Strong comeback but to no avail
By Richard Culver
Two sloppy periods, at the start of each half, cost the U14s dearly
This was a full blooded game, with Orrell having got themselves into a strong position relieved to hear the final whistle as the U14s dug deep and were close to snatching an improbable draw.
Orrell started strongly, using their big carriers to test the home side's defence early on. Initial thrusts were thwarted, but the MV backs were found wanting twice early on, slipping off tackles and allowing the more committed and physical away team to build an early 12-0 lead.
Some clever play from Will R and Jack put the ball behind Orrell, and Jacob was on hand to pounce on a defensive error and cut the lead to 7. 5-12 was how it stayed until half time, with the MV forwards starting to get on top in the tight exchanges. Orrell were guilty of straying offside allowing MV to keep them pinned back, but Orrell's tackling was fierce and every yard had to be earned.
Azzane, Jack and Cian all took knocks, and Charlie H was eventually forced off after a heavy hit, all of these stopped MV playing with any real fluency, although Ollie B was making good ground from wing and Jacob was starting to link well with Will R at 9 and MV looked threatening from set piece.
The second half started poorly, and Orrell soon added another 12 unanswered points. MV guilty of trying to play out turned over cheap ball and Orrell went over in the corner, 5-17. From an MV scrum a loose ball was gobbled up and Orrell's runner stepped some poor tackling to go in near the posts, the conversion was straightforward and MV looked like they were finished.
Some strong words galvanised the team. George, in at 6 following the pack reshuffle, finished a slick blindside move from a scrum, after Will C and Will R had made yards, 10-24 but time running out.
The MV pack were now well on top, Will and Ethan were winning the battle on the floor, Ollie J was hitting the line hard and with 4 minutes left Ethan crashed over following a series of short drives through the pack. Tom nailed a tricky conversion and the boys were back in the game.
The final couple of minutes saw some frantic defending from Orrell as the MV pack looked for the levelling score, and the match ended with a show of indiscipline from both sets of players.
Well done Orrell, a physical display that frustrated the home team and allowed them to build a good lead and run out deserved winners.
MV lined up
10 Charlie B
9 Will R
1 Ollie J
2 Charlie H
6 Will C (c)
16 Ali H
17 Ollie B
Will C led from the front and was named MOTM for the home side.