U10 Festival reports: Wimbledon B and Cobham A (29 September 2013)

Festival Report from Cobham

Despite losing out to a count back decision in the final of the bowl, there were a lot of positives from the Cobham festival. However, passing continues to be the key area of improvement, just ask the frustrated wingers!

Cobham 3 Wimbledon 0
The first match was against the home team, Cobham. However, with 5 minutes to kick off we only had 5 players, some going to CHOBHAM instead...! Despite the cold start, we were playing well with a good few runs through the middle by big Freddie, supported by Lucas, Ollie, Ethan and Tom. Cobham turned it over, ran it up the middle and PASSED out to the left, but found George waiting with a big tackle, which was then ripped out by Wimbledon(Evan I think) and onto big Freddie for another charging run down the middle. Evan then rucked superbly to set up Freddie again, but we were held up again. Cobham then started to get the upper hand, but some great tackling (much better than last season) kept them at bay. Cobham recycled the ball well, but the half ended with a joint tackle by George and Freddie. 0-0 at half time. After a few substitutions, we got back underway. The second half started well with some great interplay between Casper, Yanni, Freddie J and Edward. Then Cobham were running, offloading and PASSING at pace, and we missed a couple of tackles which led to a Cobham try
down the wing. Then followed a good burst from Casper and strong tackles from Edward and Evan. Otto almost got through down the wing, but the we lost the subsequent line out and Cobham scored another try down the wing. We had a few more bursts down the middle, but Cobham were strong in defence. Despite some great tackles from all, Cobham scored another and the full time score was 3-0.

Wimbledon 1 Farnham 1
Farnham kicked off and were greeted with a great first tackle by big Freddie, which was then ripped out and fed back to Casper for a run down the wing, but just got knocked into touch. We had Farnham backed into a corner, but we lost the line out and Farnham ran the length of the pitch for a breakaway try. Tom and Casper combined well with a PASSING move, Evan recycled well (again) and set up big Freddie for a try. George and Ethan then combined for a double tackle on Farnham, with Ethan winning the ball but getting injured too. Otto made a good pick and go move, but half time was called. The start of the second half saw excellent Wimbledon defence. Tackles from Ollie and Evan led to a turnover to Wimbledon, this led a PASS from Evan to Casper and eventually a scrum just 5m out. Lucas drove the scrum but Farnham stole the ball back; despite another Ollie tackle we missed two more and Farnham had a penalty. Farnham were attacking again, but were slowed by Ollie and then Freddie J put in a match saving tackle, knocking the opposing player into touch. Yanni and Evan combined with some passing, but the match ended a draw.

Wimbledon 0 Reeds 2
The last pool match was against Reeds and a few positions were changed around. We started well with a drive from Ollie, supported by George. Tom drove forward and offloaded well in the tackle, but Reeds were standing firm. George managed to rip the ball out, and Lucas, Ollie and Freddie drove the maul onwards and to a penalty in our favour. We went up the middle again with Edward charging through and offloading well, but eventually we were smothered out by Reeds. They turned it over and ran straight threw us with a couple of missed tackles leading to a try to Reeds. Despite a great run by Evan and Ollie, half time finished 1-0 to Reeds.

After the restart Lucas and Freddie J combined well early on, but Reeds tackled well and won a line out. Reeds secured the line out and skipped through two missed tackles for their second try. After the restart Yanni made some good central runs, but Reeds were solid in the middle. Evan was rucking and tackling constantly and held off any further score. Otto and Ethan were screaming for the ball on the wings throughout...

Wimbledon came third in our group stage (as Farnham lost 5-0 to Reeds) so we were though the the bowl final.

Wimbledon 1 Warlingham 1
We reverted back to the positions we had against Farnham. We made a fantastic start and were dominating the match. Otto shot down the wing, but was held back by a high tackle. We unfortunately knocked on from the restart, but after another big Freddie tackle we won it back and Casper was off on a snaking run, he passed to Otto but as he offloaded, the ball went forward. Warlingham passed it out wide and were tackled by Otto on the their right and then by George on the other wing. From the ensuing penalty, big Freddie charged down the pitch and scored! 1-1 at half time. Warlingham started the second half strongly, and against the run of play scored a try early on. It was pretty even now with both teams keeping the ball in a 5m channel down the centre of the pitch, despite calls from both Freddie J and Yanni to get the ball out wide. The central enforcers of: Tom, Edward, Lucas, Ollie and Ethan were taking it in turns of driving, tackling, rucking and mauling. Freddie and Evan made some central runs and the ball came out to Casper who sprinted the length of the pitch and just as he was about to plant the ball for a try, he was tackled from behind and the ball went forward. Evan managed to rip the ball back a few seconds later, but we were out of time. Very unfortunately, the boys lost out to a count back decision, as Warlingham won one of their group games. Ollie won player the day for his tackling and driving runs.

