Stroud Continue Positive Momentum
By russell vale
Stroud U14s beat Determined Tetbury
Yet again it was Guest match reporter time – this time Coach Mark volunteered. Many thanks to him for a great report…..
After last week’s epic Semi Final against Minchinhampton, Stroud once again faced local opposition; making the short trip to Tetbury on a dank and dreary morning. The pitch was in racing parlance - Heavy – Soft to Heavy in places.
Squad: Lucas, Orgy, Stoner, Darion, Jed, Hayden, Harry, Mr T, Hilly, Will, Dave, Keyan, Nibby, Billy, Fin, Callum, Laurie, Euan, Eddie, Archie, Josh.
Despite the conditions, Stroud were in positive mood and all 21 players were the play a major part in the mornings rugby. Will kicked off and with the benefit of the slope, pinned Tetbury back within their own 22. A secure take and recycle of possession from the Tetbury forwards provided a solid base for early possession for the home side. Stroud defence was solid with Hayden and Harry tackling solidly around the fringes and the inside 3 of Will, Dave and Keyan pressing quickly when Tetbury moved the ball wider. Eventually, Stroud forced a turnover with excellent work at the breakdown from Harry and Mr T. Hilly used this opportunity to spread play and quick hands from Will and Dave released Keyan to crash over by the posts. Will converted. 7-0
From the kick off good carries from Lucas and Stoner drove play back towards halfway. Will this time spotted space on the blindside and kicked cleverly over the head of the winger. The bounce of the ball favoured Keyan, who gratefully collected it and ran in out wide. An excellent touchline conversion from Will extended the lead. 14-0
Despite some miscommunication at the kickoff, the ball was secured and a series of pick and goes from Jed and Mr T initiated some momentum. Will spotted space in behind the Tetbury Full Back and produced and excellent kick to within yards of the try line. A committed chase by Dave and Billy forced the Tetbury Full Back back over his own line despite an excellent initial gather of a bouncing ball. Unfortunately, a knock on at the base allowed Tetbury the opportunity to clear but Fin at Full Back ran back with purpose. A quick clear out from Orgy and Hayden allowed Hilly to feed Will, who once again spotted space in behind the defence and chipped through. Excellent follow up work from Billy, showing great pace, enabled him to touch down just before the ball went dead. Another pinpoint conversion followed from Will. 21-0
Stroud were soon back in the Tetbury half but a lack of commitment at the breakdown allowed Tetbury to produce a powerful counter ruck and secure possession. As they looked to clear, a well timed tackle from Mr T put the Tetbury kicker under pressure forcing him to kick in field. Another solid take from Fin set up good field position. A carry from Darion sucked in more defenders before the ball was spread to Keyan who went over on the left of the posts. Will converted. 28-0
Tetbury were far from down hearted and good pressure from their kick chase forced a Stroud error. From the resultant scrum they went wide but secure tackling in the centres prevented any great gain in ground. However, Tetbury were confident enough to spread the ball back the other way to their elusive full back, who weaved a path to within yards of the line. Secure ball allowed a Tetbury forward to pick and crash over the line for a well deserved score. Try converted. 28-7
Stroud’s response to conceding was immediate and an excellent kick chase from Josh forced the Tetbury receiver backwards. He did well to recycle the ball and the fly half cleared but Fin once again returned the kick with interest, running strongly back towards the halfway Solid work at the breakdown from Callum and Laurie secured the ball allowing swift distribution from Hilly to set the backs free. Billy looked as though he was going over again after a great outside break when a tremendous last ditch tackle brought him down only yards out. The support was immediate, allowing quick ball and providing Jed the opportunity to power over in the corner. Another great conversion from out wide from Will added the extras. 35-7
Tetbury kicked wide from the kickoff and found a bit of space but Archie, who had come on on the wing was back in a flash and gathered and set off on a surge up the touchline. Despite being tackled, he did well to stay in field and secure possession from which the ball was spread wide to Nibby , who did well to take and give a pass to free Josh. Again he looked destined to score but another great tackle stopped the attack but a great clearout from Nibby following up produced good ball. Hilly fed Laurie, who offloaded to Darion out wide. Although he was closed down quickly he found Hilly looping round to take the pass and step inside to score. 40-7
Half Time: Tetbury 7 - 40 Stroud
With Euan and Eddie joining the fray at the start of the second half all the squad had had a run out. Unfortunately, Billy had had to leave the feeling unwell - hope you’re recovered soon Billy! With interchanges continuously being made it was good see to see Stroud maintain their structure despite all the changes. Solid ball from the scrummage meant good ball for Will to miss Dave on the dummy run and find Keyan in the wider channels to sprint in and around under the posts. Will converted. 47-7
