Sevenoaks U9s had four squads at festivals this weekend, in mixed conditions underpinned by mud.
At Eltham, one squad faced off against local opponents acquitting themselves well. The theme of the day was staying strong in defence, with the scrum half securing and recycling the ball almost faultlessly and many opportunities taken to off load the ball before and during the tackle. One of the high points of the day was a game against local friends Dartford. A well drilled and physical opposition bought the game to Sevenoaks, but on the final whistle Sevenoaks had stood their ground well, with the score line not reflecting how close the game had been.
At Guildford two squads faced opponents from further afield. In windy, muddy conditions making the recycling of the ball at the breakdown all the more important, defence was key once again. With a slow start initially, tackling kept opposition teams in check but a lack of straight and committed running ultimately cost the team’s early success. Beyond the first game, the Sevenoaks teams found their stride, collecting tries and a decent covering of mud. With all players stepping up to the tackle well, it was important to keep the tackle low to ensure the player goes to ground. Direct, quick running made the difference in the end and encouraging the movement of the ball down the line becoming more and more key to success.
One squad headed to Old Colfeians, meeting local teams including another Dartford team in the process. With a strong team defending and running well, Sevenoaks delivered performances to be proud of, with a convincing win against Park House seeing the coming together of a strong defence and a solid running effort. Again, recycling of the ball being key and making sure it is not at the expense of our defense.
A good weekend of rugby a great precursor to four more squads at two festivals next weekend.
Match report and player info below. Thank you so much for all your support today. We hope that all the children enjoyed the day, and we’re sure that you’ll agree that they all produced a fantastic performance at the festival.
Match 1 Vs Alleynians – 2 - 8
Match 2 Vs Old Elthamians – 5 - 4
Match 3 Vs Dartfordians – 3 - 7
Match 4 Vs Sidcup – 6 - 2
A shaky start in the first half of the first game, but a much improved performance in the second half. It was obvious that the players were confident going into the second game, and they took on board all of the negatives from the first game, begun running forward and passing the ball into space, and worked really hard for a win. The third game against a very strong and well drilled Dartfordians was closer that the score line suggests. Some fantastic tackling in this game, with all the players stepping up in what proved to be a really physical game. Again, some fantastic passing out of tackles and great forward running which was rewarded with tries. A step up again for the last game. Although not as strong an opposition, the players really used the opportunity to show what they are capable of. Superb passages of passing and off-loads to work around the pitch, backed up by committed tackling.
Another trip down the M25 beckoned for the team on what proved to be a wet and very muddy day in Guildford.
The day started with the formidable challenge of Windsor. From history we knew this would be a tough game and so it proved. We started strongly with an all-encompassing defensive effort (a theme of the day) particularly prevalent however our attacking let us down. Our running was not as straight as it should have been and crucially were unable to convert our chances as passing (or rather a lack of it) let us down. At half time it was 0-0 however in the second half we let in two tries. This resulted in a 2-0 loss.
Second up was Chobham Reds where the strong defensive performance continued forcing the opposition into several mistakes. The players continued to follow a relatively structured and straight defensive line pushing Chobham further and further back. However the difference in this game was that we executed much improved passing and straighter running allowed our attack to benefit. This resulted in a 5-0 win.
Our third match was against the hosts Guildfordians. A strong defensive performance by both teams prevented many tries being scored. Further we missed a few opportunities especially as the ball become increasingly greasy as conditions became relatively more difficult. This resulted in a 3-3 draw.
The last of our games was against Brighton which was a close game. Strong defensive efforts ensured it remained a closely contested game throughout. Our straighter running benefited the team and yielded results as we kept the ball slightly tighter given the wet and muddy conditions. The resulted in a 3-2 win.
Well done to the players.
Festival Reflections and improvement points:
Tackling was solid but players need to continue to tackle low and spread out (avoid bunching)
Passing and link play needs to be improved (Heads up rugby)
Straight and fast running - too much sideways running
Ediz Karsak, Francis Webb, Harry Corstorphine, Hugo Smith, Isaac Rosier, Jamie Robinson, Luke Coll, Stein Russell-Jones, Yiannis Papadopoulos