Forwards are the Stars vs Bredon
Stroud U14s return to winning ways with powerful display led by the pack
It was a slippery morning that awaited the players. Could Stroud get back to winning ways and remove the bitter taste of defeat after the narrow loss vs Matson last week?
The visitors to Fromehall were our friends from Bredon Star. A team we had lost to last year so would be a tough challenge, but another opportunity to take a step forward against good opposition.
A heavy sticky pitch was going to put pay to fast attacking moves and quick changes of direction. As well as oodles of mud it was decorated with the feathery remains of a bird…possibly a left over from Sauce, Lucas and Jedd’s night out at Stroud Goodwill evening on Friday. Was it KFC, a chicken kebab, or a turkey and stuffing roll they had opted for after 3 cans of soda? Either way no goodwill left for the bird involved. More on our avian friend later……
It was a day for forwards to stick the ball up their jumper Berry Hill style and run through and over, but not around, their opposite numbers.
Forwards: Stoner, Orgy, Lucas, Darion, Laurie, Sauce, Euan, Mr T
Backs: Hilly, Will, Dave, Keyan, Billy, Fin, Alex
Subs: Flash, Nibbler, Haydn, Jedd, Callum
Bredon kicked off and Sauce ran the ball back. Good clearout from Orgy and Darion gave clean ball to Hilly who launched an attacking move to the right through all the backs hands. Fin was eventually hauled down but more good play from the forwards gave the backs another attacking opportunity. This time Will went for the kick option and a slippy ball was knocked on by the Bredon full back. Stroud won the resulting scrum and ran right. Dave kicked for the try line but Bredon tracked back well and kicked themselves. Alex controlled the squirming ball and ran down the right wing. The resultant ruck was another opportunity for Lucas and Stoner to knock their opponents into next week. The ball came out left and Will quickly passed onto the rest of the backs giving Billy a chance to scamper down the left wing which he did to repeat his record of last week and score a try with his first touch of the ball. The kick was missed to keep the score at 5-0 but Stroud had started well, led by the forwards.
Bredon kicked off and Sauce was again leading the charge back with a bruising run. The next few phases were typified with ruck, good clear-out and smash-it-up the centre runs by Dave and Keyan. Bredon recovered another Dave gruber kick but knocked on in contact from a Stoner tackle. Mr T bravely dived on the ball to secure possession and setup some Rhino runs from Laurie and Euan. Bredon were up for the challenge though and forced their own turnover which gave their backs chance to shine. They ran out powerfully but Billy put in a great tackle that led to an injury stoppage. Bredon had a scrum restart and attacked left. Fin forced them out of play giving Stroud a lineout. Orgys perfect throw found the jumper and a driving maul gave Hilly good ball to launch the backs again. More quick hands with a perfectly timed offload from Alex to Billy gave Billy another gap down the left wing that he exploited and had enough time to run it under the posts as well for an easy conversion. 12-0 to Stroud. Rugby historian Lucas had pulled out his RFU Xmas Annual and was heard announcing that Billy was in line for a Guinness world record if he could score 4 tries in his first 2 games for a new team. Only Kiwi Jonah Lomu was ahead of him in the list of leading performers from a winger…..
Mr T caught the kick off and ran it back strongly. Sauce secured the ball by taking out the Bredon flanker who was threatening a turnover. The backs attacked again and Will kicked for the gap. Bredon ran it back well until Dave and Fin combined to tackle their big runner. Stroud won the turnover with Orgy snaffling the loose ball. Dave up the right wing threatened to score but Bredon were organised in defense and forced him to check back inside where he was chopped down. This set up a great position for the forwards and they did repeated Rhino calls with Euan, Mr T and Sauce all making good yardage. Stroud closed to within 5 metres of the try line so Hilly saw his chance. He donned his miners helmet, turned on the lamp, dug out the ball and dived for a gap leading underground – beneath 2 strong props framing the mine entrance…. Smash – the tunnel collapsed – just like a North Korean nuclear test. As the fallout settled Hilly spun to the ground and remembered team first mentality and set the ball back over personal body protection. No 9 was the shout. Lucas took the responsibility and did a Rhino call and was close to scoring but the ball squirmed loose and Bredon kicked clear. Finn caught the ball and Stroud attacked again. Now it was Laurie and Euan leading the attacking runs. More Bredon players got sucked into the rucks and this gave Keyan the chance to smash his way over the line for the 3rd try of the game. Good conversion gave Stroud a 19-0 lead.
Keyan was right back in action at the kickoff with a good run back. Mr T again dived on a loose ball at the ruck and this gave Finn an attacking opportunity. He swerved down the right wing at pace. As he got slowed up in contact he passed back inside to Keyan who was running a great supporting line. Bredon were still defending well though and managed to haul him down but it was all in vain as the ball popped out to Stoner who forced his way over the line in the right corner for a great team try and showing the need to support the runners at every opportunity. Kick from wide was missed but Stroud were now leading 24-0.
