Plenty of Positives, Plenty to Work On
A very close match sees ARFC U15s edge it.
Following the cancellation of last week’s cup match, a hastily arranged friendly fixture saw ARFC U15s take the field at Towcestrians RFC. Missing a number of players through injury, illness and, would you believe it, a triathlon, our small but resolute squad had a number of players forced into unfamiliar positions - a situation they faced with good grace and enthusiasm.
Our hosts started strongly, fielding the kick and slipping the ball comfortably through the hands to send their useful #12 through a couple of weak attempted tackles and over in the corner for a try which remained unconverted. Thankfully, that proved the wake-up call our boys needed and, with their defensive shape holding, Ay’s began to put some phases together, recycling the ball well and competing at the breakdown, but never finding the breakthrough; lots of industry, but often too little inspiration. The ensuing fifty minutes saw both teams struggle to stamp their authority on the game. Tow’s combination of hard-tackling centres and a quick, aggressive number 8 meant that Ollie, playing his first full game at fly-half, was too often under pressure when he received the ball, giving little chance to use the pace and power outside him, whilst Aylesbury’s constant harrying of the ball-carrier, strong tackling from the pack and some intelligent kicking from the half-backs continually forced Towcestrians back into their own half.
Having seen several attempts to break wide snuffed out, Dan finally decided he’d seen enough, dummied three defenders, eased through the gap and took A’s into unfamiliar territory - the Tows’ 22 - from where the forwards picked and went to good effect, and saw their tireless work rewarded with a try for Sam at the base of the posts. Joe knocked over the conversion. 7-5 to Aylesbury.
The remaining five minutes were a frantic affair, but A’s held strong in the face of some determined and intelligent attacking play, snuffing out a couple of Tows’ chances to emerge victors from a close-fought game between two very evenly-matched sides. Much to be positive about, then, but plenty to work on this week ahead of our first league fixture. Thanks to our hosts, Towcestrians RFC, and to all of the ARFC players for their hard work and commitment on the day, particularly the less-experienced members of the squad. MOM – Ollie McKenna, playing well in an unfamiliar position, under some very testing conditions.