U10 Weymouth Festival Day 1
By russell vale
Day 1 of the Weymouth Festival. Windy Weather but great rugby
Nothing much to report from the Friday night. Staggered turn up times by the parents who spent the evening in the bar and stage entertainment areas while the kids bedecked in their blue tour t-shirts spent the national debt on the 2p pusher machines in the arcade and then ran around outside playing games on the climbing frames. Luckily no injuries. That would wait until Sunday.
Saturday was the first day of the festival and two things were going to cause us problems today:
1) The new rules that gave us 8-a-side rugby with uncontested scrums, no lineouts, and limited rucking. And then the restrictions on how to tackle players and do mauls etc. A 5 minute crash course by Jo was enough to get the kids ready for battle.
2) The weather - the winds were howling and the gazebos were straining at the guy ropes. Luckily our cheapy gazebo survived better than the nice expensive one next door that snapped into many pieces !
Even before we got into the rugby games there were stories emerging of the antics people were getting upto on tour. This time it wasn't the players that were misbehaving but one of the parents. Winger Lewis' dad Mark had been caught in the Ladies toilet at nearby Sainsburys and wasn't able to leave his throne in the cubicle until all the other ladies had left the 'facilities'. It’s hard enough mis-reading the Male and Female signs but what was more disturbing is that this was not the first time he had made this mistake. What wasn't clear through the rumour mill if it was the 3rd time this weekend, or the 3rd time in his life. It all put a smile on our face though.
So let the games begin…….
Stroud 2-0 Swanage
The 1st game got off to a dodgy start with our unaccompanied gazebo deciding to lose its roof. Anyway we are here for the rugby.....
Stroud started well and Finn scored in the 3rd minute for a well deserved lead. We kept attacking with Arthur and Finn getting held up by good Swanage defending. Swanage managed attacks of their own but typically strong Finn tackling stopped them in their tracks - mainly because he was lifting them up and forcing them back so they were running cartoon style with no legs on the floor !
The 2nd half started with a good Swanage attacking move out to the wing. Alex went in for the tackle and unfortunately got a face full of unintentional Swanage head so got subbed off with nose and teeth injuries. Saved by the gum shield springs to mind...
Later in the 2nd half William stole the ball while making a tackle and Laurie took it on for a good gain and eventually the ball was given to Rory and he went on a powerful run to give Stroud a well deserved 2-0 victory. In hindsight we think the victory was partly due to the Blue and White mohican hair cut and dye that Tom S was sporting. By the end of the game this had disappeared, probably to permanently stain the Swanage shirts and skins and save Phil's caravan from a messy end-of-day cleanup.
Evesham Velociraptors 4-1 Stroud
So dinosaurs are playing rugby. Excellent.
Stroud were back to a full squad with Tom H and Ryan finally allowed to play after the delay getting the RFU and festival forms approved. Archie had a rest from scrum half and Tom H took over.
Finn was not to be scared by the well drilled Evesham team and kept up his strong tackling performances. Evesham soon scored though with a good passing move. Tom O was looking very sharp in the forwards and keeping them under pressure from the penalty restarts with well timed tackles. Evesham carried on their good play and were rewarded with a 2nd try at the end of the half.
The 2nd half was a repeat of the first. Stroud kept on attacking and passing the ball through all the backs but good defence from Evesham prevented tries from Lewis. Tom H was organising the forwards well and getting the ball out to the backs for them to work their magic. Jedd was working hard with his powerful runs from the dead ball restarts. Ryan was having a good game with tackling and poaching the turnovers. In the 8th minute Evesham scored their 3rd try. Straight after they scored their 4th try. These dinosaurs can run fast.......but not as fast as Lewis C who on the last play of the game benefited from good ball handling skills by Tom H, Alex and Ryan to get the ball in his own 22 but run the length of the pitch for a consolation try to make it 4-1 to Evesham.
Evesham Megaladons 0-2 Stroud
Just when we thought dinosuars were extinct another group rumbled onto the pitch for a game. This time the ferocious Megaladons. Could Stroud tame them?
The game started with Rory (quite apt name for playing against dinosaurs) having a good run. Laurie and Rory were both playing well and making good progress with the ball but also stopping Evesham attacks with well timed tackles. Lewis in the forwards was also putting in a good shift. In the backs they were passing the ball well and Arthur and William were tackling well.
