Under 10's Presentation Day
Presentation Day - Dads vs Kids game. Who will win.... and who will win the player trophies?
Today was the most important day of the season. Forget beating Minch or Painswick or the Weymouth Festival. It was the Dads vs Kids Annual Game. Who would win this clash of the titans?
The day started with a review of the Coaches vs 1st Team game from Friday night. Luckily not too many injuries to report and the cobwebs had been shaken off and the aggression kept in check ready to be dished out against the kids instead.
To create a nice jovial atmosphere we started with 4 games of Bulldog. First game was kids tackled by Dad's. After eventually persuading the kids to stay within a reasonable sized pitch we quickly tagged them all and Tom S was last kid standing. 2nd game was kids tackling Dad's - this quickly became groups of kids chasing one or two parents so they couldn't escape. Highlight of this 'round' was Marks full blooded tackle on Jo. Rugby League meets Union, honours even and friendship was the winner. Can't remember which parent won - probably Rick who was dressed more for the beach with his shorts and flip flops and ambled up and down the sideline mingling with the Mum's to avoid detection. Ironically when Rick was at Weymouth for the festival he wore overlong jeans with turn-ups so his wardrobe fashion was very confused for both occasions !
3rd Bulldog game was won by Lewis C who was taking advantage of the huffing and puffing parents. Highlight was Liam taking out his older brother - revenge for his brother clattering him in an earlier game. 4th bulldog game was between either Pete or Chris H and they both got tagged in same run so honours even.
Before we moved onto the game we went through warmups with a twist. The kids were in charge and made the Dad's do a 10 minute compressed version - press-ups, planks, burpees - the full Monty (luckily with clothes on unlike the film). There was an audible 'snap' as leg lungees were done and various hamstrings and calf muscles woke up from their slumber and squealed in pain.
While the Dad's got their breathe back there was a debate as to who could be trusted to ref a game of this magnitude. Would it be an impartial Mum, would Jo sacrifice his desire to play and protect his kids from the snarling Dad's? Fortunately Chris O stepped up and both sides were happy. The kids could relate to Chris as he had coached them forward play and they were close in age to him (compared to the Dad's). The Dad's trusted him because they could buy him beer to sway his decisions if necessary.
Alex was captaining the kids. He won the toss and elected to swap ends and play uphill into the wind. Was this a mistake? The Dads were certainly relieved to have the weather and gradient in their favour. In preparation for Under 11 rugby and the increase to 12-a-side, 5 man scrums and kicking we haggled over the rules we would play. We agreed on kick offs (battle of the Hammonds). 9 or 12-a-side rugby was ignored and we started with about 13 Dads vs 18 kids. Even the scrums were biased to the youngsters. 5 young forwards vs 3 old Dad's. The up-side was it gave us more parents to cover the speedy backs like Lewis, William and Arthur. Another disadvantage for the Veterans team was the lack of studs for parents - something about protecting the newly seeded pitch and not due to the risk of rucking the angelic face or body of a 10 year old !
William started the game with a proper drop kickoff. All good practice for next season.
The game soon settled into an attritional match of:
- good run by kids - both backs and forwards
- pickup tackle and carry back 3 yards by parents
- turnover to parents in ruck by creative use of their longer arms
- 1 or 2 passes between Dad's and then the mandatory knock-on.
- Possession back to kids and start the cycle again!
The kids started playing for time early on realising it gave us less time to run up a score in the 2nd half. Alex was injured in a ruck and took a few minutes to fix his broken back (thanks Jo). Instead of going off for medical treatment and a hot dog he ran back to his team with a grin on his face for the precious seconds he had taken off the clock.
First try went to the Dad's by Pete but it was called back for a new rule that kids were also allowed to do tag tackles as well as full bloodied tackles. Only fair I guess. Tackling adults was not putting off the kids though. Finn in particular took great pride in taking out his dad. This was a trend that was developing. As soon as a Dad got a pass and turned up field it was quite often his son that was waiting for him and denying him the glory of a try, or even a decent pass!
First legal try went to Arthur. In typical fashion with legs churning he got over the line to open the scoring. The 'Shed' (sorry Mum's) erupted in support of the home team taking the lead.
The Dad's stormed back with great attacking moves through the backs. The only problem was the knock-ons denying us tries. Chris J and Russell were guilty. Even Jo had a chance on the right wing but knocked it forward. Must have been the howling wind causing the mistakes. What else could explain Russell's 12 foot high pass to Jo on the left wing that was more a danger to the Under 8 match then the U10's try line?
The Dad's were quick to adapt to the windy conditions and hard tackling kids and instead decided to play keep-ball. Mark O started it off by holding the ball above his head. Not even Jedd could reach it. We then passed it at head height to Bill and the other taller parents. The ref wasn't having any of this though and blew his whistle with some interpretation of a Regulation from 1886 that forbid this style of play.
The kids took over with a penalty and nearly scored in the corner. Jedd went on a storming run with arms swinging. A maul formed and the kids made good progress and as the ball came out to Archie we thought he was going to score but luckily he was carried out of bounds for a line-out. The Dad's were rubbish at line-outs. No pre-arranged calls meant the kids had the advantage here. Another good attack by Callum, Laurie and Rory was stopped by more desperation defence by the Dad's.
