New Season – Full Size Pitch – Same Result
Stroud U14s have a Slow Start and Fast Finish
First game of the season and a great turnout by Stroud U14s. Everyone present except for Ed the Sailor and injured Callum (who was still there for the banter and food).
The large Fromehall pitch was waiting for their first run-out on a full size pitch with 2 extra forwards bringing them to full compliment of 15. The pitch was so big Phil and Mark were wondering whether to put 2 rugby Flankers on the pitch to cover the extra yards or call in the 2 Ukraine SU27 Flanker planes that visited Fairford airshow over the summer. Even line-outs were back so giving Orgy chance to show the accuracy of hitting his jumpers with his precision guided missiles.
Forwards: Stoner, Orgy, Liam, Mr T, Lucas, Sauce, Laurie, Keyan
Backs: Hilly, Will, Dave, Arthur, Joe, Nibbler, Alex
Subs: Darrion, Jed, Euan, Haydn, Tom, Flash, Ryan, Finn, Josh
Cheltenham Tigers kicked off first and Keyan returned the kick. A few phases later and Stroud attacked through the backs down the left but Nibbler was unlucky to knock on a low pass on half way. Cheltenham won their scrum and attacked left. Dave and Sauce put in quick tackles but Cheltenhams powerful forwards recycled the ball quickly and the attack carried on down the left wing. Full back Alex put in a try saving tackle but the inevitable happened and the Tigers won the ruck and scored in the left corner. The conversion kick was missed but Tigers lead 5-0.
Will kicked off and Tigers ran the ball down the left wing and were forced out of play. Stroud won their lineout but Hilly was mugged by the Tigers before he had chance to get the ball out to Will and one of their pre-planned backs moves. Stroud kept possession though and Will kicked long and Joe recovered the kick. Liam went on a rumbling run and made good yardage. The ball came out through the backs but Stroud were penalised at the next breakdown. Cheltenham kicked for touch and won their lineout. They attacked left again and worked their way close to the Stroud line. Stroud thought they had kept them out but one final surge and the Tigers scored from the base of the ruck. Another missed kick made the score 10-0.
Stroud had started slow – could they wake up and show their skills?
Will kicked long and Mr T did a good kick chase and tackle. Euan then showed his tackling skills. Tigers had a penalty though which they ran and then kicked out of hand for Joe to run back. Dave and Keyan then interchanged passes and got into the 22. Stroud were getting a lot better at the rucks and winning clean ball. Liam benefitted first, then Stoner who was unlucky to knockon as we thought we were going to score. Tigers won their scrum and kicked long. Alex ran the ball back and even found enough time at base of ruck to remember to wriggle a few times to make a better body position. This gave the forwards more space to smash the Tigers off the ruck. Keyan and Laurie made good yardage and won a penalty. Mr T won the lineout and the backs attacked left and right. Tigers won a turnover and kicked the ball away but Alex caught cleanly and ran it back into the right corner. He was closed down by the line but passed inside to Joe who scored Stroud’s first try of the U14 season. Conversion missed from out wide to close to 10-5.
Tigers kicked off and Joe caught cleanly and passed to Keyan who made good distance down the right wing. The ball was recycled back to the left and Will improvised with a gruber kick. Under pressure Tigers gruber kicked back but Keyan picked it up and ran down the left but was forced out of play in the 22. Tigers won their lineout and opted to run out but Arthur tackled and won the turnover. Quick ball to the right by Hilly set Stoner up for a punishing run towards the post. He was hauled down short but a Dave, Alex, Keyan combo of quick sharp passes broke the Tigers line and Keyan scored an equalising try on the right. No conversion left the score at 10-10 and Stroud were growing in confidence.
Tigers kickoff and a Liam run back. Will saw a gap and kicked long for touch. Tigers won their lineout but a quick reaction from Arthur and Will won a turnover. The teams traded attacks and turnovers for a few phases until it was punctured with a trademark Dave break through run from halfway, sidestep of full back and a score close to the posts. Will kicked the conversion for a 17-10 lead.
Half time: Stroud 17- 10 Cheltenham Tigers
More subs were taken at the half. Too many for me to keep on top of, but we were thankful for having plenty of subs because it kept fresh legs on the pitch and would make a difference in the 2nd half as the Tigers would tire with less subs to rotate in.