In the 2nd half in the 5th minute Arthur scored in the corner. Soon after this was followed up by a great William run and a pass to Tom O to finish it off and make it 2-0 to Stroud. This was Tom O's best game of the festival as he was all over the place, but it was only made possible by Laurie having an equally great game and them supporting each other at the breakdown. The game finished with another crunching Finn tackle and Evesham turnover and we were happy to say that we had finally made the dinosaurs extinct !
East Grinstead (EG) 2-2 Stroud
Finn started as he finished the last game with another big tackle and turnover. William passed the ball out to Lewis C on the wing and he went on a long run but a last gasp tackle by an EG player prevented a try. Unfortunately their player was hurt in the tackle but quickly bounced back to the applause of everyone. In the 3rd minute from a penalty restart William went down the line to score the first try to give Stroud a well deserved 1-0 lead. EG were a feisty lot and didn't back down. They had a try disallowed due to handing off in the tackle. Two more EG runs were penalised with more hand-offs. Stroud were hanging on with desperation but organised defending and just as we thought we had escaped EG scored on last play of half to make it 1-1.
The 2nd half was all EG. They kept attacking and good tackling by Alex, Laurie, Edgar and Ryan kept the game level. EG kept attacking though and in the 8th minute they were rewarded with a try to give them a 2-1 lead. Just as we thought it was all with Stroud camped on their own goal line under heavy pressure Laurie managed to steal the ball a good tackle-strip off the ball. The ball was recycled through the backs and Alex threw a long pass to Lewis and the rest is history. Lewis took off and ran the length off the pitch to get an equalising try. Final whistle blew making it 2-2.
Reading Tigers 0-6 Stroud
Stroud scored straight from the start with William scoring a try in the corner in first 20 seconds. Could little 'ole Stroud hang on and defeat the big bad Reading ? Are Tigers better than Sharks (answer to that tomorrow).
Tom S was having a great game with stealing the ball in the rucks. William had a long run who then passed in to Laurie. He then passed it onto Archie who scored a try in the corner to make it 2-0. With the last play of the half Stroud kept attacking and Finn scored in the corner for 3-0.
In the 2nd half it was more Stroud dominance. Another great move by the backs with William and Arthur exchanging good passes and then Lewis C finishing it off from long distance for 4-0. In the 7th minute there was even better to come from the backs. They worked it up the pitch and with the final move William gave Arthur a reverse pass and Arthur cut back against the defence to score another long try untouched.
To their credit Reading would not give up and kept attacking. They were camped on the Stroud line but somehow Stroud turned it over and the ball came out to Archie and he ran the length of the pitch to score the longest try of the game - and there were a lot of long runs ! Final score 6-0 to Stroud.
So at the halfway stage of the festival Stroud were playing great rugby and had a won 3, drew 1, lost 1 record.
The kids celebrated by playing with the Zorb balls and practicing their tackling technique. In one of the pictures you'll see the new look Stroud front row, with an upside Ryan as scrum half !
It was back to the holiday centre where a lot of the kids took over the swimming pool and continued their team bonding activities. Even the life guards took their own lives in their hands by baiting them and exchanging splashes. William lost out with a head dunking though and it was only the strength of the life guards hands that stopped him getting thrown in the pool as the kids ganged up on him. Didn't the staff realise it was a rugby team with Jedd leading the good-natured mayhem?
A communal evening meal and drinks session was hosted by the Sam and Mark. Thanks for their generous hospitality and all the food people brought along - even Steve with his 90 minute chicken wings ! The kids demolished pizza, burgers and chips. Then we demolished part of the caravan by Jim moving too quickly (but never as quickly as Archie) and affecting the caravans centre of gravity and one of the pictures (Van Gogh or Monet?) falling and hitting one of the youngsters on the head. Luckily nothing a coca cola couldn't fix.
The kids then proceeded to run around outside and in the entertainment bar area for the next 3 hours while the parents continued their bonding process over pizza, pizza, more pizza, chicken wings, chicken legs, more pizza, and the odd tomato to help our Atkins Diet. You get the drift. Did I forget the beer and wine. That goes without saying.....
As if the kids weren't pizza'd out enough they proceeded to on their own buy a pizza from Papa Johns (thanks Lewis). J20's and lemonade were the drinks of choice from the bar. They are Under 10's so the drinking games will have to wait until the next tour....
The kids were having a whale of a time in the entertainment complex and started disco dancing to impress the girls. Not the ones of their own age but the girl band singing on the stage! Good effort lads.... If this is the way they behave on their first tour I wonder what will be the damage on the one when they are 18 years old?
As the clock turned 11 people started to collect children and go home. Would the late night affect their rugby skills on Sunday?