HWRFC U13 VShoreham ... very tight contest
Positive progress by the U13s but still work to do
On an unseasonably sunny Armistice Day, the U13’s took to the field to play a large visiting side from Shoreham.
Will Chambers kicked off and the Shoreham side pounced on the ball and drove hard towards the HWRFC 22. After a brief interplay, the ball was shipped by Shoreham to their 17 year old (well, extremely large) outside centre who proceeded to cut through the HWRFC defence and score a relatively easy try. First blood to Shoreham. Will Chambers restarted with a short kick and Shoreham proceeded to do exactly the same again with Heathfield falling off tackles and try number two from the outside centre. There must be some Maori blood just west of Brighton! The Heathfield boys were looking rather shell-shocked on Armistice Day, and there were grumblings on the touchline about this being a long afternoon. However, that is definitely not how this U13 side roll.
The boys picked up the pace, defended aggressively and then, at the second scrum, proceeded to shove the oppo off the ball. Given the difference in sizes of the two packs this was no mean feat. Chambers received the ball from Harry S-H and went blindside, beating two or three defenders and, hey presto, he was through with one man to beat and Jack Pincus on the outside. The pass didn’t quite stick but Heathfield were back and tails were suddenly up. Same move again and this time, Chambers slid through like a hot knife in butter and the score was 2-1. Renewed pressure ensued, with great tackling from Jack P, Will Barrett and Freddy Loach. Then after great work in the ruck, a breakthrough from Will Chambers and a clear run in for a try, only to be thwarted by an illegal barge from the Shoreham Maori and a sending off to the sin bin, albeit with no try awarded. Heads remained high and after much hard breakdown work from the pack, notably the Irish axis of Callum and Killean, Bryn Watkins had a storming run up the touchline to score and equalise. For the second quarter, the U13s played like lions, completely dominating the game and scoring two more tries, including a barracking run from Zac Coxen who barged over the line for the third try and a stunner from Will Barrett to make it four. What a turnaround. A slow start (yet again) but belief and desire led to parity.
The second half began in similar fashion with Heathfield bringing on the subs bench and Shoreham pouncing on the restart and shipped the ball to their big man for a quick try. Shoreham then applied a lot of pressure and scored quickly to level the match 4-4. Heathfield were not ones to lie down and struck back to make it 5-4. Again, the big Shoreham outside scored to make it 5-5. Heathfield were really up against it, as the stronger Shoreham pack applied the pressure at the set piece, but some determined tackling, in particular Duncan Patterson, Will B, Zak Dunn and Zac C, meant that the boys hung on. After trading tries, the score was 6-6 with 5 minutes to go. Harry S-H slipped a pass to Chambers who broke down the blind side from within our 22 and created a three-on-two. Excitement reached fever pitch on the touch line. He tried the chip over but it was gathered by the oppo and off they went, with the opportunity going begging. Finger nails could be heard being chewed alongside some fine primal screaming from the U13 mothers, led ably by Claire S-H. Into the last two minutes and Shoreham turned over the ball and reverted to type, shipping the ball to the Shoreham Maori, who proceeded to storm down the five yard line and went over for the score. 7-6 and the whistle was blown with Shoreham the winners.
A draw would have been a reasonable result, but a win would not have been out of place either. Sadly neither were to be. Plenty of positives and much to build on, however.
So what have we learned from today? Good and not so good?
1. The boys started slowly a la Wales (Not so good) and shipped two quick and soft tries (Not so good) but fought back strongly in the second quarter and went well ahead. (Very good).
2. When the ball is shipped down the line with pace, we have the skills to score plenty of tries. (Good).
3. If you don’t bother tackling, the oppo score lots of tries. (Not so good).
4. We must reset the back line or we face 3-on-2, 4-on-2 or even 5-on-2 regularly, Good teams will exploit this every day of the week (Not so good). Will C, Will B and Freddie L need to talk to each other to ensure we do this every break down. (Can be good).
5. It’s quite hard to win when you play much bigger teams. (Actually this is rubbish). We just have to tackle our hearts out and modify our game to our strengths (Can be good). Remember we were 4-2 up at half time (Very good).
6. If a side has one guy who scores 5 tries (definitely not good), we need to put two or three tacklers on him every time. (Can be good). One less try was all it needed.
7. Playing rugby in the sunshine with your mates on Armistice Day is not the worst way to spend an Autumn Sunday. (Very good).
Special thanks to the BBQ team for providing tour-funding scoff, Emma Watkins for relieving the touch line of masses of cash, the coaching team (as always) and the boys for providing a really entertaining match. And of course the oppo.
Here are the pictures i took of the game: