Won 1, Drew 1, Lost 1
For many of us having visited Allianz Park a few times now this was the first time that we have experienced sunshine since so often it has been freezing cold and driving rain. So with a beautiful Autumn day set up for us and the prospect of the players demonstrating the skills they have learnt on a premiership pitch, there was a buzz of excitement from the players and the parents.
Match 1 – Bancroft 2 Drew 9 -9
In Match 1, we witnessed some excellent running attacking play from both sides with some creative and well linked manoeuvres by Sevenoaks. However, the defensive play from Sevenoaks and Bancroft was very week with countless tackles missed and so each side after conceding a try and then restarting with the ball then scored so the score was only ever one try apart. Given the tackling errors from both sides both sides were pleased to come away with a draw which was a fair result.
Match 2 – Finchley Won 6 - 5
The emphasis of the team talk before Match 2 was all about the tackle – TACKLE, TACKLE, TACKLE. There is no doubt that the players got the simple and clear message delivered to them that they needed to “tackle”. Since they went out there and “tackled, tackled and tackled” and boy they had to. Finchley were a fast and agile side and this match was won by all 7 players on the pitch tackling and forcing errors. A great effort by the whole squad.
Match 3 – Braintree – Lost 2 – 4
In the third and last match of the festival, the boys went out on the pitch with determination and the self-belief that they could win after their efforts in the last match. Unfortunately this match got off to a bad start where two tries were conceded in succession from off side positons which were not picked up by the officials and resulted in some of the Sevenoaks heads dropping. Despite, heads dropping they did work hard to try and rectify matters by scoring two well-structured tries but Braintree were the bigger and more physical side and powered through to score two further tries resulting in a loss for Sevenoaks.
Players : Edward Smith, Ethan Anderson, Ethan Craggs, Forbes Logan, George Rehbein, Yiannis Papadopoulos, Jan Lousberg, Toby Edwards, Nicholas Sumner.
Coach : Jeremy Smith
Win v Luton 5-2
Win v Brentwood 4-3
Win v Bancroft 5-2
Players: Callum Le Roux, Ed Richards, Ediz Karsak, George Pearson, Rishan Siani, Sean Mcinally, William Blackmore, Zach Owen
Thank you to the parents for arriving early at the Saracens U9 Work Rate & Honesty Festival. This enabled the coaching team to take the boys away before games to warm up and run through 1:1 & 2:1 tackle drills. Throughout the drills every boy gave 100% to being tackled and tackling.
Going into the first game every boy man-marked their opposite player and the tone of this game was set early by some fantastic tackling. The tackle count in the first minute of the game was in the high teens. Every tackle going in low and hard, and where one player couldn’t stop the bigger boys a second support player followed up with the second tackle. This complete team support by every player lead to Sevenoaks 2 playing over 8 minutes of rugby in the oppositions half. All players having made the tackle got back on-side, and only tackled the first receiver respecting the scrum half could not be tackled, on the pass several players worked on hunting the ball carrier and making multiple tacks. The work rate in the first half was something to admire in such young children in their first year of contact.
Our next game against Brentwood proved tougher competition with some strong tactical substitutions from the opposition, to get another positive result against this team of bigger players required some committed two man tackles to slow up the attack. But again the collective team work as one unit created the turn overs through hard work, and when chances came several players ran strong straight lines up the middle sucking in players with some quick pop passes to create the space out wide to be exploited. Sevenoaks 2 closed out this game by killing off the opposition chances and maintaining continuity of the ball in the final minutes of the game.
After a much need break and lunch the players came into the final game focused on what they enjoyed in the last two games as quoted by the boys; they enjoyed tackling, the quantity of tackles and watching the opposition throwing the ball loosely because they knew the tackle was coming. This attitude to playing their game meant going into the final game the players were fired up. Straight from the off they played as a team hunting in PODs of two of three players, giving the opposition little time on the ball and turning over the ball through forced errors. The last 6 minutes of this game was played out in the oppositions half, allowing Sevenoaks to dominate possession and control the game with another successful result.
All the players in Sevenoaks 2 showed that it was not the individual that won these games but the sum of its parts. Great performances from a special bunch of boys all working for one another.