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Under-13s - Match centre

Hemel Hempstead (Camelot) RUFC
Aylesbury
Sun 5 Mar 09:30 - Friendly Full time Attendance 24

50 up in honour of Les

A game of 3 halves, and a hard fought win.

Over a month without a match, pouring rain, a blustery wind, an early start and tough opposition in the shape of Aylesbury - the boys had every possible excuses available for turning in a below par performance, but no excuses were needed as they put in a rampant display to record another emphatic victory.

Weather conditions at kick-off were atrocious as the rain became heavier and the wind strengthened, ball handling was going to be a challenge, plenty of scrums expected and a job to do for the Forwards. Inevitably it was not long before the pack was put to the test...and they absolutely nailed it.

Three successive scrums saw the front row of Ben, Seb and Ollie, backed up in the second row by Struthers and Woody, with James Isaacs at no.8, totally dominate and give Camelot a psychological advantage. Good scrummaging was backed up with good rucking and it was not long before a familiar tactic paid dividends. The ball gets recycled in the ruck, passed along the back line to George who runs the try in to the corner.

It worked a treat, not just once, but twice in as many minutes as Camelot raced into a 10-0 lead.

The visitors were struggling to gain any ground against a resilient Camelot defence, when they did clear the lines the Backs were picking the ball up comfortably to create another attack. The score could have been more, but wet conditions led to some uncharacteristic knock-ons, leading to yet more scrums.

However, another break through came after Dan kicked a challenging ball forward, the Aylesbury defence was closed down quickly, the ball overturned and more Camelot pressure on the tryline, eventually finished by Woody pouncing over the line. 15-0.

The match was split into three 20 minute periods and before the first break there was time for one more Camelot try. It was Ollie who went on a powerful surging run, breaking the defensive line; when he realised he wasn't going to make it all the way through he popped the ball out perfectly to Ben who was in support. With Ben unable to force an opening either he in turn passed out to Caolan who found the smallest of gaps to squeeze through and score. 20-0.

By the start of the second period the weather had changed completely with the rain easing up and the sun breaking through the cloud, and it was Camelot that continued to dominate. The next try came when Thomas used his strength to break through the middle and cross the line relatively unchallenged. 25-0.

With Camelot so in command it gave the coaches a chance to do a bit of Claudio Ranieri style tinkering with the team, and player positions. A great opportunity for the squad players, the finishers, to get more game time and also a chance for players to try out new positions and appreciate the different roles on the field; but it did nearly backfire.

Straight from a scrum Aylesbury broke through and scored unchallenged. This was followed by another clean breakthrough. Camelot appeared to be on the verge of another score, two metres out from the Aylesbury tryline, but a slightly dodgy attacking kick was intercepted and the visitors made no mistake of breaking the length of the field to score.

With Camelot still resting some of the stronger players on the bench, Aylesbury scored another to pull the score back to 25-15, and suddenly things were starting to look a little nervy with, for the first time in the match, Aylesbury enjoying much of the possession.

On the stroke of the whistle to end the second period it looked as though Thomas had extended Camelot's lead, but the ref had spotted a knock on before the final grounding. 25-15 at the break.

The final period started with the visitors again enjoying good periods of possession and following some quick passing they were through again and were back to within one score of the home side - What was going on?! 25-20.

It was time for the players to steady themselves, take stock of the situation and get back to what they do best, some leadership was needed on the pitch, and in that situation, big James I is your man. The opposition had looked to counteract the threat of George on the wing, doubling up on the tackles, but when George was stopped just a couple of yards out, James was there to pick up the pieces, dropping his shoulders and driving over the line to score.

Moments later James I was at it again, this time Caolan popping the pass out for James to once again burst through and make the score a much more comfortable looking 35-20.

By now Camelot were back to dominating play with Edward and Freddie making a nuisance of themselves in the middle of the park, disrupting any attempts Aylesbury made to get back into the game. It was not long before the next try came, Rocket scoring a trademark try out on the wing to make it a clean sweep of tries scored for the three James' in the squad!

By now the win was in the bag, and it was simply a case of how many. Despite mixing up the positions, the Forwards continued to dominate the scrums and excellent support play in the rucks kept Camelot on the front foot. Surging runs from first Freddie and then James I were thwarted, but then Tommy was on hand to pick the ball, dummy a pass and snake his way through to score.

The scoring finished as it started, the reliable tactic of finding George out wide who makes no mistake in breaking the line and barging his way clean through to score, this time following a good passing move that concluded with Caolan laying off the killer pass to George.

Another all round solid squad performance and a comfortable victory with the Forwards putting in a solid performance to ensure Camelot dominated play and the Backs controlling the match with tactical nouse and good decision-making. Back in the warmth of the clubhouse there was a player of the week for the Forwards and one for the Backs, with Ben being awarded the Forwards award for his support play and Rocket Norman taking the award for his excellent play with ball in hand, easing any pressure with quick thinking and quick feet.

FT: Camelot 50-20 Aylesbury
Tries: George 3, Woody, Caolan, Thomas 2, James I 2, James N

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