U9 at Chobham festival, October 2014

Team: Wimbledon 1
1st match v Reeds.
It was a tentative start for Wimbledon's first contact tournament. No such nerves from Reeds who drove through the Wimbledon defence to score the first try of the day. Wimbledon looked determined though and put together a series
of passes between JJ, Max and Harry before Luke took the ball and ran straight for the try line to make it 1-1. Wimbledon repeatedly tackled the oncoming Reeds team, before a poor ref decision that allowed the Reeds scrum
half to pick up the ball from a re-start and score a try without making the necessary pass. Some clever play by Wimbledon at the start of the second half forced Reeds into a knock-on. With the ball in their hands again, Luca, Freddie and Xavi pushed forward, with Luca passing to Luke for his second try 2-2. Some unrelenting tackling by Wimbledon forced Reeds right back to their own try line, but eventually Reeds managed another couple of tries. Max picked up
the ball, ran the length of the pitch for another try, making it 4-3. Shortly afterwards there was no stopping Luca who drove through a Reeds wall to even the match at 4-4.

2nd match. Cobham 1.
Wimbledon wasted no time with a quick pass from Luca to Harry who ran straight and true to score. A few minutes later, Wimbledon kept up the speedy pace with Max dodging and weaving to make it 2-0 to Wimbledon. Cobham regrouped and pushed hard but were kept on the ground by a determined Wimbledon side. Then Harry and Max made a great run with Max taking it over the line for a 3-0 end to the first half. JJ was hungry for more and made an impressive long run but was just pushed to touch on the edge of the try line. Wimbledon made a strong start to the second half, with Nellie, Luca, JJ, Freddie and Xavi working hard for the next elusive try. Keeping well away from the sidelines JJ scored a lovely try at full stretch to make it 4-0. They weren't to have it all their own way though with Cobham eventually rallying to score their first try. Next Xavi skipped free of a Cobham tackle to make good ground before passing to Luca who pushed though Cobham and flicked the ball to JJ who finished the job to make it 5-1. Wimbledon legs were tiring though and with a couple of minutes to go Cobham managed to claw it back for a 5-3 Wimbledon win.

3rd match. Chobham 1.
The toughest physical match yet. These guys were big and aggressive. Chobham ran through a dazed looking Wimbledon side to score the first try. Soon after we had our first casualty with JJ being subbed off with a kick to the head. Wimbledon regrouped though. Luke was unstoppable, picking up the ball for Wimbledon to even the score 1-1. Despite digging in for a series of tough tackles, he boys were unable to stop Chobham who put a second try on the board. A quick turnaround by Luke caught Chobham on the hop. Luca made a strong drive and passed to Luke who was quick to make for the try line, 2-2. Chobham seemed unstoppable, pushing past the Wimbledon defence, but Max was having none of it. Just as Chobham were about to celebrate another try Max flew in from the right at pace to drive the Chobham player out of play and deny them the try. The second half was a tough slog. Max took a hard tackle and was subbed, the team was looking tired and despite digging in, Chobham went on to take the match 5-2. Battered and bruised, the kids lay down in
the sun for a well deserved rest!

4th match v Teddington 1.
These guys were big and our lot were tired and bruised. Nuff said. Although Wimbledon didn't lose heart, regular 'sweeping' (if it's a legal move maybe we should try it!) by Teddington played a part in a 4-0 defeat. As I spent most of the match on the sidelines nursing Luca's latest injury, there's not much else I can say about that game, so moving on.

5th match v Cobham 2.
John and the guys decided some additional pre-match coaching was required and the teams' spirits rallied for their last game. Cobham stole a quick try to get things moving, but Wimbledon returned fire with a speedy run by Max to even the score at 1-1. Another try by Cobham was returned with another run in by Max to take it to 2-2. One more try by
Cobham left Wimbledon trailing with half time looming. Some good passing ensued finished off by Nellie steaming half the pitch length to put her name on the scoreboard. 3-3 at half time. Freddie put Wimbledon ahead 4-3 with a great dodging run but Cobham then levelled at 4-4. With one minute to go Nellie made another long run but was pushed sideways and denied the try. So it was a long hard slog but the team dug deep and really pulled together.
Looking forward to a hot bath and an ice-pack!

Team: Wimbledon 2
Any spectators listening to the Wimbledon 2 supporters shouting out “chase Monty”, “ fetch him Milo”, “good catch Oscar” or “ faster Rover, faster” might have mistakenly thought they were at the Bichon Frise finals at Crufts rather than watching rugby of the finest pedigree at the Chobham mini festival.

