U10 Esher B Festival report (20 October 2013)

Wimbledon make the final but miss out on the Cup

Wimbledon 4:2 Old Ruts
Ruts were quite a tall team but with one particularly solid tank. However, we hit the ground running and were 2:0 to the good at half time with Ethan doing the business as usual. Ruts started to gather momentum and it gave our boys the chance to show how much they love tackling! Philippe, as always led the way, Ethan got stuck in and then Brian not wanting to be left out decided to get in on the act. Despite these efforts, Ruts used their tank to rumble over our line to make it 2-1. Moments later, however, Charlie stormed down the wing after we disrupted their attack near our line and sped over the rapidly worsening surface to score in the corner. We started to almost look comfortable playing keep ball and even ventured to pass the ball occasionally! Ethan then finished things off with his hat-trick and we were home. Ollie Hinton came on for his Wimbledon debut at hooker and a victorious start to his Wimbledon rugby career. Our best display performance of rugby this season!

Wimbledon 1:1 Guildfordians
After playing with speed, pace and confidence, we suddenly found ourselves 1:0 down. We pulled one back early in the second half with Ethan charging over and looked like we were going to take it with Sam sprinting down the line only to place a foot on the line before dotting down. Tackling by the trio above plus Bakr and Edward piling in meant we managed to win ball back quite quickly from the mauls although the team seemed to think rucking was an invitation only event and they'd clearly not received theirs! That said, the stats showed we had 70% of possession but we were unable to find the winning try. We maintained white-line fever to the end with Philippe attempting a pick-up and dive but was adjudged "held up" and we were unable to convert our pressure into points.

Wimbledon 3:2 Reeds
We had beaten this team two weeks ago so going in 1:1 at HT made us feel a bit nervous. However, by now we were all up for the challenges. Matheus played with his usual intelligence and kept the backs in line. Seb was at fly half and desperate for the ball in the backs. It duly arrived after Bakr ripped it out of a maul and passed it out. It was shipped out to Charlie who skated over from 10m out to score. By now we were confident and playing with real gusto and no-one wanted to come off. Its the hardest job to have to substitute players and give all the kids a go and to try to maintain strength and balance in the side. Thank you to all the boys for their great attitude in this area. One more score by the irrepressible Ethan and we duly turned the score to 3:1. They then inched towards our line and on the last play they were awarded a try.

We made the FINAL as we were winners of our group

Wimbledon 1: 4 Weybridge Vandals
The Wimbledon coaches had not done their homework on this team. They had a big guy and most of them could tackle hence no tries conceded in their 3 previous games. By HT their big guy had wrestled over for 2 tries largely due to some limited commitment in the tackle.
They got another set up by their big guy and then he got another. Big guys need marking by the best tacklers and we did not do that. We need to get that tackle wheel out!
We were now looking tired from our previous efforts and our heads dropped as we trudged back to the line but Ethan stormed off from the free pass to give us the consolation that we were the only team to score against them.

Special mentions
Bakr: Some strong work in the scrums and mauls, and much improved ball retention by turning earlier in the tackle. At least one of my messages to each player got through.
Ethan: Got out of bed for it thankfully! Great tackling and try scoring.
Ollie H: Debut in a B festival final. Many of our players have been waiting 3 years for that….. .and that is a measure of where this team has come to this season!

We have had a great Autumn festival series and only lost to two teams
Won 6 KCS/Chobham/Reeds x2/Tonbridge/Old Ruts
Drawn 2 Esher/Guildfordians
Lost 3 Cobham x2/Weybridge Vandals

All the best, Alastair, Paddy and Luciana