Roots & All is a project where we pick a few teams that don’t normally make the spotlight week in week out and feature them regularly throughout an entire campaign.
Naas got back to winning form on Saturday (1st December) when they took on Suttonians at Forenaughts in round six of the Ulster Bank League, Division 2B. They gave an outstanding display of rugby skill in the opening period which Suttonians struggled to contain scoring three superb tries and three penalties against one try for Suttonians. The second half however saw Suttonians mount a substantial challenge but in the end Naas were deserved winners and had secured another important bonus point win to push them to third place overall in the league.
Naas Captain Sam Sutton lead from the front in the 7th-minute to score an outstanding try which was comfortably converted by David Aherne to give Naas a perfect start.
Shortly after the restart Suttonians were attacking on the halfway but they knocked on to give Naas a central scrum. Naas broke from the back of the scrum at blistering pace with Sam Sutton, Peter Osborne and Eoghan Conran initially involved. They then combined with David Aherne who attacked from deep to make 30m down the left flank and offloaded to Johnny Delaney who was tracking in close support and who powered over under the posts for a superb try in the 11th-minute. The conversion again by David Aherne extended the Naas lead to 14-0.
Naas went close to scoring a third try in the 14th-minute following a turnover and counter-attack from the halfway involving Sam Sutton, Steve Kinneavey, Eoghan Conran and David Benn who crossed in the right corner but was judged to have been held up. Just 2 minutes later Naas turned over possession following a Suttonians lineout on their 22 and were awarded an offside penalty from which David Aherne converted to extend their lead to 17 points.
Suttonians created their first real opportunity in the 19th-minute when they charged down Naas on their 10m line and their lock, Aidan Kearney, skillfully gathered and wrong-footed the Naas cover to cross on the left flank and narrow the margin to 17-5.
Naas were not about to relinquish their early dominance and reasserted their authority in the 23rd-minute when Sam Sutton took a quick free on the halfway and set up a high tempo attack on the right flank involving Peter Osborne, Eoghan Conran and Brian Fitzgerald who powered over in the right corner to extend the Naas lead to 22-5. Two further offside penalties were awarded to Naas in the 30th and 37th-minutes, both of which were kicked by David Aherne from the 22 to give them a relatively comfortable 28-5 lead at the interval.
Suttonians upped their game in the second period and managed to dominate territory throughout the third quarter. In the 51st-minute Naas were penalised for handling in a ruck on their 22 and had their centre sent to the bin. This certainly disrupted Naas and Suttonians pressed forward in search of a second try. Despite a valient defensive effort by Naas they eventually succombed when Suttonians drove their scrum back from 10m out and their outhalf, Stephan van Grutting subsequently crossed in the right corner. Scrumhalf, Adam Griggs kicked brilliantly from the touchline to make the score 28-12 in the 59th-minute.
In the 70th-minute, Suttonians attacked down the right flank off a scrum on the Naas 10m line but the Naas wing Rob Campbell drove them into touch on the Naas 22. From the subsequent lineout, however, Naas knocked on and were pushed back from a scrum 10m out with Shane Derby eventually crossing for Suttonians in the right corner. Adam Griggs again converted to narrow the score to 28-19.
Naas finished strongly and dominated possession and territory in the closing 10 minutes. They closed out the game in the 75th-minute with a superb bonus try scored by David Benn when he charged down the Suttonians outhalf inside the 22 and skillfully gathered and powered over on the right flank. The conversion by David Aherne gave a final score of 35-19 in favour of Naas.
This excellent performance has now moved Naas up to third place in the Ulster Bank League, Division 2B behind league leaders Rainey OB and Nenagh Ormond. Naas seniors next play Thomand at Forenaughts on Saturday 8th December at the rescheduled time of 2pm in the final AIL game of the year and welcome all support for this game.