Aylesbury RFC U10s: Wasps Community Cup
The U10s fight all the way to the Semi final for a second year on the trot.
Apologies for the cancelled training session this sunday, having been to the club both on Saturday and today, I'm fairly comfortable with the decision.
I watched ten minutes of the 1st team's game on saturday, but having been unable to work out which mud coated team was which, I gave up.
Pleased to report that despite the conditions the 1st team recorded a four try victory (a much needed one) over the league leaders, Reading Abbey.
Happily - I can report on another superb performance from an Aylesbury side this weekend.
Our own guys put in some outstanding performances to once again reach the semi final of the Wasps Community Cup.
Joel Lincoln, Jack Fines-Allin, Ollie McKenna, Ali Jacques, Ben Sarraff, Ben Smith, Jack Bull, Jenson Ready, Dan Garson-Pilbeam, Sam Garson-Pilbeam, Anuj Chauhan and Max Milham all rocked up at what was a horrific time for a Sunday morning chirpy as ever and keen to get going.
Phil, Kevin, Bryan, Bal and Craig....well, they were there, so that was good.
In truth, the last couple of weeks had not been the best preparation for a tough tournament like this one; having played against our toughest rivals Buckingham and Marlow on consecutive weekends and coming off worse each time.
Round 1: ARFC 0-0 Maidenhead
Clearly not something that was weighing too heavily on the minds of our team as, after a decent warm up, they trotted out and in a powerful game of hard hits and few errors by either side held Maidenhead to a draw.
A solid start but not one that allowed the guys to walk away thinking they'd got the day beaten.
Round 2: ARFC 4-0 Oxford Harlequins
Another slugfest for us, but this time a few individual efforts which were as much brave as they were technically brilliant saw us break through four times and the opposition not once.
Round 3: ARFC 4-0 Eastleigh
This round saw us having to drop to eight a side to match an understaffed Eastleigh side. I'm sure that like me, most of the players assumed that this had meant they'd struggled to get a squad together.
Any confidence this may given us was soon sapped when the Eastleigh giants (as they might better have been named) came lumbering on to the pitch.
No issue for our guys who very quickly worked out that what we lacked in size, they lacked in pace. That's not say that some of our guys didn't enjoy trying to topple them, just that for the larger part our boys started to work more as a team than they had to that point. The net result being that we spent most of the time in attack and were rewarded with four more scores.
Round 4: ARFC 7-1 Ashford
This was a huge match. Ashford had been the team who stopped us progressing to the final at Adam's Park last year. Once Bryan had pointed this out to the team (a lot of who were there last year), the atmosphere changed.
There was more aggression when the whistle blew to start this game, than I'd seen all morning in any of the games. All good natured, all within the rules and all delivered with bone crunching determination.
Even the players who to that point had been a little less involved, were rucking and tackling. I think this is the match where one Aylesbury player - ball in hand - dragged three or four Ashford guys 15 metres down the field and still got the ball down to score. There was also a moment of magic as one of our slighter players broke four tackles (without fending off) leaving himself a 20 metre clear run to score. It was awesome!
That said, I think it may also have been the match where (and this where it's fair that I don't single players out for good or bad) we had an Ashtonesque waving of the hand on the way to a try being scored following another brilliant break (swiftly dealt with there and then by the ref and again by me after the match), and a beautiful moment when the ref called "last play!", only for the scrum to collapse and an Aylesbury hand appearing from nowhere, with the ball attached briefly as the player threw it in to touch. Genius if it had worked!
Quarter Final: ARFC 2-1 Chippenham
I can't speak for anyone else, but I felt that we'd win this match whatever. The team's confidence was up, they knew what they could do and most importantly they were excited about doing it.
Chippenham were an excellent match, this was a step up from the teams we'd already played and the guys dealt with it comfortably.
Every player performed to the best of their ability, hardly any tackles were missed and handling errors were few and far between.
They did what was necessary and they took the win.
Semi Final: ARFC 0-3 Marlow
As I said earlier, the best preparation for playing Marlow in a semi probably isn't playing Marlow at home the week before and getting run around the park.
You could sense the guys' nerves as the result came in that confirmed that's who we'd be playing, and to be frank, you could see them, all through the first half.
For ten minutes, Marlow ran a master class in distributing the ball and creating space. I have to admit that their ability to spread the ball in either direction while running at pace was great to watch.
I havent seen another team at this age group capable of doing what they do. Because of this, they found their way round us three times before the break.
The second half was a different story, there was no way Marlow were going to score and our defensive line stopped them every time.
We came close to scoring a couple of times, but decisions didn't go our way and we finished without a score.
The players didn't get upset this year in the same way they did last, I think that extra year has given them the maturity to take on board what they'd done, process it and come away knowing that what they'd achieved was, in itself worth celebrating.
I think I can speak for all of the coaches when I say, that we were more than satisfied. It's worth bearing in mind that we didn't select the strongest team we could. The team was self selecting in the respect that the first parents to reply to the invite, made up the squad. I know for a fact that we were up against several 'A-teams' yesterday.
Marlow went on to win the Cup and in Wasps match report, I noticed this, " Marlow produced some great handling and off-loading skills to stretch their lead".
So, there we are, we know what we need to work on and I look forward to facing Marlow in the final next year.
One more note about the day. It sometimes seems that there are two ways to play the game:
1: win at all costs
2: play to the letter and spirit of the law
We certainly experienced this at a recent festival, where we came away battered and miserable, but having won the Fair play award.
Yesterday, we played to the spirit and the letter of the law, but on two separate occasions - the manager of our opponents, during a match (a match they were losing), made the effort to come and comment on how sporting and decent our kids are. Often because we stopped to help an injured player, or had paid a compliment to an opponent for something they'd been impressed by.
Apparently there is a middle ground, and I'm proud it's our team that tread it.
Right, I'm going to sign off before I bore myself to tears, let alone you lot.
Thanks to all involved this weekend and also to all the players and parents who weren't at this one, but contribute to it all season long.