Match Report- Northumbria Under 18s v Cheshire Under 18s @ Keighley

Sunday January 9th 2022

Final score- Northumbria 22 v Cheshire 31(HT 17-7)

Line-up:

  1. George Arnold
  2. Mike Butler (co-captain)
  3. Soheil Kakai
  4. Sebastian Botes
  5. Titus Jones
  6. Ethan Quinn
  7. Harrison Krippner
  8. George Hassall
  9. Jacob Mitchell
  10. Matty Hope
  11. Jack Paziuk
  12. Charlie Hyde (co-captain)
  13. Raef Watts
  14. Edward Dobbs
  15. Alex Roebuck-Davies

Finishers: 16. Rorio Zheng, 17. James Priestman, 18. Harry Leech, 19. Dylan Allen, 20. Will Martindale, 21. Charlie Warr, 22. Chim Onyeoji

Tries: Ethan Quinn, Jack Paziuk, Mike Butler (2), Charlie Hyde

Cons: Matty Hope 3

After the cancellation of the Yorkshire game before Christmas, this game was a long time coming. It had everything you could wish for in terms of fast, entertaining, skilful rugby, and a result to match!

 

Hosts Keighley were fantastic, with their COVID protocols and hospitality, and their jovial crowd an absolute joy! When the game kicked off, Cheshire looked to assert their dominance, and we rewarded with a turnover, only for a stray pass to be intercepted, and Northumbria capitalised with the opening try, unconverted, after just 2 minutes. We took a while to get into the groove, and were hampered by small mistakes resulting in the referees whistle disrupting the flow of our phases. Eventually though, we hit the fringes, and were rewarded with our opening score through Ethan Quinn, with Matty Hope adding the extras for a 7-5 lead.

 

While we looked the better side, Northumbria looked the more dangerous with the scraps that they were given, and after yet another penalty infringement, they went to the corner, and were rewarded with a try from the resulting rolling maul, again unconverted, to regain the lead, 7-10.

Heading toward half-time, Northumbria again broke from deep, and after a couple of missed tackles, their inside centre scored after 35 minutes to give Northumbria a 17-7 lead at oranges.

Things did not initially improve after the break, with Northumbria again adding to their score after some tepid defence from Cheshire out wide, and with the score now 7-22 to Northumbria, most sides would have folded at this stage.

 

However, there was a feeling that the next score would be crucial, and finally after 50 minutes of the game, the Cheshire boys started to showcase their skills. After earning the right to go wide, Jack Paziuk in an unfamiliar role as a winger, darted in to swing the pendulum of the game into our favour, to give us a “game on” at 12-22. Phases now came more easily, and you felt Northumbria starting to tire after a defensive period. Our forwards started to carry hard and were rewarded with a try through hooker Mike Butler under the posts, to really pile pressure on our opponents at 19-22.

The momentum was now well and truly with the Cheshire side, and confidence was high, demonstrated by their willingness to run from their own 22. This audacity was rewarded with a great try, worthy of any game, finished yet again by Mike Butler, the extras again added by Matty Hope. Now with a 26-22 lead, we looked to really kill the game, as everything started to go our way. As Northumbria were held back with a dogged defence, we won a turnover just inside our own half, and after a break from Jacob Mitchell, Charlie Hyde finished the game off with a well worked try under the posts, to give us a 31-22 victory.

It was a fantastic performance for just 30 minutes of the game, but enough to blow any side away, and the boys did themselves and the county proud. They have all been a credit to Cheshire, with their performances and attitude. Their spirit has been amazing, and the result yesterday underlined their brilliant desire to perform at their highest levels. 

 

I really hope everyone has enjoyed the Cheshire experience this year. It has been my first experience as a manager of Cheshire, and I have to thank all of the coaches for their effort and time, as well as parents of the players for their support. I would especially like to thank the boys though, they have been polite and funny off the pitch and strong, skilful and aggressive on the pitch, which is an amazing advert for rugby in general. 

Mat Dolan

U18 Manager