Tuesday, 15 October 2013

U 11's v Claverdon

What a difference a week makes in terms of the weather and what a great test of character for the young rugby player and of course their parents.
Again a big welcome to our new players Jimmy and Chris. After only one or two training sessions they were thrown in at the deep end (an apt metaphor given the weather) and both gave great account of themselves.
This weeks team of future stars were
Ollie Lonie
Jake Lowe
Josh Talliss
Toby Good
Josh Hull
Ollie Dickson
Ethan Hart
Jimmy Robertson
Chris Harrison
With us adopting the new 'Shaping the Game' rules at the start of the season, we were required to have a minimum of 9 players which we managed to achieve. We also borrowed two players from Claverdon which allowed interchanges. This year, we are able to play either a game of 2 x 20 minute halves or a derivative of this. For this game we decided to play 2 games of 2 x 10 minute halves.
If a coach can be a happy with a loss then our results over the two games were extremely encouraging. When put into the context that Claverdon had played in two festivals in as many weeks and therfore at least four games, it was a mighty effort. I would also say that a number of their players appeared to have spent some time standing in what the local farmer's herd had deposited on the adjoining pitch. There were some big U11's!!!
For the first 10 minutes, the boys were obviously thinking more about the homework due in on Monday than their rugby. Claverdon put 3 tries on us in the first 10 minutes and it wasn't looking encouraging as we were a bit 'rabbit in the headlights'. The half-time break appeared to give the boys the time to collect their thoughts and switch on. This was evident in the second half where we defended better, our rucking and mauling improved and some good running resulting in a split 1-1 half. As we are counting points rather than tries this season, a 20 points to 5 loss.
The second game saw further improvement with the boys gaining more confidence as the game progressed.  Claverdon had a squad of 14 players available on the day and despite this we appeared to be more dominant in the rucks and mauls with periods of solid defending as well as some good attacking runs. A 10-10 half-time score line was indicative of us finishing stronger than our opposition but unfortunately two defensive lapses towards the end of the second half produced 2 late tries to Claverdon. The final 20-10 scoreline was not really indicative of the way the boys played and that we finished stronger as the game progressed was what was most pleasing.
The whole team contributed and there were many positives to take forward to training next week. There are also a number of thing that we will need to work on as well.
There were some great individual defensive hits with Ollie Lonie, on more than one occassion targetting their biggest player with crunching ball and all tackles. Ethan and Ollie Dickson again took the ball forward with some evasive runs and Josh Talliss, obviously benefitting from those off-season ballet lessons, pivoting 180ͦͦ°  a la American football style, leaving a number of defenders standing still.
Toby and Josh Hull also made some good runs and Josh showed his capability with the boot with some good re-starts and free kicks, both of which are skills that can take some time to master. Again young Jake Lowe continued to showed great ability in the mauls, ripping the ball off much bigger opponents. I was standing next to one of the coaches on the side line when he commented on Jake's strength when he took on their biggest player in a wrestle for the ball (and won). Our rucking and mauling improved as the games progressed and the Claverdon coach also commented on how successful we were in turning over their ball and how well we mauled against a much bigger team.
Congratulations must also go to our two first timers Jimmy and Chris. As mentioned above, neither have had extensive rugby experience and going from structured training to the apparent randomness of a game is a big step. It's a good test of a players ability to quickly process everything going on around them. Despite some initial hesitation and the odd forward pass both Chris and Jimmy contributed to the game as much as the rest of the boys.  I spoke to the Claverdon coach after the game and informed him that we had two first time players and he noted that he wouldn't have known it from watching the team play.  Quite a compliment.
There are of course a number of areas where we let ourselves down and if done better on the day I think we would have probably won. Despite some good attacking runs we didn't capitalise by passing before going into contact (as did Claverdon in a good passing move leading to a try), we missed too many tackles, and we spent too much time going backwards before going forward.  We have areturn fixture with Claverdon and it will be good to show what Old Y's can do.
A huge thanks to the travelling band of spectators who showed their support for the team in less than perfect conditions
We have training next week at the club, and this will be a great opportunity to build on the momentum from the game. Hopefully the weather will be slightly kinder and we will have as many of you as able to attend.
Well done lads and see you next week.
John Gaffey/Richard Talliss
U11 Coaches