Bath "Rec" Mothers Day Road Trip Day out
By russell vale
Stroud U14s lose to a well drilled Bath squad
It was Mothers Day and the Dads had volunteered to do the match day meal cooking to give the Mums a morning off. When they realised the size of the task at hand and 40 kids and 40 Mums looking for a slap up meal Rick devised a plan. He was seen down the clubhouse on Friday night leaving the taps running and sprinklers on the pitch. Saturday morning dawned and Fromehall was under 2 ft of water so the home game had to be cancelled and the Dads were off the catering hook. The upside to Lake Stroud was sailor Eddie was able to practice at home and not trapse down to Weymouth. He was celebrating his national sailing award – details here.
Chris H pulled out some miracles on Saturday and managed to get Bath to switch the game to be played at theirs. The kids were excited – a game at Bath Rec. This wouldn’t phase them because the Archway boys had won their EDF cup semi and had a cup final at Kingsholm to look forward to – hopefully against Will and Keyan of St Peters.
Because of the attrition on the Archway bodies, the St Peters boys needing to rest before their cup semi on Monday, and Mothers Day celebrations it was a smaller squad that travelled down the A46 to Bath. The satnavs delivered us to a training pitch and not the hallowed Rec pitch – but it was still going to be a real buzz playing against Bath RFC.
Forwards: Bernie, Orgy, Stoner, Darion, Jedd, Laurie, Euan, Mr T
Backs: Hilly, Ryan, Dave, Billy, Josh, Fin, Alex
Subs: Will, Callum, Nibbler, Haydn
Before the game kicked off the Stroud boys remembered their gifts to their Mums – they turned their shirts inside out to the chants of “No need to wash my kit this week”. It was nothing to do with the clash of blue shirts with Bath.....
Bath kicked off and Euan ran the ball back well. Bath forced a turnover at the ruck though and attacked left where they were awarded a scrum on the Stroud 22. They won the hook and their #8 picked up the ball and powered over the line after a few missed tackles. The kick from wide was missed but Bath were up by 5.
Ryan playing at #10 handled kick off duties. Bath knocked on in the run back in a Laurie tackle. Stroud won their scrum and Dave had a good attacking run. Next it was Alex's turn to break the Bath defensive line but as he looked to off-load a Bath player intercepted it. Stroud were determined to win the ball back and Stoner forced a turnover in a typical punishing tackle. The ball came out to the right and quick hands got the ball to Billy and he showed great pace and body positioning to squeeze down the right wing and then managed to run it under the posts to give Dave an easy conversion and Stroud a 7-5 lead.
Bath kicked off and another Euan run back. Then Jedd made some good ground. Ryan was looking to setup another backs move but he got tip tackled in the offload. Dave saw his chance and kicked long. The full back covered the ball well but a great kick chase forced a turnover with Darion leading the way – mainly with his head as he had to go off injured for a HIA! Delia was the one Mum who would be working hard today. The game restarted with a Bath scrum that they duly won but quickly lost the ball in the backs. Bernie saw his chance and went for a great run. Good rucking from Orgy and Jedd gave good ball to the backs. Hilly’s accurate pass found Ryan and he improvised with a great kick to the corner. He was unlucky that it bounced out the back as the Stroud players chased it down looking to score another try.
Bath took a quick 22 drop out and sent the ball long. Stroud were half asleep and let Bath recover it in the Stroud half. Desperate tackles by Mr T and Dave only slowed down the inevitable and good support lines and offloads from Bath gave them another try under the posts. An easy kick and Bath now leading 12-7.
Stroud kicked off and Mr T put in a powerful tackle. He was loving this #8 role. Bath recycled the ball well though and came out to the left with their pacy winger. He powered down the line but stepped out of play as the easier option vs a Dave tackle. A few choice words though gave Stroud a penalty and Dave kicked for touch. Orgy threw a great lineout ball that Mr T plucked from the sky and set up a driving maul. Bath were under pressure and were penalised. Another good kick for touch and another attacking Stroud lineout but the ball went long and Bath recovered it and attacked right. Alex put in a last gasp tackle and the ball popped forward. Stroud scrum, but Bath pushed Stroud off the ball and set up their own attacks. Good tackles from wingers Fin and Josh slowed down the Bath attack but they edged towards the Stroud line. A great defensive effort from open play and scrums was keeping Bath out though and eventually Stroud stole the ball and Ryan kicked long. Josh was first there with a good tackle. Then Mr T put in a pile driver. Bath were going backwards and resorted to a wide kick. Josh had managed to get back into position and picked up the ball and sprinted down the left wing. He looked sure to score but the Bath full back did a great tackle on his 22.
Bath were awarded a scrum that they won and kicked for touch. Jedd won the Stroud lineout and Stroud attacked. Alex knocked on in the crash ball and Bath had a scrum restart that they duly kicked away. Fin recovered the ball and set up another set of Forwards moves – first Darion and then Jedd. Bath were a master of the black arts though and forced another turnover. They attacked right and last ditch tackles by Josh were not enough and more great support play gave Bath another try under the posts and a 19-7 lead.
Stroud kicked off and Euan was first in with the tackle. More good attacks from Bath forced their way into the Stroud half but more last gasp tackles were saving them. Stroud won a scrum and Dave and Billy attacked out. Mr T then stepped into the fray, followed by Darion. The teams exchanged possession with strong tackles and turnovers. The last passage of play started with a Dave kick, a Fin chase and tackle and a subsequent Bath knock-on to the shrill of the half time whistle.
