Stroud Win 7’s Tournament at First Attempt with Free Flowing Rugby
Stroud U13’s win the Cotswold Challenge No Cup Event at Dursley
It was their first ever 7’s tournament and true to form Stroud U13’s brought about 24 kids to Dursley. Mark and Phil were having kittens working out the sub rotations until they realised they had 2 squads to use and split them evenly down the middle.
Mark’s team were Stroud Blues. Phil’s team were called Stroud Reds – in homage to his top drawer Friday night adult touch team that played 7’s in their own unique fashion. Jo had 2 hours of reffing to endure so he was just red in the face at the thought of it.
It was a 3 team tournament including Dursley and Tetbury with each team entering 2 squads so there were 5 games for each squad to look forward to. The sun was out, the pitch was rock hard and there was no wind or rain to ruin the match reporters notes. He was in his element – 9 games to write up, a few weeks of no reports so plenty of pent up writing energy, and a work trip to France later in the day to give him ample time to write up the reports – 1 hour at Birmingham airport, an hour on the plane, and 3 hours queueing at French customs at the Brexit queue – plus then 6 hours of security checks due to being the French national elections.
So let the epic report begin….
Stroud Reds: Alex, Arthur, Stoner, Sauce, Finn, Keyan, Liam, Joe, Nibbler, Callum, Jedd
Stroud Blue: Will, Dave, Mr T, Orgy, Eddie, Darion, Laurie, Lucas, Archie, Flash, Hilly, Edgar
Reds Game 1 vs Dursley Lions
Finn scored right for 1-0, the Keyan scored for 2-0. Alex ran one in for 3-0. The whistle went and players swapped ends. The reporter looked up in bemusement at so much action in 5 minutes and so little notes. The 2nd half note taking would have to be better….
Keyan up the centre for try 4, then left for number 5. Joe then saw his chance and ran right for try 6. Finally a ball bounced loose and Keyan dived on it for try 7. And then the full time whistle went. So that’s why its called 7’s rugby because they blow the whistle after 7 tries. Still the match reporter was confused with this new format game. It’s like watching 20-20 cricket when you are used to a 5 day test match. But it was super quick which meant no time to write notes and just admire the skills on show.
Final Score: Stroud Reds 7 – 0 Dursley Lions
Blues Game 1 vs Tetbury 2’s
Now the reporter was used to the speed of the game he sharpened his pencil in preparation for a Dave bombardment of the try line. Dave scores right and then scores left for 2-0. Even though I had predicted the plays I still didn’t have time to write up all the build up play! Then a shock and Tetbury score to make it 2-1 at the half.
Normal service resumed and Dave got his hat trick try at start of 2nd half, but then Tetbury took advantage of a disjointed defensive line and scored 2 tries themselves to make it 3-3 at the full time whistle and Stroud had let victory slip away.
Final Score: Stroud Blues 3 – 3 Tetbury 2’s
Game 2: Stroud Blues vs Stroud Reds
This was the game the kids and parents were really looking forward to. Would it be Hamilton vs Rosberg on 1st corner and take each other out or would the team mates be nice to each other to make sure they still had a fit squad for the Barnstaple tour next weekend?
Keyan scored first for the Blues straight up the middle. Soon after Arthur exploited a similar gap and made it 2-0 to Reds at the half. In between times the kids went at each other hammer and tongs showing their attacking and defensive skills in equal measure.
Then in the 2nd half Dave scored on the right for the Blues to make it 2-1 and put the pressure back on the Reds. It was all to no avail though as 1st Keyan and then Finn scored 2 more tries for the Reds to close out the game.
Final Score: Stroud Blues 1 – 4 Stroud Reds
Blues Game 3 vs Dursley Lions
It was Blues 3rd game on the trot in the hot Saharan conditions that Dursley had served up for us today on their rock hard cracked pitch. Water was consumed to keep the kids going and Delia was administering copious amounts of Vaseline, plasters and bandages and gels to keep the kids bodies intact.
The game kicked off and Archie scored up the middle for 1-0. Then Dave right for 2, Will left for 3, back to Dave on the right for try 4. The ref then stopped the game for more half time refreshments.
2nd half started with a Dursley try which Dave soon nullified on the right for try 5 and then an Arsenal style stalemate broke out with no more scoring.
Final Score: Stroud Reds 5 – 1 Dursley Lions
Reds Game 3 vs Tetbury 1’s
This game was a titanic battle. Tetbury started the best and managed to keep the pressure on Stroud, eventually rewarded with a try. Half time came and went and encouraging words from the coaches fired up the boys, plus Keyan returning from a 1st aid session would make the 2nd half interesting.
Crash, Bang, Wallop ! Keyan scored 3 tries – 2 up the middle and one down the left and Tetbury were left stunned at the full time whistle. How did the game disappear so quick in 5 minutes – that’s 7’s rugby for you Stroud style!
Final Score: Stroud Reds 3 – 1 Tetbury 1’s
Now it was going to get tough – both teams were playing at the same time – how would the reporter keep his immaculate scoring charts upto date – by standing in the middle and relying on the player shouts to see who scored!
Blues Game 4 vs Tetbury 1’s
Tetbury scored first but it was cancelled out by a Dave score down the right flank for 1-1. 2nd half was a strange affair. Tetbury scored 1st for a 2-1 lead. Then Tetbury pressured again and were twice held up in the Stroud try area with good defensive play. Tetbury were rewarded with a free knock on as they ran left and scored their 3rd try. So this 7’s lark is very strange with these rules that if you get over the try line twice it means you have a free knock on that the ref won’t penalise. Never mind. Dave ran back another try soon after to close the game to 3-2 but the full time whistle went and Stroud were denied another attacking opportunity.
