venue: Ada Ciganlija, Belgrade
18th August 2013
Full Match Report
UNDER-18 REPRESENTATIVE MATCH
Serbia’s improvement over twelve months was noted, not only in the scoreline, but in the physicality and game sense demonstrated in the game. The Midlands, with talisman Reece Needham sitting out due to a shoulder injury and the squad backing up from the day before had to play their hearts out to keep the Serbs at bay.Starting strongly, the Midlands worked a move out wide to Zak White who broke away down the left wing to open the Midlands account out wide, but Jack Pearce failed to make the conversion. Consecutive sets from both sides saw the forwards rotating regularly, with Sam Ball, Sam Shepherd and Dan Hyams working overtime upfront to win the arm wrestle.
White nosed the visitors ahead, with Pearce adding the extras this time, after a clever kick downfield put him into space and a lack of concentration five minutes later sore him dive over in the corner to stretch the lead to 16-0 at the break. White was in the thick of the melee that ensued just before half time, which was both sides come together in an angry scene that had been brewing for much of the game. With Slavko Markovic dispatched to the sin bin and both sides warned about their conduct, the Serbs held out until half time.
In the second half, the Midlands forwards ran their blood to water as the tired bodies edged nearer to the end of the second game in two days. Clever rotation of the backs into some forward positions gave some breathing space and the visitors slowly and carefully soaked up the pressure that the Serbs built, with the home side just failing to complete the final blow. Fifteen minutes in, Connor Slater tidied up a bumbled last tackle play, finding space and miraculously gaining the hards to get to the line. Pearce was on target with the boot.
The Serbs were not done and desparate to score, they threw everything they had at the Midlands, who by this point were down to thirteen fit men. A quick play the ball allowed Andrew Mora the time he needed to grab the vital consolation try at the end that saw the Serbs celebrate like they had won the game.
Sin bin: Slavko Markovic (30-Punching)
Andrew Mora, Aleksander Stojanovic, Denis Cengav, Luka Karadzic, Miodrag Tomic, Aleksandar Pavolovic, Slavko Markovic, Sergej Devetak, Lazar Micic, Uros Radvlovic, Marko Milosic, Vuk Knezevic, Vikola Vlahovic. Subs: Vladimir Dimitrij, Aleksandar Zoravkouvic, Stefan Vukanovic, Milos Kustadinovic
ENGLAND MIDLANDS U18
William Cox, Jamal McKenzie, Sam Chalklin, Jack Pearce, Zak White, Harry Marks, Joe Frobisher, Sam Shepherd, Adam Bromley, Sam Ball, Ieuan Jones, Lewis Flack, Connor Slater. Subs: Dan Hyams, Joolz Masters, Joe Gregory, Sean Robers.