Half Time: Bath 19 – 7 Stroud
Stroud re-grouped and well earnt substitutions were made. Will came on at #10, Nibbler on the wing, Haydn and Callum into the forwards.
Stroud kicked off and Mr T led the tackles. Bath worked their way out to the right and looked to be in a try scoring position. The right winger saw a shadow on his shoulder and passed out to Jerry Guscott. Oopps, he had made a mistake and saw the grey hair of the silver fox. It was Geoff instead who showed good hands to snaffle the ball, and set off in the opposite direction – like his Berwick swans flying back to Russia to be reacquainted with the snow. It was all a bit comical as he was 5 yards out of play with the rest of the parents. The ref called him back for a Stroud lineout instead.
Jedd caught Orgy's perfect throw and Will kicked long. Bath ran the ball back well – until Stoner knocked the ball loose again in another powerful tackle. Another good scrum on half way gave Stroud clean ball and Will did the perfect pass to ‘Crash-Bang-Wallop’ master Dave who ran through and over a few Bath players to touch down under the posts. Kick good and Stroud closed to 19-14.
Bath kicked short and Hilly bravely took the ball into contact. Callum and Haydn won the ruck and Darion went on a Rhino run. The ball came out to the backs and a long pass to Fin just missed and went out of play. Bath attacked from the lineout and kicked into the dead ball area. Stroud restarted with a 22 drop out. Some badly missed tackles left Alex with a 2 on 1 to defend and all he could do was take out the ball carrier but more great support lines and offloads gave Bath a walk in try under the posts. Another good kick and the lead stretched to 26-14.
It didn’t get any better for Stroud in the next phase of the game. Nibbler did well to recover the kick-off but was bundled out of play. Bath attacked from their lineout and more poor tackling gave them an easy run to the line and a straightforward try. The kick was missed though. 31-14 to the well oiled Bath machine.
Bath took the kickoff and went for Plan B. They kicked away and Alex ran it back. Good support from Callum and Orgy won the ruck and Jedd went Rhino. Then Bernie showed growing confidence and another good run. Stroud's attacking threat was snuffed out though with another turnover and a Bath run back down the left and another try and good kick. The last 5 minutes had been very damaging and Bath had doubled their points and were now pulling away at 38-14.
Stroud never gave up though. They had dug themselves out from deep holes before (remember Minch in October). They didn’t let their heads drop. Instead they tackled with more gusto, and ran the ball with more power. They were rewarded with a loose ball on the Bath line and Josh diving on it and scoring a well deserved try. Wills kick from wide clattered off the post but Stroud were back in with a chance at 38-19.
Dave took the kick return duties and improvised with a long kick back. He chased it down and then went for a gruber kick but the ball squirmed out of play. Bath won their lineout and kicked possession away. Laurie did well to recover the ball and run it back at pace. He was eventually hauled down but Will saw a gap and squeezed down the left flank and then made sure of an easy conversion by scoring under the posts. Unfortunately he squeezed his kick wide – but the deficit was down to 14 and the comeback was still on. 38-24 to Bath.
Mr T ran the kick off back well. Darion then earned some hard yards. The game then broke out into a kicking contest with both teams trying to force a mistake. Stroud made that error and were offside. Bath had a lineout on the Stroud 22 and attacked right through the backs. Alex saw his chance and intercepted a pass and went on an attack. The support wasn’t there though but at least Stroud had gotten control of the ball again.
More disciplined runs from Laurie, Euan and Darion pushed Stroud into the Bath half. Will then kicked for a gap but Bath recovered the ball well – under heavy pressure from Josh. Bath were very mobile around the pitch and took the attack down the left. Dave slowed them down, and then Billy. Finally the Bath prop lumbered towards the line and even though Alex hauled him down the Bath forward showed great hands to offload to another perfectly positioned player who scored under the posts. Another good kick and Bath were the deserved winners at 45-24 as the full time whistle went.
Full Time: Bath 45 – 24 Stroud
The game was closer than the score indicated with that 5 minute spell where Stroud leaked 3 tries being the difference. It was a good display though with great effort put in by everyone and players getting long run-outs to make up for the smaller than normal squad. Stroud had competed well at the breakdown, and showed some good attacking moves in the forwards and backs. Some great tackling in places was let down by some missed tackles and a poor defensive line when the ball came back towards the open side of play.
It was a very enjoyable match to watch though and well worth the drive down from Stroud. We look forward to the return fixture next season. Bath were well drilled and organised as you would expect. They were quick into the tackles and competed well at the breakdown. Good attacking moves and great supporting lines and offloads were a pleasure to watch. From seeing their fixture lists they hammer most teams so it shows how far Stroud U14s have come to be able to give them a competitive fixture.
Many thanks to Bath for being able to host us at such short notice and reffing the game well – they even put on a great chilli for the boys. To show how much Mothers Day meant to him Dave was halfway up the A46 as food was shovelled into hungry mouths. Probably going to cost Mark £50 to fed him at the pub – should have stolen the cooking pot and eaten it en-route.
So tour to the Forest next week. Can’t wait. See you on the party bus and/or at Cinderford RFC on Friday night for another great weekend away.
Best of luck to Will and Keyan in their school semi tomorrow. Another 8 Stroud players await you in the final at Kingsholm!