lovely decoy lines, with the ball making its way through the hands, found a young nervous winger with a clear road to the try line and saw him carry the ball, one handedly swatting away covering challengers before tumbling over the line to score.

Kesteven took the lead again, 25-21.

The game, moments away from the close, had messages from the sideline to keep Newark at bay, and to get the ball back at all costs, were made imperative.

A tackle turnover by the Ks’ well-deserved man of the match got the ball back, a punt downfield and the ball eventually went out before the full time whistle blew.

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