U16 Match report - Wimbledon 36 - Battersea Ironsides 24

More photos can be found here.

A perfect day for rugby.A gentle breeze,a sunny day and a firm pitch .At last for almost the first time all season we had just about our ideal back line to take advantage of the conditions.After a couple of starts in friendly games it was excellent to see Frank - a member of our Tiffin contingent -make his first start in a League match -and he was to make a telling contribution.

After some early pressure from the team which we could not quite convert into a score we finally had the chance to spread the ball wide after the forwards had secured good attacking ball ,great pass by Kohei,well distributed by Erik and Max came into the line to make some space and give a lovely pass to Frank that he could run onto and Frank showing both great pace and the just the right line scored an excellent try.Although there were some fine tries to come this was the best of the lot as an all round team effort.An immediate impact by Frank .

Despite some more pressure we then conceded a try against the run of play but it was indicative of the good spirit that Battersea showed throughtout the game .Suddenly we were 7-5 down. We then were awarded a penalty and showing the increasing maturity in the side we elected to kick the penalty .Though a fair way out Max's kick sailed over -8-7 to us.Max taking over the place kicking duties from our all rounder Tim Fawcett was a good move.Tim showed great commitment to the side to arrive at the pitch only a couple of minutes before kick off coming straight from having made the second stage of his Harlequins Rugby League trial.It was very good effort to play the match after a two hour trial -he did not need place kicking duties as well.

Playing with a slight advantage of the wind Erik and Max made good use of the conditions with some long hanging kicks -well chased up by the backs.
As with the return of Kohei ,Erik playing always gives the side some core stability and apart from him always having a personal impact on the match it allows Max to play full back which gives the side as a whole better balance.So with Battersea kicking deep Max fielded the ball in his own half and beat a few men and looked set to score but was well tackled just short of the line -superb support play by Kohei and Max popped the ball to him from the tackle and Kohei was over .The try was converted by Max and we had some breathing space. A long kick by Erik was well chased up and we were unlucky to have a try for Tim disallowed but we did not let that put us off and we kept at it.

However,Battersea came back again and repeatedly made ground from the base of the scrum with a powerful number 8 where we struggled to make our tackles around the gain line and Max and the backs needed to make a number of one on one tackles .

Our scrum was solid all day but we do have to continue to work on our ball being interrupted at the base of the scrum.Sam had stepped up to play prop for the whole game in the absence of Jake ( who has played well in every game ) and played really well -and well done also to James,George ,Joe and Fred F who ensured that we were solid on our own ball.The pack fought hard throughout contesting well at the loose where we were playing against a bigger pack -just occasionally not getting low enough and clearing the opposition out where the ball was there to be won.The back row of Tim,Fred Kelly,AJ , and Fred Kelting ,Seth and Alex Ross all worked hard ,securing a lot of the 50-50 ball .Seth in particular had one of his best games-fired on like Stephen by playing against many of their school mates.

It was also good to see us dealing with their kick offs so well. No knock ons at all and we just need to concentrate on supporting the catcher and not looking on admiringly as the catcher then has to take on the opposition pack.

With the game definitely in the balance time for Erik to score a fine individual try -his sheer speed and strength being too much for Battersea and allowing him to score under the posts from far out -exactly the sort of try a side never want to concede.Again converted by Max.Battersea then scored again -with us not really concentrating -missing some tackles and still the game was wide open.

After Battersea had kicked long Max made some ground up the touchline and kicked through to find touch on the Battersea 5 metre line. Seth who gave a wholehearted performance in the match made a great catch at the front of the line after Battersea subsequently took the ball out ,the ball was spun out wide and the ever dependable Rory S was through with his pace and under the posts for another excellent team try making the conversion easy for Max near the posts.The scorer and glory go to Rory but it came directly from George's good throw at the line out ,James ,Joe and Seth combining with their lift and catch - a fine team effort.

We needed all our squad today with Stephen who was unlucky with an interception and Tom who had a nice run coming off a scissors, coming on to play on the wings ,a welcome return for Fred Kelting back from injury .Having subs on a warm day with a tough match makes all the difference and the victory was definitely one for the squad as a whole.Frank had come off with a badly gashed lip but then came on again in the second half and was a constant threat -especially off Erik's long pass.

It was very good to see Daniel making some good tackles and one in particular when he used very good technique to turn his man.

Then with the game still not totally safe Erik again replicated his previous try demonstrating his pace over 5 yards -which is the real key in rugby -to score another fine individual try under the posts.That meant the game was safe and a fine overall team victory.

The game was played in excellent spirt by both teams throughout and both sides contributed to a very entertaining game or rugby with some fine play .

Lastly ,many thanks to Greg for refereeing .Many of you will not know but about 8 years ago Greg was the first coach of this team when it was 8 a side and back then it was always Battersea who were our greatest rivals.So great to see Greg back again and for him to see the team put in such a good performance.

It is a shame that Alex Ross was out injured with a damaged hand -lets hope that he is not out for long.The last game of the season is on sunday 26april against Old Alleynians who are bottom of the table and it would be good to have our full squad available for that match including both Alex and Rory L even.

Next Sunday -another league game AT Guildford .We are laid a bit low by Duke of Edinburgh next week so we NEED everyone to make it for what will be a tough but definitely winnable game.

Well done to the whole squad and as always thanks to all the supporters who came along to cheer on the team -it makes a big difference for the guys to have your encouragement.

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