Now playing up the slope, the forwards set about using the pick and drive game. From the kick off, strong work from Harry, Laurie and Euan drove the ball forward. Just as we thought the ball was now going to go wide Will found Lucas with an astute inside ball. Making excellent ground, it looked as though another excellent attacking position had been set up but unfortunately the ball was knocked on in contact. Orgy however took a great scrum against the head and the ball was spread wide to Nibby, who made great ground before cutting back inside. The forwards took over with Mr T and Harry carrying well before Darion picked and spotted a gap close to the ruck to surge through and use his pace to score under the posts. Will converted. 54-7
Tetbury continued to play with heart and spirit and excellent tackling forced an error on half way from Stroud. A kick through found Fin once again fielding the ball well. This time he did not take play directly back at Tetbury but had the vision to find Dave on his outside. Taking on the defence , attacked the outside and was only half stopped by a well timed tap tackle however he was able to instantly regain his feet and drive over the line. 59-7
At this point, with a 50 point deficit the referee offered Tetbury the opportunity to stop the game and create mixed teams. To their absolute credit they wanted to play on and continued to tackle and compete with fantastic commitment and enthusiasm. Tetbury also showed quality ball handling and looked to use the ball when they were in possession. One passage of play spread the ball to their winger but he was well shadowed by Hilly (now on the wing) and Josh, who had replaced Fin at Full Back. Tetbury continued to recycle ball and only a fine tackle from Will and subsequent turnover from Dave regained possession for Stroud. The forwards once again took over with Jed, Eddie and Laurie carrying well before Darion drove through a gap aided by Stoner to gallop away to score. Will converted again. 66-7
From the kick off, Keyan secured the ball and ran back strongly to evade a number of defenders to score on the right. Will’s boot was as laser like as ever to add the conversion. 73-7
Tetbury’s spirit was not to be dented and again great defensive work forced a knock on. The scrums had now gone uncontested and clean ball for Tetbury was used by the fleet footed full back, who made good ground on the right side before play was moved back to the left. Good close hands from Tetbury allowed their centre to cross close to the posts for a well worked team try, which was converted. 73-14
Pressure on the kickoff from Laurie and Euan forced a turnover, which allowed Archie to feed Will, who found Dave. Spotting space in behind again, Dave chipped over the top and hacked on before touching down by the posts. Try converted. 80-14
A secure take at the kick off and great distribution from Keyan spread the play instantly to the left with Mr T and Stoner combining to make ground. The ball was then spread wide right all the way to Nibby, who again made ground before securing the ball. Great clearout work from Harry and Eddie provided the opportunity for Archie to spot Will going blind and a well timed pass to Dave sent him over in the corner for the final score of the game.
Full Time: Tetbury 14 - 85 Stroud
Despite the score line this was a well played game from both sides both in terms of skills and also the great spirit shown by all the players. A massive amount of credit should be given to the lads from Tetbury, who all continued playing in a positive constructive manner and whose commitment never dropped throughout the whole game – they were indeed a credit to their coaches and their club. Thanks also to the referee, who let the game flow and enabled a great game played at a good pace.
FACT : Amazingly, in 50 minutes there were no lineouts; again showing the willingness of both sides to keep the ball alive.
Thanks to all involved with Tetbury RFC for their hospitality on the day.
This was another positive performance from Stroud with all players getting a good run out in the build up to the County Cup Final in 2 weeks time. Again there was a huge effort in the work from the forwards, particularly in the second half up the slope but to finish a special mention for Will, whose kicking out of hand as well as off the tee was absolutely outstanding today.
Thanks to all the lads for their effort and of course the parents and Arthur for their unwavering support. Russ will hopefully be back on report duty next week as my brain now hurts trying to recount this morning’s events!
So back to your normal match reporter who turned up late for the match – blaming British Airways baggage control again. Luckily his bag made it back to the UK eventually and his 25kg of newly purchased Chinese cloned Calvin Kleins was going through extensive user testing by Jim. The size 24” waist was proving problematic and Jim was going red in the face, but Delia was in attendance to administer CPR and oxygen to our plucky male model. If Bill had been in attendance with the medical bag like last weekend then I think a Guinness and Port would have been the medication administered to Jim……
See you all next week for the home game vs Stow when I will attempt to recover my match reporting fitness ready for the intensity of the cup final the week after.