Players: Dexter Williams, George Rehbein, Georgia Houchin, Jamie Williams, Lucas Gorrill,Luke Coll, Max Clark, Owen Williamson, Sam Pearl.
Coaches: Graeme Coll, Greg Gorrill
Played 10, Lost 1
46 Tries for – not many against
From the first to the last game, SRFC Leonards excelled in every way. Losing just one game of the ten, with these results were obtained through a level of commitment the coaches could not fault.
Our first game on the Saturday morning was against another Sevenoaks team and as usual with a new combination of players, there was a ‘bedding in’ period for both sides, with the opposition scoring in the last play to bring the game to two all. A worthy result against a worthy adversary. Leonards continued on for the rest of the day as a strong team, winning all four games convincingly.
Sunday bought our toughest game in the first against very good local friends. We knew from another Sevenoaks team that Tunbridge Wells Blue would be a tough match as they had faced them the day before. Our warm ups began with a team huddle, imparting the faith we had as coaches in the squad, that they had the ability to take this game to them and win, but that it would take full commitment for the whole period. They delivered. We could not have asked for more from each and every player, with every team member exceeding their comfort zone. This was epitomised in the resolve shown after four high tackles failed to see the turnover ball, with Sevenoaks retaining possession despite no referee intervention (this was flagged at half time by the coaches) – every player stood firm, recomposed themselves and carried on. Tunbridge Wells were fortunate enough to have a fast runner in their arsenal, as did we, but he managed to break away twice to our once, resulting in a final score of 2-1 to them. It was clear that we were facing a stronger team, but the final score represented something different – losing by the one try was a fair reflection on that game, but could have so easily have been a draw or us winning by the one try on another day. Both coaches struggled to hold back the tears of pride in the post-match briefing, with our Head Coach affirming how proud we all were of the performance – Sevenoaks Leonards had done themselves proud.
Four more games followed throughout the Sunday, with Sevenoaks winning all four convincingly. By the end of the day, try count had put us in second place, just a try behind the winners Tunbridge Wells Blue. Due to some inexplicable scoring system, we were placed in third, missing out on the runners up cup. We didn’t need a trophy to show what we had achieved though and the squads pride shone over the paper placing’s.
As with all the Sevenoaks Teams, Leonards represented their club perfectly and along with the fantastic support on the side lines, a fun tour was had by all! Well done.
Heart felt words and a summary from your coaches:
Facts / Statistics:
Players: Coby Smith, Edward Smith, Ethan Anderson, Harry Corstorphine, Harry Edwards, Hugo Smith, Imogene Anderson, Tait Anderson, Tilly Smith, Toby Edwards
Team Stats : 6 Smiths (Players and Coaches), 3 Andersons, 3 Edwards (1st and 2nd names), 2 Harry's and 2 Super star girls !!
Match Stats: Played 10, Won 6, Drew 2 and lost 2.
Tries: 43 tries scored, 21 tries conceded.
This was a collective team effort from a truly mixed ability team who jelled from the outset. The stronger players showed excellent leadership and creative playing skills that without any doubt gave the team a "very firm footing" but all the other players all stepped up making many "significant" contributions. As a result, the support and teamwork across the whole squad was truly brilliant and so enjoyable to watch for us as coaches. All the players gave 100% at all times and therefore improved greatly over the 2 days of play. As coaches, we could not have asked for any more from the players who are put into this competitive environment with lots of encouragement (supportive shouting) from the touch line after significantly less sleep than usual. Thank you Paul for stepping in and assisting with the coaching between watching Brett play for the U11's, your support was greatly appreciated. Also, thank you to all the parents - you were all great fun to tour and team up with.
"Be on time and prepared for each match". The one match (Match 4 on the Sunday) that we were not prepared for, we were on the back foot from the start and as a result we never got into it. More a lesson for the coach on that one!!
"Wilkinson Player of the Tournament" : Ethan Anderson - for listening at all times and then executing what was asked of him on the pitch, along with some brilliant support play throughout the two days. All the players were so polite, well behaved and respectful to each other but on this occasion Ethan was exceptional on that front for an 8/9 year old.
"Wilkinson Champagne Moment": Tilly Smith and Imogen Anderson - the girls were both involved in a number of great passages of play but there was one that they both dominated and showed girl power and initiative at its best, in what is a competitive and physical environment that I am sure is intimidating for them at times, they did brilliantly over the two days - well done girls !!.