Stroud kicked too short and Tigers won the scrum back on half way. Strong pushes from the forwards forced a few resets. Tigers eventually got clean ball and kicked for a gap but Fin was there to run it back. He cut inside and the ball was kept alive with good forward play by Darrion and Euan. Dave and Keyan attacked left and was eventually closed down in the 22. Josh supported well and kept the move going but ran out of space so a deft inside pass to Alex gave him chance to exploit a small gap and touch down. A missed conversion from out wide left the score at 22-10 but Stroud were now starting to take control in all phases of the game. Their mid-week Touch sessions were paying dividends with players running good support lines and covering large areas of the pitch at pace.
Tigers kicked off and an awkward catch was knocked on. Tigers won the scrum but lost the ball in the next tackle/ruck with Lucas putting in a big tackle. Sauce picked up the loose ball and attacked well. He was covering as much yardage and doing as much dirty work as his Flanker Dad did most Saturdays on the same pitch. Darrions turn next with a good run. Dave took the ball on down the right and a pass out of the back of hand released Fin to tiptoe down the wing but eventually forced out of play. Tigers won their lineout and attacked themselves but stout tackling kept them pinned in their half. Another pair of bendy Orgy hands at the ruck won a turnover that Josh benefited from. He attacked right, good timing on a pass to Alex who kept the move going. As two defenders closed in he waited for the last second and then passed to Dave who accelerated down the right flank and got over the line but then made the extra effort to put it down under the posts so giving Will an easy conversion for 29-10 lead.
Tigers kick off and another Fin run back. Then some more improv with Will doing a short kick for Stoner to gather up and keep barrelling towards the Tigers try line. He was eventually hauled down by the try line with a 360 spin and a bounce on his head. Good support was there to win the ball though and somehow Stoner emerged at the base of his own ruck with the ball and scored a try that Will converted for a 36-10 lead. More subs were taken to give some of the newer players chance to get some well earnt minutes on the pitch.
The final quarter of the game was split equally between both teams. Highlights as follows:
- New Tom with his first carries as a Stroud player
- Twins Euan and Haydn making their Stroud debut and winning good ball at a sequence of rucks
- Flanker Sauce making a number of big tackles and also clearing out players in a style his Dad would be proud of
- Fellow Flanker Laurie revelling in his role of hard carrying and strong tackling and clearing out
- Fin kicking up the wing from the Stroud 22 and somehow Keyan then showing his football prowess with another 3 or 4 kicks to keep the ball alive and picking it up to score to the amusement of all watching, but then be called back for illegal hands to keep a defender away. Will PSG come in with a £200 million deal to sign Keyan up to join Neymar up front for a destructive front line?
- Flash being too perfect with his timing after a kick chase to knock the defender off the ball and give Dave another cancelled-out try.
- Flash showing great tackle technique to bring down the big Tigers 2nd row Alex
- Great sportsmanship between Jed and his Marling team-mate Tiger Alex that they knocked lumps out of each other at breakdowns but then picked each other up after the ball had gone out to the forwards.
- Ryan and Nibbler combining well in the backs with good runs.
In the last passage of play Tigers showed their resilience by attacking well and getting into the Stroud 22 and only thwarted by a last ditch Dave tackle. Tigers kept things tight with pick and roll moves with the forwards. Then as Stroud got sucked in defensively they threw the ball out wide for their winger to score in the left corner for a well-deserved try. The conversion was missed and the full time whistle was blown and the players formed tunnels and congratulated each other.
Full time: Stroud 36- 15 Cheltenham Tigers
Team debrief was held and Stroud were reminded how they needed to start fast in all games and not give themselves a hole to climb out of. A typical first game with great skill, good effort, and a few mistakes to work on. Good fitness though to cover the pitch as much as they did and having a ton of subs definitely helped in that area!
The players got showered and put on club shirt and tie and wolfed down a few plates of food. Thanks to the catering Mums for their hard work off the pitch. The players even got rewarded for their efforts from Santa Hayes with Lions rugby hats. Next week its Tewksbury at home and chance to beat their bogey team. If they do what treats can Chris provide next week as a reward ?