TROUBLE FOR TEWKESBURY
Strouds first visit to Tewkesbury resulted in 8 wins and a draw
Trouble for Tewkesbury
The weather for February was kind for our first trip to Tewkesbury. Although cold, the rain managed to stay away and 9 games of fine running rugby were played over 3 pitches.
Stroud dominated the first of our three games, with Will G calling the defensive line, which in conjunction with the excellent tagging, gave 6 tag turnover on several occasions.
Tries a plenty from Thomas H and Callum T and fine supportive play from the rest of the squad, made the end result 15 – 7 in Strouds favour.
In the second match, Tewkesbury showed some great ball handling to go ahead at half time, but Stroud kept their heads up, and a full pitch run from Will G ended with a try to turn the game around.
With fine tagging and a try from Will VDB, together with great supportive play and a try from William R, Stroud squeaked an 11-10 victory.
The third match, due to time constraints, was played over 5 minutes each way. Tewkesbury took an early lead, but into the second half, Stroud was back on form with the 6 tag turnover playing yet again a vital role in the match’s overall victory. The length of the pitch was run on more than one occasion by Ethan A and Toby M scoring pivotal tries, to end the match 6-4 to Stroud.
All in all a great mornings rugby, the squad doing Stroud proud.
Paul Hursthouse’s Squad
Paul kindly stood in as a coach for us this morning as both James and Keith were otherwise engaged.
Paul set up his squad with an inspirational team talk.
The whistle blew and Stroud were off like a shot. The first try coming from Andrew Targett within a minute of the start. This was to be the first of 4 tries for Andrew. Zach was on fire this morning scoring 3 tries. At one point he came out of nowhere to tag a Tewkesbury player, who still has no idea where he appeared from! Sam H was obviously out to impress his dad this morning with some astounding tagging – such determination on his face. Max M ran through try number 5 for the squad shortly followed by No 6 from Will T. Joseph D was calling the line and keeping the team focused as well as being key in the 6th tag turn overs that Stroud were achieving. The first half finished 7-4 to Stroud.
The second half started with a quick try from Imogen, no one can catch her when she’s at full speed. Sam followed this up with a disallowed try – overcome with enthusiasm Sam’s try was not touched down, such as shame as he had battled his way through a wall of Tewkesbury players to reach the line. Joseph S showed some spirited tagging. The 2nd try of the second half came off a perfect side step from Zach who then ran the rest of the pitch to score. Max M scored try No 3, poor ball handling from Tewkesbury led to a quick pick up by Max who then ran it through to the try line. Sam H was rewarded with his determination to score try No 4 and Andrew finished off the match with try no 6.
The final score was 13-6 to Stroud and well deserved.
Paul's own reports -
Match report from squad three, games two and three.
Game two - started in the usual way, end to end single sprints. But the venue must have had an impact because in the shadow of Tewkesbury Abbey some divine intervention took place and the team began to bond. Together they pressured the other team into mistakes and capitalised by scoring some quality linked play tries. Of note - Will and Joey (Joseph) went at them like kids on a frenzy in a candy floss factory. The team seemed to now understand the value of supporting each other, although no one seemed able to keep up with Imogen's pace. Tags must have topped a hundred when Andrew scored his last stunning but one of many tries. The team finished Winners and deservedly so.
Game three started with a different approach, paired up they were all told never leave your wing man and pass into space. Well, that didn't work and mayhem grasped the game. That is of course for the other side (the best team were saved till last). Joseph D continued to pick off the tags and Max and Zach turned these opportunities into even more points. Linked play was now featuring as a theme, but single sprints remained everyone's favourite pastime. So the only thing left for the stand-in coach to do - sub each pair as they scored a try. Off they came, odd really but after our eighth sub, passing started to happen. They won all their matches today and were buzzing on a winners wave. Max was the captain for the last game and honoured the Stroud Rugby shirt by thanking the ref and leading the handshakes with the other team. Finally Sam H - came to the fore.
Overall a stunning performance.
Our first game against Tewkesbury saw both teams rampant in attack but neither overly committed to defence. This resulted in a high scoring game of end-to-end rugby in which a number of great individual tries were scored but didn't really stretch either team in terms of passing or support play. The match ended with a 14-14 draw and despite it's one-dimensional nature was still very exciting to watch.
After a post-match talk, Stroud entered the second game with a very different mindset. Tom H took charge of the defensive line while Max L and Dylan D pushed up at every opportunity to tag the opposition before they could gain any ground. A couple of 6-tag turnovers put Stroud on the front foot and they began to find gaps in the Tewkesbury defence. Dylan K and Dylan D began to link up very effectively, both creating gaps and putting the other player in to score. Max L showed his great turn of pace and demonstrated how dangerous he can be from anywhere on the pitch. The game ended with a resounding 11-7 win for Stroud.
The final game started in much the same way as the second. Stroud were strong in defence with Will F scrambling to grab tags and prevent the Tewkesbury attack from breaking our lines. Stroud went into half-time with a slim (5-3) lead, however, a spilled ball (one of only two all day if I remember correctly!) gave Tewkesbury a turnover and the opportunity to narrow the lead. However, Lawrence Y and Jake P consistently demonstrated how effective direct running can be and took great care in their pass when offloading - coupled with the great support play from Tom H and Will F this was enough to just keep Stroud ahead. At 7-6, the final play of the game gave Tewkesbury the chance to level the scores but some great pressure from the defence resulted in a loose pass (swooped on by Lawrence) and a final try for Stroud to close the game at 8-6.