With 4 teams at festivals and a number of players struck by sickness in the 24 hours those that played did themselves enormously proud. At Guildford you could barely tell who was on which team with all the muddy shirts!
Old Elthamian’s Match report:
Team : Colby Bedford- Eatwell, Kyle Cameron, Sandy Carrick, Charlie Gillespie, Jack Kaye, Jack McLeish, Bruno Millward, Edward Stangroome, Rory Staunton, Sammy Tansley.
Sevenoaks started full of energy against a Blackheath team. The Oaks displayed excellent team discipline both in attack and defence. Many tries scored eventually winning 8-2. Nextup OE's 1. A very well drilled team showing great rucking at speed and breaking through the oaks defence line on a few occasions. OE's ran out 4-2 winners.
Third game saw Oaks take on Dartfordians. A very physical team. A Huge impressive defence shown by the Sevenoaks players kept them at bay, eventually running out 5-2 winners. Many Oaks players receiving medical attention throughout the match but thankfully no long term injuries. Last match sawus line up against Sidcup. By this time with tiring legs and some players carrying minor injuries the team struggled to maintain the same level of playheldas in the previous matches. Sidcuprunning out 5-1 winners.
The weather held off for the duration of the festival on this spring like day.
Guildford A team match report
As we arrived at Guildford, the heavens opened, but spirits were not lost as the players got stuck into the very muddy conditions. The A’s were several men down due to a sickness bug. With only 8 players for the entire tournament, each player had to play every game. Team: Charlie Drysdale, Oliver Richardson, Gerran Prescott, Hamish McQueen, William Brook, Joel Walter, Lars Hansen, Thomas Hyde.
First opponents were Windsor who they drew against in the final of the same competition last year. It was a close fought game with neither side scoring in the first half, although the Oaks managed to go over the try line four times only to be held up or drop the ball! Both teams came out fighting in the second half. Showing his blistering pace, Hamish McQueen squeezed over for the first try after some fantastic rucking by Gerran Prescott who was clearing the opposition out all over the park. However Windsor came back with a break away try by their flying winger. Sevenoaks dug in and after some great support play, Charlie Drysdale ran in for the winning try on the final whistle to make it 2-1 to the Oaks.
Next up were Brighton who had a significant weight advantage, with a couple of their players touching 10 stone! This didn’t daunt Oliver Richardson who put in some immense tackles to stop them in their tracks. The Oaks first try was scored by Joel Walter who glided over to score after running a ‘Jonathan Joseph’ line outside the spritely Oaks halfbacks. Brighton fought back with a break away try running from one end of the pitch to another. Tom Hyde wasn’t going to stand for a draw, so he showed some fantastic individual skills stepping through several tackles to score not once, but twice to end the score 3-1 to Sevenoaks.
After a quick refuelling stop, next up were the home team Guildfordians, who had been unbeaten so far. The game was played on the muddiest pitch of the day, which slowed down the Oaks running game. In a 1970’s ‘stick it up the jumper’ game, there was very little between the teams who both showed immense tackling and rucking skills. However, the Oaks managed to pin the home side down in their half for most of the game. Lars Hansen took advantage of the smallest of gaps, stepped several players and went over for the only score of the match. 1-0 to the Oaks.
Last up were Chobham. All the Oaks players were now on their last feet, having each played their hearts out against teams who had multiple subs. Digging deep, they came out fighting to go up quickly with another try from Charlie Drysdale and then a wonderful full pitch-length run showing his sensational zig-zag skills from Will Brook. Chobham managed to pull one back, but were down and out when Hamish McQueen went over with a swallow dive in the corner to make it 3-1.
What a great day - see attached for a photo of the ‘dirty eight’!
Old Beccehamians Festival report
Team: Harry Bouverie, Eleanor Colesmith, Luke Dimond, Olly Dimond, Theo Mitchell-Clark, Peter Lines, Freddie Lowndes, Alec Schaeffer, Edward Thompson, JC Vermeulen.
The traffic converging on West Wickham and the parking diversion up a distant residential road were sure signs that this coach had finally reached the correct destination. His local "rugby instinct" had taken him first to Beckenham rugby club several miles further north in suburbia where he was greeted with an empty car park and a short-lived elation of being the first car there!
So, a tent-less Oaks team gathered for what promised to be the battle of SE London, with our "premiership" U10 Pool C including giants of the area in Old Alleynians A, Sidcup A, Old Whits A and Beckenham B.
