Sevenoaks U7s took 6 teams to the Kent U7s mini festival, hosted by our good neighbours at Medway Rugby Club.
The number one objective of the day was enjoyment and without a doubt, enjoyment won the day. The enjoyment of playing with friends, eating ice creams, running the obstacle course, and most important, achieving together as a team.
All six Mighty Oaks U7 teams played with the passion we are used to and again demonstrated our squad culture, with superb supporting and sporting play.
Overall results were: Played 24, Won 20, Drew 1 and Lost 3.
While winning is rightly secondary to the enjoyment of playing rugby in the minis, six teams achieving results on this scale is testament to the all the players commitment to the one team, one squad, one club ethos.
The coaches are extremely proud of the players’ performances at the Kent festival, at the end of this U7s season, and are looking forward to taking these players through to the next stage of tag at U8s.
Josh Flame thrower French
Austin The Tooth Mitchell
James Smoke Diamond
Winged Olle McDonald
Jake Smiler Walton
Legs Logan MacDonald
Coaches: Julian & Charlie
Match 1 Dragons v Dover Won 9-7
Post an intense warm up given by Mr French and some detailed instructions from the coaching staff, the boys went out onto the pitch with gusto. Tagging was immense from the outset with all boys crossing the pitch from break downs to cover potential tries. On the attack Josh, Austin, James, Olle, Jake and Logan all proved they had great running legs with all boys scoring, ending in a 9 – 7 win.
Match 2 Dragons v Aylesford
Our joint training partners down at Aylesford, otherwise known as the Bulls were carefully dissected and consumed with vigour. No parts left on the pitch. The hungry Dragons finished them up 10 – 6. 5 tries from Austin, 3 by Josh and singles from Jake and Logan. The Dragons were hungry for the ball and turnovers came a plenty which resulted in clean tries. A faultless example of tag rugby.
Match 3 Dragons v Beckenham won 9-8
A closer match was had with Beckenham. They proved a better trained side with some strong runners, however the insatiable appetite of the Dragons was not fulfilled after the carpaccio of beef they had just had. Beckenham’s weaknesses were observed and then the crunch happened, 4 tries from Josh, 3 tries from Austin and singles from James and Logan finished the game with a win of 9-8.
Match 4 Dragons v Old Dunstonians
The final show down, an intimidating Dragon team stepped onto the pitch with their chests puffed out, laces tied tight and smoke billowing from their nostrils. The tagging was immense hit after hit after hit. The Dragons were pushing them backwards and this invoked confusion within Old D’s ranks. With turnover balls coming our way, the dragons converted them into tries. Double tries came from Josh, Austin and James with singles from Jake and Logan. The support play from the Dragon players ended the day with a formal back line and passing along it. This proved they really knew how to play the game and create space.
During the event, the Dragons did not have one offside given against them, nor a forward pass and we didn’t ever run out of pitch, unlike a lot of our assailants.
The coaches were very pleased about the quality of play and the boys really listened and understood what was required to make their games flow and score tries.
The team showed humility in successfully scoring each and every try and enjoyed shaking hands with the opponents and thanking them for the game.
The boys did keep asking during the games “are we winning?” of course at the time I was not able to comment as this would be against RFU Tag Rugby guide lines, but suffice to say, we had a clean sweep ;)
Aurelia Rothery, Emma Coll, Elizabeth Crosby, Erin wimble, Iris Fairbairn, and Molly Thomson
The Eagles walked up the slope to Pitch 14 with nervous energy. History was about to be made, with the Eagles representing the first all-girl team for Sevenoaks Rugby Club at the Kent Minis Festival. Playing the opening match of the Pool, there was little time to absorb the atmosphere or assess the opposition.
Match 1 Maidstone Won 9-6
Maidstone were the Eagles’ first challenge. The Eagles had a little playful banter with the referee, before lining up an attacking arrow formation to start the match. Direct running by Iris and Aurelia and excellent support from Elizabeth and Emma caught Maidstone on the back foot and the Eagles established an early lead that was never surrendered. Some impressive tagging by Molly and Erin, a taster of what was to come in the later matches, forced a couple of turnovers as the pressure squeezed Maidstone into touch. A victory in their debut match, with nine tries to six.
Match 2 Blackheath Lost 7-5
After the first victory, the Eagles were excited, enthused and desperate to get stuck into Blackheath. It was clear from the kick off, the Blackheath team were well drilled in defence, putting pressure on the Eagles as they drove forward and pushing them toward touch. A turnover close to the opposition’s try line was enough to give Blackheath the advantage. Molly sliced through the Blackheath defender a couple of times, with strong mazy runs, to keep the Eagle’s in touch. But with most scores going with the play, Sevenoaks couldn’t get the critical turnover to even the score. Blackheath scored last to inflict the first and only defeat for the Eagles. However, our defence improved through the match and the platform was set for the next matches.
