Stroud U10's Weymouth Festival 2014 Day 2
By russell vale
Day 2 of the Weymouth Festival. Here comes the rain
After late nights for the kids and parents today was always going to be a hard slog and the weather didn't help the cause either. It was forwards weather but with the simplified rules how would we adapt?
This time the gazebo was erected in record time due to impending deluge that had been forecast for the day. Who likes wet sandwiches?
Wales U10's (aka Pontyclun) 2-1 England U10's (aka Stroud)
This was Stroud U10's first international fixture and it was marked by a nice wooden plaque given to us to celebrate the occasion. As we were playing 'away' Wales chose to close the roof of the Millenium Stadium-on-Sea to give them an extra competitive advantage by keeping the rain off.
Pontyclun (or in Jo's easy to pronounce ref speak - the blacks!) started fast with lots of quick passing through the backs and moving the ball both left and right. Even in the breakdown Pontyclun seemed to be winning all the possession with their good forward play. After 2 minutes they opened the scoring with a good try through 3 or 4 phases of possession. Stroud fought back behind the ferocious tackling of Finn and the forward play of Tom S (minus the hair dye this time). Just as we thought we had handled the Welsh onslaught they scored another try with the last play of the half making it 2-0 to Pontyclun.
The 2nd half was a totally different story. Stroud were determined to not roll over and put up a great fight. Lots of big tackles set the tone and in the 6th minute the ball went through all the backs and a final offload by Arthur out to Lewis on the wing and he romped home from the half way line making it 2-1 to Pontyclun. Stroud kept attacking and Lewis was denied a 2nd try by a good cover tackle on the wing. Pontyclun kept attacking though and a great defensive effort with group tackling on the Stroud goal line kept Pontyclun at bay. With the last play of the game Stroud tried to run it back for an equaliser but we stopped by another good defensive stand.
It was a great game with Stroud not giving in and actually winning the 2nd half. The parents showed their appreciation by clapping the kids off the pitch. Even though we lost we had pushed finalists Pontyclun very close and done ourselves proud.
The entertainment didn't stop here though. Not to be left out Stroud coaches wanted to show off their rugby skills. Jo did a 30 yard no-look pass straight to Phil. The problem was that Phil was doing the no-looking so as he turned round he got a ball straight in the face. How we laughed at Phil’s misfortune and damage to his good looks.
Old Grammarians Duty (OGD) 3-1 Stroud
These were the purple team that seemed to have taken over the holiday park. They all wore purple hoodies and they all had #10 on their shirts so we were all praying the ref would sin-bin #10 to give us a competitive advantage!...... ......Not to be though.
OGD started quickly and attacked from the off. Only a last gasp tackle by William stopped OGD scoring in the corner. Not to be denied though they scored in the 2nd minute with another good attack helped by some missed Stroud tackles. Things didn’t improve as in the 3rd minute OGD made it 2-0 with a long run for a try. Although there were earlier missed tackles to allow OGD to get away from their goal line the Stroud defence valiantly chased down the long run but were unable to deny the try.
In the 2nd half OGD started quickly again and made it 3-0 in the 5th minute. Their big forward ran in this try. Stroud again showed good spirit and not giving in. Jedd had a great run from the restart to put OGD under pressure. Later on Alex took a loose ball in the middle and did a weaving run down the wing until OGD stopped this attack. William responded in the 7th minute by running a try into the left corner making it closer at 3-1.
Buoyed by their improved performance Stroud kept attacking and William running down the right-hand touchline was a sure bet to score until a late high tackle from behind forced him out right on the try line. Everyone was expecting a penalty try but it wasn't given. We were then expecting a sin-bin so all the OGD #10's would have to leave the pitch making them forfeit the match (I'm sure that rule is in the watered down contact-unfriendly RFU rules we had to play!). Much to our astonishment the ref didn’t award any penalties and actually gave the ball to OGD! Even their coach and the watching Weymouth official were in total bemusement by this decision. What was left of the game was now an anti-climax so final score was 3-1 to OGD, but another encouraging display in the 2nd half. Now if only we could get the 1st half correct......
Reading Sharks 4-0 Stroud
So which Reading team was going to turn up - the 'A' team or another 'B' team after yesterday’s 6-0 thrashing?
It was the 'A' team. Not the TV version led by BA Barracus or Murdoch but by a green shirted winger who scored an interception try in the 1st minute. 1-0 to Reading.
Stroud learnt their lesson here and didn't give in and responded with a strong first half. Rory had some good attacking moves. Both Tom S and Tom O supporting well with tackling and head first recoveries of loose balls. So thats why they both wear scrum caps ! As the half drew to a close Lewis was denied a try by good tackling by Reading.
The 2nd half was where we were normally strong but in this case it all went wrong. Reading scored quickly in the 5th minute making it 2-0. Arthur’s strong tackling kept Stroud in the game but in the 6th minute there was a 3rd Reading try in the corner. There was a nasty moment later when a Reading player went down hurt clutching his collar bone and had to be subbed off but thanks to Delia's medical skills and magic words he recovered and no need for a trip to A&E. This understandably so subdued the play a bit but Reading (eventual league winners) didn't take their foot off the throttle and scored on the last play of game with another try in the corner making it 4-0 to them. Final score Reading Sharks (population 150,000) 4-0 Stroud (population 15,000)
At this point the heavens opened and the occasional rain turned into a torrential downpour and we all ran for cover and huddled penguin style under the gazebo - thankfully complete with roof unlike Saturday where it came off! This respite of 20 minutes gave the kids chance to eat their lunch (leftovers from Saturday night), get some energy, and perhaps have a quick sleep to make up for the Saturday night partying. Would it make a difference ?