The opener versus Old Alleynians proved a tight encounter with the first half starting with the sizeable opposite crafting a powerful movement through our central defences. JC started the day as he meant to continue with a long carry and drive for the line to even the score. The game was decided only by a controversial winning try by the OAs after their left wing had definitively grazed the sideline before the ball was swung back to the right wing for a dash to glory. Freddie also showed great intent with excellent support and cover defence while Alec was all over the pitch with thumping tackles. 1-2.
The pace and physicality of the day continued as the Oaks faced off the Old Whits, another stacked A team. This was an impressive outfit, although one that unluckily (via a couple of handling errors) ended up going down 2-4 to Alleynians in the later group decider. Whits benefited from the extraordinary services of one player (outstanding also by his wild shaggy locks) who seemed to combine the physicality of a Haskell (although a better knowledge of the laws of the game), the balletic footwork of a Joseph and the cool awareness of a Farrell. Eddie Jones would be advised to keep a watch on here. They raced into a 4-0 lead before our tacklers-in-chief, Harry, Alec and Luke found a way to shut down their talisman. We then clawed back to a respectable 2-5 with Peter applying the final downward pressure on the ball after a chaotic skirmish in the OA's try area. Edward also powered over for one of several determined finishes during the day from midfield. Eleanor played a fine game with neat handling and several probing runs into enemy territory.
Next was Beckenham. After the epic preceding battles, this was more of a prosaic, even text book, performance with Sevenoaks dismantling the opposition in all areas of the game. A feisty Theory piled over for the first score, with Harry, Alec and JC also crossing the white-wash (which was actually blue!). However the try of the day was saved to the end with our Peter cutting down their biggest prop on our line, then ripping the ball off the Becks support player before feeding Olly for a long surge down the left flank and a pop pass inside to brother Luke to finish a jinking run in the right corner. A Double Dimond flourish! 5-1.
Lastly Sidcup. While possibly not their strongest squad on the road this weekend, they are always a formidable presence in the SE London Rugby sphere, combining strength with discipline. Oaks were however well into our stride and wave after wave of superb support plays, ripping and great handling negated the impact of our losing the ball five times by running into touch! 6-0 (Edward 2, JC 2, Alec, Harry).
While the final mid-table outcome may have been a little harsh on the Oaks, it was a showcase pool and the team displayed rugby skills, commitment and cohesion that was the envy and fear of our opposition, while fostering further goodwill and local rivalries to relish in the months and years ahead.
Guildford B Team report
The B(est) team arrived at Guildford looking slightly sleepy and waterlogged - it didn't bode well for our first game against Teddington!
So it proved, as we struggled to wake up (preferring a Sunday stroll rather than Sunday Rugby!). Having said that the team played as a team with some good points to build on in the next games. A highlight was Oscar's try, scored with a now trademark textbook dummy, sending them the wrong way, followed by a sprint for the line! Unfortunately the team's tackling was still asleep, resulting in a close 2-3 loss.
After a coaches talk and some good tackle practice, the team came out for Windsor firing on all cylinders with some fantastic running, passing and some hard tackles. Even with the renewed vigour, the team conceded another 2-3 loss, really down to one very fast player on their team who we just couldn't stop. Players of note: Jamie and Zach for tackles, Mitch and Taylor for huge strength in driving forwards and Ethan for fantastic support play and real speed, enabling him to get one of our tries.
Next up was Chichester. We'd been improving - could we finally get a win?? Despite a pitch that was like playing on the side of the South Downs, the team spirit was very obvious.
The team was now awake - there was real grit and determination - there were loads of great tackles and forward driving (with lots of touch line support!). Players of note: great play by Johnny for making space on the wing, Harry for great ripping, Imogen for being slippery through a tough defence. We won 2-0 - an excellent result!!
Our heads were high after getting our first win. As you can see from the attached photo - the team were very muddy and happy!! Next was a try line to try line game with a lot of running against Reigate. With an injury on the opposition, both teams were down to 7 with rolling subs we were able to start to dominate and came away with a final win 1-0!! Jamie played brilliantly - in the heart of the action, tackling and tucking well. Our try was the result of great team play - passing down the line followed by a great drive for the line from Mitch - hooray!
So - a great day in the mud and rain at Guildford.” (team photo below)
Please send any photos from any of the festivals to Jane and she will post them on the blog.