Surrey A Minis Rugby Festival 6 April 2014 - report

Low cloud clung to the Surrey Hills as hundreds of Minis players from around the county converged on Dorking RFCs "Big Field" for the first of the annual end-of-season celebrations. After much debate over what rules/regulations/format would be played it all turned out to be rather normal. Other than referees not keeping score that is...

So after four games (everyone played four games) I'm thrilled to report that Wimbledon U8 A's won all four of our thrilling encounters. We know this because we kept the score. Here's what happened...

Game one - Wimbledon RFC vs Haslemere RFC WIN 6-4

Let's forget the first half. We always have a bad half/game. Thankfully it was only the first 5 minutes of the first game. Going in at half time 2-4 down was a shock for the boys. Woeful tagging was the crime. Max scored both of the tries.

Thankfully a 'pep' talk from JK did the trick and the die was cut for the rest of the day. Parity was restored quickly: first with Guy passing to Ben on the run who scored, swiftly followed by a lovely end to end move from Ben to Jean to Guy - try. Tagging pressure resulted in turnovers in our favour - including a try-saving effort from Max. Try 5 was Jean's following another pitch-length sprint involving five passes and the 6th from a Ben to Max double act. I wrote that the ref was having a nightmare but that must be wrong as a) the ref's always right and b) he wasn't keeping score anyway.

Game two - Wimbledon RFC vs Wimbledon Warriors WIN 6-3

The local derby started with a hat trick from Harry. Number one a darting run with a wicked angle to cut through to score; the second playing with the degrees again and the third an end to end sprint. Monty closed the half out 4-1. The opposition scored first in the second half with a well-worked off load to a player at pace but then Seb scored our 5th thanks to a great pass from Guy and the 6th was due to a dart from JJ along, but not too close to, the touchline, offloading to Max to score. Warriors scored a cracking diving try to finish the match - 6-3 to the claret and blues.

A great game of rugby from both sides and an early reminder of how the kids have grown their skills this year.

Game three - Wimbledon RFC vs Cobham RFC WIN 11-6

Breathless, champagne rugby. We scored first thanks to pressure leading to an early turnover. Seb to Harry, full length of the pitch, try. Next, Luca, with a jinxy run down three quarters of the pitch. Max next thanks to an interception. Seb to Harry (again) and 100% commitment on the sprint and we were 4-0 up. We conceded two before Ben finished the half with our 5th.

The second half started with Oscar leaping on a loose ball - good lad! - who popped the ball to Jean who was there in support - try. Then two tries down, but away from(!) the touchlines - first JJ, then Monty. Cobham also scored a couple of beauties; the spectators were being treated to some great play by both sides. JJ scored tries 9 and 10 (the latter a cracking pass from Jean). Oscar made it 11 from a pass from Guy.

Rugby the winner. Proud coaches and parents all round

Game four - Wimbledon RFC vs Richmond FC WIN 8-3

The final game saw two of the oldest clubs in the country play some cracking rugby. We won the toss and scored first, Monty in the corner after some lovely passing play. Guy scored our second and the third was Harry's after Monty caught the impossible (magic fingertips) and after a fine run passed it to Hazza for the try. Jean scored the 4th to end the half 4-2. Tries were traded straight from the off - ours thanks to JJ passing to Max then our pressure turned the game. JJ to Luca to Ben, try. More pressure, another turnover, Max to Luca, try. More pressure, turnover, Ben to Oscar, try!

Flowing, wide passing, fast running rugby is what the boys played at the festival. And they seemed to love it.

JK summed it up perfectly: "I thought that each and every one of the boys had at least 1 champagne moment and their teamwork, particularly in defence, is getting better all the time. The hard work that they have put in over the season has paid dividends and they are playing a brand of rugby that is fantastic. The future looks bright!"

Unlike the weather which was decidedly grey.

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