Stroud 2-0 Glastonbury-on-Sea (aka Weymouth)
Things were looking up. We left our 'bogey' pitch #8 and returned 'home' to pitch #7 for the last 3 games of the festival.
Jedd, rejuvinated on chicken wings, crisps and fruit pastilles, was on a mission! Another long run from the start showed that Stroud were up for this game. Lewis T in the forwards was having a good game and helping win possession. Edgar in the backs was having a good game and putting the Weymouth backs under pressure and making them earn their yards. In the 3rd minute scrum half Archie went on a weaving run and somehow managed to do a full circle run and score a try in the corner to make it 1-0 to Stroud. You see him here, you see him there, you see Archie everywhere..... William went off injured with a leg injury but fortunately it wasn't too serious as he came back on later in the game.
In the 2nd half Archie continued his good form and stole a few possessions and set up Arthur to score to make it 2-0. Not to stop with the attacking play Archie (aka Danny Care as Jo nicknamed him at the end) now showed his defensive prowess by stopping a Weymouth try by pushing a big guy out of bounds with a great cover tackle. David vs Goliath !
Full time whistle made it 2-0 to Stroud. The tide had turned (it was 13:34 - high tide according to Met Office) and Stroud had their first victory of the day !
Stroud 0-1 Old Grammarians Faith (OGF)
Would Stroud make it 2 wins on the trot against the 2nd team of purple wearing #10's?
OGF started fast with a try up the middle in the 1st minute giving them a 1-0 advantage. The rest of the half was a battle of the backs and the forwards with them neutralising each other.
In the 2nd half it was another defensive stalemate with good tackling by Finn, Arthur and Danny Care (sorry Archie), keeping Stroud in the game. Unfortunately William went off injured and with a re-jigged back line Stroud were unable to find that extra yard of space to get an equalising try even though constant attacking by Rory, Lewis, Finn and Arthur kept the pressure on OGF. Final whistle went and Stroud had lost this one by a solitary try.
The kids were getting bored with the gaps between games so started to create their own entertainment. Most popular game was slide belly first in the mud. It was Jim's idea honest! Prize for the quickest slide was for Lewis - who was ever going to catch him ? Prize for the silliest slide went to Alex who somehow managed to land on his belly but only get mud on his side so we made him do it all again to get a good all-over mud-tan. Prize for getting the most mud in curly hair went to Finn. Who else has hair as curly as that ?
While we had time to wait for our final festival fixture we remembered where we had gone wrong. We had forgotten warm-ups (Chris J style). To try and get some warmth and energy into their tired limbs we did a condensed version of warm ups and due to the waterlogged ground we even let them off the press-ups and planks. Even the warm-up team of Phil and Russell managed to keep their feet (and breath) as we ran around the gazebos and puddles to the bemused looks of the other teams.
England U10's (aka Stroud) 1-1 Wales U10's (aka Bonymaen)
This was the return 6 Nations fixture we had been waiting for. At home (Twickenham-on-Sea) vs the old enemy Wales. Could we restore our honour?
We had a new scrum half. Arthur replaced Archie as he had played 5 games in a row. Stroud started fast, very fast. Jedd went on a long run from the start. The ball came out and went through our backs twice with good handling by Laurie, Alex and Edgar. It popped out to Finn who scored in the corner - exactly 27 seconds on the clock. Wow did that get the adrenaline going!
The team from Wales (who were also wearing red) did not give up. They kept attacking and only good team defence by Stroud kept them from equalising.
2nd half was another end-to-end battle with both teams having chances. Lewis in the forwards was having a good game and only the group tackling from our boys was preventing their man-mountain forward from scoring the equaliser. Just as we thought we had held on for a famous victory a penalty was awarded to Bonymaen and their big guy rumbled into the corner to make it 1-1.
The sun had finally come out and 'The Rivers of Babylon' had stopped flowing across the pitch (there you go a Boney M reference!) and the pitches were starting to dry out. It was too little too late though as a few more attacks from both teams went nowhere and an entertaining game was declared over by the ref with a loud blow of the whistle. Final score was 1-1 in Stroud’s 2nd international fixture.
In keeping with Stroud tradition a coach led de-brief was then followed by a players only huddle to show what a great team spirit they have.
The kids were awarded festival medals and a final team photo and then we all made our way back to our caravans (sorry executive static homes) to clean up, pack up and go home to recover.
In my case a now clean Alex was fast asleep in the car within 10 miles of leaving Weymouth so I got my choice of music for a change. When he awake from his slumber he pronounced that he'd had a great time and the best bit was 'hanging around with his mates'. So mission number 1 achieved in tour tradition - have a great time with your pals and the rugby comes 2nd (unless you win the tournament and then it’s all that matters!).
I’m sure all the kids and parents had a great time on our first tour together.
Bring on Weymouth 2015 and lets make the kids sleep better and win the festival !....
Thanks to Phil and Jo for organising the kids so well, especially with the new rules. Thanks also to the others that helped out, especially the organisers like Nicky, Karen and Sam.
Final shout goes to Jedd for his various attempts at trying to bribe me to give him a good write up. So then Jedd I make you man-of-the match for the 64 games we played where you scored 112 tries. Is that good enough and truthful enough for you ? ;-)
Overall Won 4, Drew 2, Lost 5
Home pitch #7, aka Twickenham-on-Sea - W2, D1, L1
Away pitch #8 - W2, D1, L4
Joint 6th with 3 other teams (out of 12). If we had more home games we might have won more and made 4th! The final league table is in one of the picture files to download.
Final between league winners Reading Sharks and Pontyclun. I believe Pontyclun won.
If anyone has any extra pictures or videos please send them to me and I will upload them.