Hilly did the kickoff runback and Lucas again did the correct Rhino call and made good yardage. A few phases later and Luca took the ‘A’ ball at pace and smashed over halfway. Bredon were showing great character though with big tackles and combative rucks. They were rewarded with turnover ball and this gave them another chance to attack down the wings. First they came right. Then reset, ruck and go again. Back out to the left. They squeezed down the wing and Alex was waiting to unleash a try saving tackle but Bredon improvised and instead cleverly kicked over his head and chased down the bouncing ball and scored a well deserved try in the corner. The skill to do that at pace was immense and was just like watching our captain doing it to our opponents most weekends. A great kick from out wide closed the score to 24-7 and Bredon went into half time on a high.
Half time: Stroud 24 – 7 Bredon Star
Stroud kicked off and Bredon ran the ball back well but Jedd was waiting with a strong tackle that forced a turnover. Dave and Fin immediately saw it as an opportunity to attack back and were unlucky to be penalised for a forward pass. Bredon won their scrum and attacked right and left. A great move through 5 sets of hands nearly breached the Stroud defense but Flash managed to tackle the big Bredon winger and force him into touch. Bredon were on the ascendency and if they’d scored then it could have made the game very interesting. Stroud won their lineout with Jedd showing great jumping and catching skills. His passion for basketball was helping his Sunday rugby performances no end. Just don’t use your tackling skills on the basketball players next match though….
The ball came out to Will and he kicked short over the upcoming defenders. Dave timed his run well to catch the ball. He was soon tackled but the ball was kept alive through Callum and Darion winning the ruck. Nibbler had a strong run on the wing. Next it was Stoners chance to pound through the opposition, followed by Laurie. The ball came out to the backs and Keyan called for a new special move – kick it for the line…. He wellyed it towards the try line and Dave was denied a try by a well positioned Bredon defender touching down first.
Bredon dropped out from the 22. Flash ran the ball back well. Then Darion took the ball on. Good rucking by Callum and Orgy gave Stoner and then Keyan the platform to smash forward for more yards. Stroud were camped on the line and instead of going the ground route with Rhino they took inspiration from the feathers and went airborne with Dave swallow diving into the corner over a desperate tackle and touched down just before his body crashed out of play. The kick was missed but Stroud had re-asserted themselves back into the game at 29-7.
Laurie took the kick off back. Then Darion made a good run. Bredon were tiring under the constant barrage of pounding runs. The ball came out to the left and Keyan turned it up field and scored a try under the posts that was easily converted for a 36-7 lead.
The next phase of the game was quite messy with teams trading runs, tackles, knock-ons and penalties. Haydn and Nibbler did well with their defensive duties and tackling the Bredon runners. Captain Will was leading by example and being quick to put the Bredon backs under pressure when they had attacking scrums or lineouts. Bredon were awarded a penalty and they kicked for touch but missed…..
…..An acrobatic Alex took inspiration from the bird feathers scattered across the pitch and launched himself into the air to keep the ball in play with an acrobatic catch and fly into the opponents half. Just like the poor pigeon that had come to grief courtesy of a fox, Alex too got taken out on the ground and was left to stick himself back together again. While Delia ran onto the pitch to attend to injuries Geoff also saw his opportunity and ran on the pitch to check the remains of the bird plumage and declare that it was in fact a Dodo, Emu or an Albatross and not a common old pigeon from Gloucester docks…. You can’t doubt the integrity of these “spotters” – especially professional ones from WWT. It’s not like I make any errors in my match reports……
Bredon won their lineout but Darion managed to rip the ball loose and run it back himself. Bredon managed to steal the ball back though in next phase. It was a game of pass-the-parcel though because as Bredon set up for another attack they ran into Keyan and he ripped the ball loose and ran under the posts (kick good) for a 43-7 lead.
The last passage of play was led by Nibbler who ran the kick off back well. Haydn and Lucas won the ruck. Flash passed quickly to Will. He then passed long to Mr T who was pretending to be a centre. He took the ball on and then showed backs prowess with a superb long pass option and found Dave who sprinted down the right wing and scored under the posts for the final try of the game (kick good).
Full time: Stroud 50 – 7 Bredon Star
Both teams formed tunnels and applauded each other off the pitch. Bredon had been a combative team and the score didn’t do them justice for the way they played the game offensively and defensively. It was the strong performance from the Stroud forwards that had been the difference which gave the backs good attacking ball to use. And when the forwards kept it in-house with Rhino runs they had made big holes in the Bredon defense that the backs then exploited.
Parents and players then retreated to the clubhouse to enjoy lavish helpings of pasta and sausage. The gourmet option of pigeon, Dodo, albatross or emu was still in negotiation with Geoff so we all gave up, drank beer and went home to reflect on a good team performance.
We look forward to playing Bredon again later on in the season as they are a friendly club with good banter between players, coaches and parents. We even learnt a tip that their man-of-the-match is made to sweep the changing rooms – like that tradition. Their professionalism was displayed again as each player sporting club shirt and tie wolfed down his food and then made a bee-line to say thanks to their coach and ask for tips on how they could improve at training next time. Best of luck for the remainder of the season.