The weather was great, good facilities and great organization - a perfect setting for a day of rugby.
After winning their qualifying tournament in Hilversum, BSN1 was placed top seed in their National pool comprising Rotterdam, Castricumse and Gouda. Unfortunately BSN2 failed to reach Finals day - but their efforts in the qualifying tournament were full of courage and promise for next year. This also provided an opportunity for a larger squad to be fielded by the 1s - which was of real value.
Although, the opposition aimed up and played hard, a strong BSN side won their pool matches by decent margins. The squad was explosive from the outset ceding little ground and scoring many tries early. The coaches were able to make sure that all players got plenty of game time and a bit of rest so as to keep some reserve for later in the day.
BSN was matched up against a pool won by Oemoemenoe (from Middleburg area). They were a big side, were physically strong and a tendency to be a little careless in the tackle. Unfortunately for them, BSN was fired up to get to the finals and dominated the entire match. BSN's strong forwards ruled the breakdown and scrum. However it was BSN's backs that were faster and more skilful than the opposition, using quick ball and solid passing to run in many tries.
The winners of the other two pools were HRC and Diok. Their semi-final game was fierce as the two teams were evenly matched. HRC was solid across the pitch while Diok had very large and explosive backs. Diok scored first and were exhilarated. However this was short lived as HRC tied the match minutes later. The game went to sudden death with Diok scoring once again using their speed on the corner.
For BSN, it didn't matter which team got through - Diok or HRC. They were ready for either. The coaches, parents and players were on edge, looking forward to the big match with great anticipation. Within a minute of kickoff, BSN scored with a classic crash ball play with their solid forward pack. Diok was not conceding easily and the boys had to fight for every inch. This is when it became apparent - why the team was dominating, why they were so good. It was their defensive play. Despite there being a lot of discontinuity (read whistles) for the rest of the match and regardless of how many times the ball was awarded to Diok, BSN conceded nothing in terms of yardage or space. The pressure was intense and relentless. BSN dominated the entire match; but what kept coaches nervous was the mere 1 try margin which did not reflect the true state of the game. One error could tie it but there were no errors to be had from BSN. The final whistle blew with BSN battling just metres from the try-line in a massive effort to the second try. The game ended 1-0 for BSN.
To finish off a fantastic day, BSN's 3 captains took to the podium to accept the trophy. When asked if they had anything to say, Dan Michel took to microphone and gave a wonderful, spontaneous tribute to Deventer, Diok and all the players from all the teams that played so hard that day. The speech was delivered in Dutch and the crowd responded with great applause. This speech, BSN fair play, team spirit and sportsmanship helped raise the respect for BSN another notch or two last Saturday - something we should all continue to strive for.