ARFC U9s in Wasps EMC Community Cup semi final
A valiant effort puts U9s through to the semi final but Ashford proved to be worthy opponents and took the match to win through to the final.
Wasps EMC Community Cup
In short: Our 14 player squad, made up of…...
...turned up at Halton to play clubs from around the South of England (the idea of this competition being that we play clubs we wouldn't usually get to play) on some of the steepest sloping rugby pitches, the South of England have to offer. The first three matches went:
Aylesbury RFC 3 - Chipping Norton 0
Aylesbury RFC 2 - Canvey Island 0
Aylesbury RFC 1 - Beccehamians 0
These were fantastic wins for our guys. The intensity of their rucking and tackling meant that the opposition rarely got a chance to gain more than a couple of metres and when they did they were quickly picked up by some inspired positional play by our side. WE HAD A DEFENSIVE LINE!
I can't tell those of you who didn't see it, how much the guys worked as a team, from the defensive line to the support play and some well worked (and called on the pitch) set pieces, they really worked it well.
A standout moment for me was in the third match. Failing to break through the opposition (huge lads) in the way they had in the previous two games. They figured out that winning the ball in the breakdown would just lead to a kid twice their size landing on them as soon as they got the ball. So instead, they started using width and passing. This score could have been greater if a few passes had been given to players hanging on the wing in the red zone, but I'm not going to start criticising anything they did.
Blimey - I said "in short" didn't I? Sorry.
These three wins saw us comfortably into the semi final that decided who played at Wasps in the final. We were to play Ashford, who, like us, had won all their games but crucially had scored more tries.
We had to win!
The guys went into the semi final with all the determination they played with all morning. Ashford were a pretty good match for us and neither team could really find a way through to the try line.
Ashford's first try came early in the second half, and with the slope, the wind, the sun and a few decisions (I know, and I'm not blaming the ref for the result) in their favour, they had the momentum. This saw them score one more try and secure a place at the final on the pitch at Wasps.
Now - however tough those guys are, they did all they could to give Ashford the three cheers, but couldn't get to the end with dry eyes.
They were absolutely gutted. We made sure they knew how proud we all were of them and that not one of them had given less than 100%, but you could see that this meant nothing at that moment.
We all then parted and left for Adam's Park, where we re-grouped and watched the match. I can't recall the score. I think it was close and assume that Irish probably edged it - but enough of that…...
Today was a great day for our team. I am in no doubt - having watched all of our recent performances - that any combination of players from the U9's would have achieved the same results.
I think the whole coaching team deserve a huge pat on the back - the decision to mix the players and to work constantly on the basics in training has paid off.
The players are using the techniques we've given them and are running the games on the pitches themselves. It was evident today, as I walked around, that a lot of teams are still reliant on calls from touch to know what they are doing.
One last moment from today that has stuck with me was when one of our players took three opposition players over their own try line and fought to get the ball down with them doing their best to hold it up.
The ref was unsighted and we all saw the ball grounded (no criticism of the ref here by the way - he was superb in all our first three matches). As the whistle blew and our guys realised that no try had been awarded, they all got up and ran back for the restart. No dissent, no sideways glances, no question……better than that though - all I could hear from touch were cheers of encouragement form the parents.
That sort of summed today up for me.
That, and the mountain of bacon rolls and tea and coffee that Stuart and Tanya Holcroft kindly brought from their home round the corner at Halton.
Not only did they save us an absolute fortune and hours of queuing - they also reminded me why I love being part of this team.
Heres to the rest of the season!