Match 3 Ashford Won 8-7
The Eagles lined up to face a strong looking Ashford side, and it proved to be the toughest match of the day. The Eagle’s had to dig deep and work hard as a team in both defence and attack. The powerful running of Iris and Aurelia and bursts of speed by Erin (finding the smallest of gaps in the Ashford defence) kept the Eagle’s in the game throughout the match. A diving tag from Emma in the final quarter won the turnover which Elizabeth converted to a try after a flowing team move with at least one pass from every player. With the two try cushion achieved, the Eagle’s locked up the defence and there was no way back for Ashford. Not a single stray foot near the touch line throughout!
Match 4 Sidcup Won 8-6
The teamwork that had grown through the morning hit new heights in the final match against Sidcup. The Eagle’s tagging was ferocious with Emma leading the charge again (ably assisted by some touchline encouragement (!); the Sidcup players went as white as their shirts, looking like rabbits in headlights facing the Eagle’s gold and blue line. Three turnovers were won from incessant pressure on the ball carrier, and the Eagle’s took advantage of each. The tries were spread throughout the team, and on the final whistle there was triumphant jubilation from players and a crowd alike.
What a morning!! The expectations were high from the start and the girls certainly did not disappoint. The team was superb - Iris and Aurelia leading the direct charges forward, Molly and Elizabeth crafting gaps to break through, Erin and Emma bursting with pace to the corners. However, it was in defence that the team shone, recycling players to tag and tag again.
It’s possible amidst all the celebrations and photo opportunities at the end, the Eagle’s coach may have forgotten to referee the next match!
Isaac Monks, James Daniell, Jonty Corstophine, Lucas Bowen, Pedri Van Der Merwe and Xavier Fontaine
Coaches: Rupert & Rory
The Lions shone for the Sevenoaks Lions at the Kent Mini Festival despite the early start and bitter wind.
First up the lads faced the host club Medway, who matched the Lions score for score, as cold hands meant a few tags didn't quite stick. However Pedri and Xavier showed the way and the boys' defence held out (just!) in a tough and skilful encounter. The final whistle came at a moment that suited the Lions and they finished up a score in front. This set the bench mark for the rest of the morning.
Pedri had whetted his appetite for tries with his mazy running and bursts of pace. Everyone else wanted to join him in touching down too. Xavier and Isaac took inspiration and added their mix of pace and an eye for space, eluding some good Gravesend defenders, to score well in Match 2. Jonty got involved too with splendid line speed to execute some top drawer tagging and also to score. James wasn't going to be left out either marking up two tries of his own; squeezing past players where there looked to be no room to manoeuvre.
Blackheath were the oppo for match 3 and, with some good runners, amongst them set off at a canter. However, there was an excellent run of tags by the Lions to slow the pace so, when tagging pressure forced a couple of mistakes and the ball went loose; the Lions had a chance to pounce and did not look back. Lucas led the charge and bagged himself a hat trick of scores.
The final match was against the blue and white of Bexley. And the Lions did not disappoint. They really wanted to go out on a high. Some great execution when tagging forced Bexley onto the back foot and the boys followed this up with some excellent support play to score well and often. Imagine if you will England v Scotland at Twickenham a few weeks back and you will get a sense of the game (sort Rory!).
The coaches could not have asked for a more consistent and accurate tagging display over all four matches and equally the quality of the lad's passing and support play meant that the teams having to defend fast Lions' attacks found it a real challenge. To be able to stop start defences as easily as the likes of Xavier, Isaac and Pedri did today was fabulous to watch and for everyone to score showed what a brilliant effort the whole squad made.
The purpose of the festival was for the players to thoroughly enjoy themselves, and I think the Sevenoaks Lions did just that (an unofficial tally of tries scored shows that the boys crossed the whitewash 37 times over 4 matches).
Rory and I would also like to congratulate the boys on the good grace, team spirit and sporting smiles they showed when we changed the teams up at half time, so that everyone could get involved and enjoy the fun. Any Mum would have been proud of these boys and a great testimony to them, particularly, on Mother's Day!