Dad's scored next with the kids making a mistake in their back line and the ball going to ground and it been recovered and a pop pass to Chris H for him to score in the corner. Just as the game seemed to be heading for 1-1 at the interval there was a good move by the kids and they camped on the parents try line. Good tackling by the Dad's held them at bay and just as we thought ref Chris O was going to blow whistle and save us the ball popped out to back Tom S and he cut back inside and was tackled by his dad Mark. Not to be denied he wriggled away and managed to touch the ball down. I know where the bragging rights are in that household for the next week. 2-1 to the kids at the half.
2nd half started where we left off. Kids attacking really well and good pass fakes by the kids (or bad interception attempts by parents?) got them close to our line. Both Tom's in the forwards barreled forward to gain yards. They set it up nicely and Tom S scored his 2nd try of the game. Mark - your life will be unbearable for the next few weeks mark my words! 3-1 to the kids and the parents were on the ropes - and had to play up hill into the wind.
The game was to change though with the introduction of the talisman - Jim C for the Dads! Shaking off his neck injury from Friday night he put his body on the line and gave us some much needed momentum change - plus he made up for the regular disappearances of Rick and Chris H who were jumping between U8 and U10 parent games.
The Dad's were attacking and Mark O and Steve T made good progress in the corner and just as the kids thought they had it covered an inside pass to Russell meant the score was back to 3-2 to the kids.
With fire in their belly the Dad's were on the attack now. Another good move down the right formed and Mark S kept going, Coach Phil provided good support and the rest of the Dad's just stood and admired their effort vs 15 kids. Just as we thought the move had stopped Jim stormed up the inside and took a lovely pass and touched down to make it 3-3.
With a few minutes left in the game it was anyone's to win. William did some great passing to make space for Lewis C to have a good run. True to his hero and Gloucester legend Jonny May he went on a weaving run of 50 yards sideways, 20 yards backwards and about 30 yards forward. Luckily the Dad's had been expecting this so stood their ground (or were they too tired to run?) and managed to turn the ball over. Another great move with Jonathon, Pete, Mark, Jo and Phil made plenty of space on the wing and who should be there to finish....... it was Jim. The 30 minutes of watching the 1st half (or was he in the bar for a swift half?) meant he had an abundance of energy and was able to take another good pass and score the winning try in the corner.
A few more attacks from both sides went nowhere and the game was brought to an end. Final score 4-3 to the Dad's. Bragging rights for another year until the U11 game in May 2015. I’m sure the tackles will be even fiercer in this match.
Handshakes all round and a big thanks to Chris O for reffing it in a very fair fashion and preventing too many kids from being snapped in half, or too many Dad's from having to take a sickie from work on Monday due to various injuries.
Presentations of certificates and medals followed with Gloucester and Samoan legend Terry Fanolua being on hand to do the honours. It was very good of him to come in at short notice and show his support of local grass roots rugby. Billy Twelvetrees went to great lengths to break his leg last week to avoid signing 200 autographs - get well soon Billy and see you next year. When you came last year you got a call up to Lions tour so we are a good luck charm for you - honest !
As well as the kids receiving souvenirs for the season there were big thank you’s and bottles of scotch to the coaches Jo and Phil and admin guru Chris J. Chris O and Mark S got crates of beer for their help with supporting the coaching and Sam and Russell also got gifts for their support in the background doing dirty tasks like washing and concocting accurate and honest website material. It might be said the gift of beer from the parents has gone a long way to making sure the match report shows a 4-3 victory to the parents ;-)
Terry stayed behind and posed for photos and signed the kids certificates. Jedd towered over him so had Terry shrunk 2 foot this season or had Jedd grown again? I know where my money lies thanks to Jedds elbow to my chops during the earlier game!
Now it was over to the main presentation area with all the age groups. When it came to our turn we were proud to announce that Finn (sorry Schalk Burger) had won the highly sought after award of Players Player - not just for his tackling but his overall play.
Most Improved Player award was a hard choice because all the kids had made great progress this year - especially the new ones like both Lewis', Tom S and Edgar. Jo announced it was Archie who had won the accolade and he came up to receive his trophy from Terry Fanolua. Jim was trying to claim credit for this due to his man-of-the-match and most-improved-Dad performance in the Dad's game but as the trophy was already inscribed with Archie's name he had won it on merit.
Last award was for Coaches Player and as Jo and Phil said this was always a tough call with the ability and camaraderie we have within the squad. William was the deserved winner of this trophy with his ability in leading the back play.
As the awards ceremony drew to a close special thanks (and flowers) were given to both Nicky and Sharon for their unrelenting work with supporting the Mini and Junior section develop from strength to strength.
The kids then disappeared off to run the bungee challenge or climb the wall from Warehouse, interspersed with chips, burgers and cakes. Who says rugby keeps you fit and healthy!
So that brought the 2013-2014 season to a close. Here's to more fun and great rugby next year in the Under 11's. See you all in September.