But over the course of the 5 matches, the passion, quality and determination from the team would have had JK purring. It was a masterclass in tackling, and by the end of every game, one thing was clear – the opposition would rather not be holding the ball. It is hard to single out any of the team, but for sheer ferocity Seb (“like a good Henry Honiball”) and Connor (AKA“ the Argentinian”) were especially unwelcome sights for anyone brave enough not to throw the ball away in panic. They showed that tackling isn’t about defence – it can be about attack. And when the ball was back in our hands, the opposition saw more of the back of Conrad and Monty’s shirts than the front.

It is important not to gloat when you have just destroyed opponent after opponent without mercy. But just for the record the five, consecutive, unspoilt, beautiful, superb, masterful victories were 9-4 (Cob2), 8-2 (Reed2), 3-2 (T-t-t-t-t-t-Teddington 2), 6-2 (chob2) and finally in a break from the routine of only playing teams in your own pool - and having won 8-2 against Reed 2 – they faced the might of Reed1. And beat them 8-2.
Great stuff all round and if coach Richard can make his Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war speech before every match then the only other problem we are going to have is where to put the silverware this season.

Team: Wimbledon 3
Coach Ian “Hit Him!” Thomas

Match 1 v Reeds (6-6 tie)
The first match with Reeds provided a strong opener with solid tackling from Wimbledon. First half tries by Hans Hinde, Alex Danna, and two by Daniel Guinness puts Wimbledon into a 4-3 lead going into the half. In the second half Reeds responded with two quick tries before Steven Gumble answered for Wimbledon. Alex provided a sixth try to which Reeds countered leaving the match even at six all.

Match 2 v Cobham (3-8 loss)
The second match saw Wimbledon come up against a very strong Cobham side. A first half try by Daniel Guinness and a couple of second half tries by Freddie Davis and Sonny Thomas were not enough to contain the very strong Cobham attack. Cobham 8 – Wimbledon 3

Match 3 v Teddington (3-5 loss)
In the third match, Wimbledon continued to struggle. A strong first half try by Hans Hinde and second half tries by Daniel Guinness and Steve Gumble were not enough to stop Teddington who won 5-3.

Match 4 v Chobham (6-3 victory)
Match 4 provided something of a turnaround for team 4. In the first half the flood gates opened and tries began to pour in with Daniel Guinness, Freddie Davis (x2) and Steven Gumble. In the second half, Freddie and Daniel both added to their impressive try-scoring tally to bring home the team’s first victory 6-3.

Match 5 v Reeds (9-4 victory)
The hard hours of bear walks and burpees paid off in Wimbledon’s final match. Wimbledon’s strong defence and attacking rugby led to a plethora of tries. In the first half, Steve Gumble, Daniel Guinness (2x) and Freddie Davis combined for four tries. In the second half Steven Gumble scored again and Freddie Davis scored four – yes FOUR – additional tries to ensure a Wimbledon victory.

Team: Wimbledon 5
Wim5 v Cob5 - Cob started very strongly with a try in the very 1st minute. Wim countered brilliantly and Max came v close to scoring a try. Cob then went on to score 3 more tries in quick succession. Ollie L then scored Wim5’s 1st try of the match bringing the score to 4-1. Cob continued to dominate the game despite some great efforts by Wim5 with further tries from George and Ollie L. There was some great tackling by George and Massimo and a couple of missed chances keeping the final score to 7-3 to Cob.

Wim5 v Cob6 - Wim stated the match v strongly with a great push for the line and Ollie P scored a try. Cob countered with a very fast try. Wim then pulled together and great efforts by Mhairi, Ollie P and Felix enabled George to score a try which was sadly disallowed as he was lying on his back. Wim came so close another couple of times and George did a fantastic tackle to stop Cob scoring just before half time when Wim were leading 2-1. Sadly Cob went on to score 4 more tries in the second half despite some excellent tackling by Massimo and Robbie, the final result being 5-2 to Cob6

Wim5 v Chob5 - Wim started v strongly and there was great running by William P, Ollie L and excellent tackling by George, but Chob scored first. Massimo then went straight for the line and evened the score at 1 - 1. Robbie did a great pickup and passed the ball to Felix who had a strong run but lost the ball to Chob who then scored their 2nd try. Felix then scored a try for Wim to even the score at 2 - 2 at half time. Despite some great efforts early in the second half Chob scored 2 fast tries. Massimo turned it around with the help of Wilf and William S to score another try. Cob came in with another, and Wim ended a very close game with a final try from Ollie L to make the final score 4-5 to Chob5. Despite the final score, this was a much more evenly matched game, and it could have gone either way.