Theo Maltarp – aka Bull Shark for his straight charging runs forward
Wian Botes – aka Sharkuille O’Neal for great support running and always being well-placed to get the pass
Edward Blackmore – aka Hammerhead (for pouncing headfirst on any turnover ball with no thoughts for his own safety…)
Coby Sherlock – aka Mako Shark – the fastest shark in the ocean
Hugo Read – aka Tiger Shark for some ferocious running through the defence
Leo Grant – aka Great White Shark – for attacking every tag like it was a baby seal
Coaches: Damien & Louis
Match 1 Sharks vs Beccehamians Won – 8-7
The team quickly settled into their stride with some solid tagging from the outset. This was despite our defensive line being more of a defensive huddle in the middle of the pitch but this definitely improved as the game went on. There was some good tagging from Leo and a nice piece of play when the oppo dropped a ball allowing Theo to pick it up, passing to Wian for the try. The team work was really good with strong support running. This meant that the tries were pretty evenly distributed with everyone getting one try (with Wian and Leo both getting two). This was a close game but won by our better discipline.
Match 2 Sharks vs Old Elthamians Won – 9-4
The highlight of this match was some superb tagging. OE were a pretty decent team but some ferocious tagging by the Sharks kept OE at bay. One passage of play resulted in at least 8 consecutive tags by the sharks with OE making no progress. This forced some errors and dropped balls which the sharks (led by Edward and Leo) pounced on. Coby got some great tags and four well-deserved tries. Wian’s good support work saw him getting a brace of tries. The best try of the match was a superb long pass from Leo to Hugo who was in acres of space to touch it down to give him his second try of the match.
Match 3 Sharks vs Vigo Won 12-11
This was a high-scoring and very close game with the Sharks narrowly coming out on top. Some good tagging from Theo and also some straight running which earned him 3 tries. Wian scored an impressive five despite coming off for a while with a knock to the head. Again, this was another game where everyone got on the scoreboard demonstrating the good team work and support play. Leo got a number of great tags with some good running with the ball from Hugo, Coby and Edward. Head Coach Blackmore had to be sent to the stands after trying to get Edward to pose for a photo mid-match…(evidence above!)
Match 4 Sharks vs Medway Won 9-3
Another all-round team effort with some strong tagging and try-scoring across the board. Edward had a cracking game but it was ended short after he got a knock on the nose when pouncing bravely on a turnover ball. Main try-scorers in this match were Leo, Coby and Hugo who used their blistering pace to good effect. Medway found themselves in deep water with no shark nets to protect them…
Overall – some great team-work and passages of play from the Sharks. The highlight was really the quality of the tagging which bodes well for next year.
Team: Alex Neale, Elliott Stratton, Finn Ravens, Luke Harris, Nilan Van Assche, Robbie Williams
Coaches: Stuart and R-J
Results and Reviews
Overall, the boys did themselves proud with great running, fabulous support play, wonderful teamwork, respect for the opposition and a plethora of tries! Areas for us to focus on – speed of restart leading to missed tags and confidence at the breakdown (it clearly doesn’t always pay to be polite!)
Match 1 Tigers vs Maidstone – Won
The Tigers got off to a winning start, with plenty of tries from Finn, Nilan, Alex and Elliott. The great support work from Luke & Robbie showed that rugby is first and foremost a team game. The Tigers clearly had success in their sights!
Match 2 Tigers vs Gravesend – Lost
Whilst the opposition adopted an “interesting” approach to the non-contact aspect of tag rugby, ably supported by their fifth player on the pitch, the Tigers were out manoeuvred at the breakdown and didn't quite manage to maintain the brilliant standard of tagging they showed in the first game. However, the Tigers still scored some fantastic tries. Luke 'Crash Ball' Harris really stepped up to the challenge of coming from behind, and showed the team the positive impact of running straight, and how his awesome support play could result in a try. Despite the challenging conditions, the Tigers never gave up and more tries came from Elliott and Finn's light footwork.
Match 3 Tigers vs Whitstable – Drew
Luke again proved the art of running directly at the opposition. The whole team were excellent at moving the ball around and keeping it alive, with some mazy runs and successful tagging from Nilan and Alex. The match was a feast for the eyes for those who like their tag rugby fast and furious: for every try that Whistable scored, Sevenoaks came straight back with a try of their own. All credit to the running skills of both teams with no turnovers or running into touch for the whole game.
Match 4 Tigers vs Bromley – Won
A solid victory in the last game with support play and tries abound. Sevenoaks started slowly and Bromley edged ahead. But cometh the hour, cometh Robbie Williams. A flash of brilliance saw him unleash a turn of speed that left Bromley standing; Robbie's try marked a turnaround for the whole team, which forced a Bromley turnover late in the first half. Their intensity continued into the last 5 minutes, which saw brilliant play, support running, and the tries we needed to bring home the victory.
Well done Team Tigers and thank you to the parents and grandparents who came to support on Mother’s Day.