We should all be very proud of the way our children conducted themselves “on and off” the pitch - they are only 8/9 after all.
Until next season !!
Jeremy and Paul (your delighted and very proud coaches)
Players: Andrew Crawford, Benjamin Kerr, Forbes Logan, Isaac Rossier, Josh Mclinton, Priam Van Assche, Thomas Kerton, Tiger Bussey, Alex Paizes
Coaches: Darren & Neil
Our opening team talk involved a discussion of ethos and the type of rugby we wanted to play. The coaches described Martin Johnson, how we should aspire to be like him and how he successfully lifted the World cup for England only a few years back……… The stunned silence from a group of 9 year olds coupled with innocent follow up questions of “who exactly is he again?”, “when did he play?” and “what does he look like?” suddenly made us feel very old!!
Fortunately. the Martin Johnson desire and commitment was evident in our first game (against Sevenoaks) and although a little ring rusty, we managed to grind out a win with some committed tackling and pressure even though we hadn’t hit our strides yet. In fact, we went on to win 8 games and lost only 1 throughout the festival and that loss came early in proceedings while we ironed out the kinks in our own playing structures.
Our game plan involved a committed rush defense that could lay the platform for releasing some of our stronger runners; a style that evolved throughout the 9 games and pleasingly brought more and more of the boys into each game. We also had a few set moves which worked to varying degrees but our weekend was probably best summed up with our third to last match where we went into half time 2 tries down. After a calming team talk the boys worked for each other in the second half, made their tackles and managed to run out victors by a 2 try margin – we scored tries with a few great offloads and a ball that moved through the hands with vastly improved accuracy. This set us up nicely to close out a the remaining tight games we were involved in – specifically against our derby rivals Tunbridge Wells.
The camaraderie and self belief a child develops from going through emotional ups and downs in the social setting of a rugby match are absolutely priceless and truly underlines what our sport is all about! A few bumps and bruises, but all well worth it in the end. Well done boys!
We scored 36 tries, let in far fewer and tackled every large runner that came our way.
It wasn’t only about winning though…. We proudly pioneered the “team tunnel run on” before each match and took great pleasure in our team photograph after each game. The round of ice creams at the end of both days probably epitomized the fun time had by all – including all our spectators and coaches!
Players: William Blackmore, Finnbar Dalton, William Jenkins, Xavier Prongue, Daniel Scandling, Mackenzie Copp, Tom Harvey, Jan Lousberg, Rishan Saini
Coaches: Didier Prongue, Charlie Jenkins
Overall results: Group 2 U9 Winners (Won: 6, Drew: 1, Lost 2)
Tries for: 47
Tries against: 27
Saturday started with a tough match against a strong Sevenoaks Johnson team. Both teams knew each other well and therefore there was not much to choose between the teams in a low scoring game with Johnson eventually winning by one try. The boys were disappointed to start with a loss, which made their performance in the next game against Long Buckby all the more impressive. Sevenoaks were down 1-5 after the first half and it looked like our tour might be getting off to a disastrous start. But after a positive team talk at half-time, the boys ran in 4 unanswered second half tries to secure a draw that was very important to team morale. We nominated this half of rugby as our champagne moment of the tour. Riding on this momentum, we finished the day strongly with 3 consecutive wins, dispatching Royston and Biggleswade convincingly and coming away with a very creditable win against a strong Epping team.
The commitment of the team in terms of tackling and going for 50/50 ball was also taking its toll, with several knocks and bruises through the day meaning some players were out for 1 or 2 games. With a small squad of 9, this meant that for part of one game we were down to 6 fit players. This shows how committed all of the boys were.
After a text book evening of sensible diet, relaxation and early to bed (not), the boys were ready for the final games on Sunday. Everyone was back to full fitness and we beat both Tunbridge Wells teams that we faced as well as Wellyn very comfortably. The only reverse was against a strong and well organised Harpenden side.
Unknown to us, the winners of each group were being decided on number of tries scored and we therefore finished top of Group 2, being presented with a very fine trophy. This showed the importance of all the boys working together as a team despite a very tough start and we really could not have asked for any more collective commitment from them. It just goes to show what can be achieved if everyone works together and keeps their heads up.
Well done all!