Overall, the tackling and position awareness was much improved, and the boys were unlucky not to have won something. There were no backward/sideways runs, so we made good penetration up the middle. However, we need to learn to pass/offload better and bring the whole team into play.

Festival Report from Wimbledon

Entering fortress Barham Road we felt parking was going to he the first hurdle of the day but the efficiency of the U11 squad on car park duty for the B fest could not be questioned (next year it's our turn!) and I dutifully parked my 12yr old MPV next to the gleaming white 13plate BMW x5 . Obviously our visitors were dressed to impress! However I was confident our new bullet proof marquee would show them up and sure enough I looked down from the clubhouse patio to see a line of cranes hoisting the 60 kg monoliths into their foundations. We dutifully entered ours dumped our bags and then stood proudly outside our all black marquee waiting for someone to say 'what a beautiful tent you have' or something like that. Sadly no one did. In fact no one knew who we were other than some Camberley and Esher players who play in black! I feel a U10 tent graffiti session coming on. That will get us recognised, in fact that would be a great children's game while we our having our Sunday lunch on Sunday 13th.,,, as the kids will no doubt gobble it down in 10 s!

Clearly our new Irish groundsman, come first team scrum half had been hard at work as well. Unfortunately he must have been using the Irish metric ruler when devising our x2 rugby pitches which looked remarkable like 43m across rather than the required 35m and included the bonus of a yellow line along the middle of the pitch as well as a half way line and was finished off with some sticks placed at the corner of each in goal area only. Anyway after a bit of rejigging we were off and ready to play or so we thought, but Wimbledon Warriors, who were due to play in our group cried off so we only had 3 games in our league and some unfortunate hanging around. But that at least that gave us time to practice our plays.

Wimbledon 5 - KCS 1
Our first match started with an enthusiastic call of "Elephant" and the ball was promptly passed to someone else. Despite this slight mis-communication Wimbledon managed to gather themselves and drive forwards. After several energy sapping tussles between large groups of players from both sides Ethan D emerged with the ball and ran through the middle brushing aside would-be tacklers and touching down to score. We were up and running. Wimbledon almost immediately won the ball back after some brave tackling by Philippe and driving by Nick and Bakr through the middle. The boys were running straight (mostly) taking contact and even passing!

Ethan took advantage of this new found spirit of teamwork and latched onto a break by Toby and finished off to score. At this point Kings fought back to run through some tackles and score a try of their own After a series of rucks and mauls the ball was ripped out by Will H, moved on to Seb who passed on in the tackle to Stuart. His arcing run put him just out of the reach of the Kings players and he ran in to score in the corner. We led 3-1 at half-time but needed to make the match safe.

After good approach work Stuart popped up a pass just before the line for Ethan to score his hatrick. Then Sam scored after great support and a line-hugging charge for the line. The match was a great confidence boost and totally rid us of any pre-festival nerves.

Wimbledon 3 - Esher 3
We knew this was going to be the crunch match of our group and we needed to make a good start. Unfortunately things didn't go quite to plan and we found ourselves 3-0 down at half-time. But our spirit was not to be crushed and we began an immediate fight-back with Ethan touching down after a bullocking run from the half-way line straight through the middle. Suddenly Wimbledon were in the ascendancy and Esher on the ropes. There was some great tackling and foraging by our forwards and keeping the ball alive in the backs. and then Charlie put on the afterburners and sped past some flailing arms to touch down.We still needed to score one more so the coach decided we needed to replace a dazed Ethan with Stuart who straight away got the ball and faced with a wall of black shirts ran right then switched back and then ran around the outside of their team and then inside again to score - fantastic! 3 all and the final whistle went - what a comeback.

Wimbledon 1 - Cobham 2 (the eventual joint winners)
This was the biggest team in the festival and for the first five minutes only a desperate rear-guard action prevented Cobham scoring more than once. Philippe was still tackling enthusiastically and now Ethan was launching himself at the oppo bringing down three attackers in textbook style. The whole team galvanised and started to rumble forward but the ref liked to stop the game frequently and give a little lecture every time. These breaks didn't de-rail our momentum and after a half-break by Louis the ball found its way to Ethan who drove and drove and drove for the line and put us level. Cobham came back and managed to score on the outside after good continuity and in the dying seconds we thought Charlie had clinched us a place in the playoffs when he ran through to score but the ref had blown, quietly, for a Cobham knock on and called play back. He then blew for time and we'd been defeated by the narrowest of margins! The players were gutted but didn't complain (too loudly anyway) and went off for a well deserved burger.

Overall, we still need to improve on the set pieces, our line outs were shaky, we were too easily pushed off the ball in the scrum. In the loose we tended to stand back and watch the ball rather than grab it in the tackle area but our teamwork, passing, tackling and commitment were a joy to see. Well played everyone and a big thank you to the u12 for organising the festival.

Cheers, Paddy and Alastair

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