Final Score: Stroud Blues 2 – 3 Tetbury 1’s
At this point of the article the match reporter is now flying at 30,000 feet towards France with work so best get into the correct language mode…..
Rouge Jeu Quatre (Reds Game 4) vs Dursley Tigres
Arthur was first to score – his impressively blood stained and bandaged knee deterring anyone from tackling him. Keyan then scored on the right. Next it was 7’s maestro Jedd to run up the left wing taking 3 players with him. As he was looking to carry tackler number 4 he selflessly passed inside to Alex who scored try #3. Then Arthur scored again to make it 4-0 at the half.
2nd half was more of the same. Joe run left for 5-0, then Joe repeated again for 6-0. Keyan was feeling a bit left out so he scored the 7th try and then Jedd went for another bullocking run and as Dursley sent all 7 tacklers after him he offloaded to Joe who scored try #8. So what happened to the ref stopping the game after 7 tries?
Final Score: Stroud Reds 8 – 0 Dursley Tigers
Rouge Jeu Cinq (Reds Game 5) vs Tetbury Les Deux
Would the Reds win to remain undefeated? Finn scored first, soon followed by Keyan with try 2. Then Arthur ran the length of the pitch from the kick-off for 3-0. Then Keyan for try #4 at the half time whistle. Pressure off but could they still play great rugby in the 2nd half?
Yes of course they could ! In the try of the day Liam took charge of the ball and ran over 2 players. As he tired he passed to Stoner who kept the attack going to the right and threatened to score but great defending stopped him short. It didn’t matter though because Keyan offered perfect support and scored try #5 in right corner to applause from all sets of parents.
Next it was Joe to score with try 6. Then another great attack the length of the pitch and Stoner again got caught by a great cover tackle but Liam had kept going and was rewarded with the ball and was charging to the line when the ref alleged “dropped shoulder”. So another bizarre rule in 7’s that you have to run standing up face on to offer a good target to the tacklers ! It didn’t matter because Stroud forced a turnover and Finn scored in left corner for try #7 – and the full time whistle.
Final Score: Stroud Reds 7 – 0 Tetbury 2’s
Bleu Jeu Cinq (Blues Game 5) vs Dursley Tigres
Could the Blues finish on a high and show their high octane rugby as well – of course they could….
Mr T scored first with a break down the left wing and as he waited for supporting runners he realised he could score himself so sprinted the rest of the pitch for 1-0 lead. Then Archie caught Will’s perfect kick off and somehow found a gap in the centre and touched down for 2-0. Then it was a near repeat but for Dave to catch the ball and this time pass it back to the left for Will to score for 3-0. Another great move was rewarded with Will passing to Mr T and as we bayed for him to run the length of pitch again he instead threw a precision long pass to the right to give Dave an easy run in for 4-0.
Dursley responded well though and scored for 4-1. Didn’t matter though as Archie scored left again, followed by Dave to the right, and then Will up the middle for 7-1 Stroud lead. It still wasn’t finished though as Dave scored right and then Dursley scored themselves to make it a final score of 8-2.
Final Score: Stroud Blues 8 – 2 Dursley Tigers
So not everyone got a mention in the report due to the frantic nature of the games but everyone contributed at some point with great runs, or try saving tackles or winning turnovers. Special mention goes to:
- Eddie for having some great runs
- Hilly for running the length of the pitch and somehow being denied a try
- Laurie and Darion for equally having some strong runs
- Poor Sauce for being in the right place supporting an attack and getting his knee blown out as a reward.
- And who did the only in-game kick in the games – where ball possession is paramount? Was it our fly halves or scrum halves or sweepers? Nope it was forward Keyan who skied it 4 miles up, 3 yards forward and 30 yards right. Always something to improve in your game Keyan………
Encouraging words for all the players were offered from the coaching staff as everyone had played really well. Even more impressive considering the most training we’d had on this was 1 hour on Friday night for half of the squad.
A ceremony was held for the Cotswold Challenge No Cup and true to name no Cup was offered. Instead the unbeaten Stroud Reds were crowned as winners and Liam celebrated with his hot dog vouchers. More of the same next year hopefully - but with softer ground.
A great time was had by all and thanks to Dursley for hosting this event as it was great fun for all and hopefully no long term lasting injuries as most players appeared to be patched up OK by end and itching to get back on the pitch for more action.
So what did we learn today?
- We are good at 7’s rugby
- Dursley transformed itself to the South African Savannah with Stroud playing Springbok inspired rugby
- Hard ground causes Delia to work overtime
- Don’t travel to France on a Sunday night because I had a mare getting lost on the trains/metro as they shut it down early due to elections or another strike over British Lamb! But true to form I stayed up late to finish the report once I got the hotel wifi on-line.
Stroud Reds 7 – 0 Dursley Lions............Stroud Blues 5 – 1 Dursley Lions
Stroud Reds 8 – 0 Dursley Tigers...........Stroud Blues 8 – 2 Dursley Tigers
Stroud Reds 3 – 1 Tetbury 1’s................Stroud Blues 2 – 3 Tetbury 1’s
Stroud Reds 7 – 0 Tetbury 2’s ................Stroud Blues 3 – 3 Tetbury 2’s
...................................Stroud Reds 4 – 1 Stroud Blues
Won 5, Lost 0............................................Won 2, Lost 2, Drew 1
Scored: 29 Against: 2...............................Scored: 19 Against: 13
Now to look forward to Barnstaple Festival and 2 days of the 13-a-side version - plus the parents writing their own match reports.