Chippenham RFC

Chippenham U9’s Win Chichester International Festival

by Matthew Stephen

So the end of Season finale is upon us and a very happy bunch of U9’s travel down to Chichester to take part in the International Mini series for the

third year running.

The weather thankfully was perfect (Don’t even think about the weather from last year!!) and the company was even better. It was truly great fun to be part of such a successful club where over 100 Chippenham players from U7-U11’s age groups attended along with families in the real spirit of Rugby – having FUN!! The camping was enjoyable as we were able to take over an entire camp site field and all the players could and did intermingle with all other age groups and really bond as a Club. Of course, none of the parents needed the excuse of a game of Touch, cricket or hide and seek to get to know the other parents. This was done in the usual manner over a beverage in the ever popular ‘Taffs Tavern’. A particular mention and thanks to the TT Tea fund which paid for all the U9 players to have Hot Dogs and Chips as an unofficial ‘Street Party’ and thanks to a generous sponsor, all the Chippenham players were presented with personalised CRFC Training tops.

After the Tents were upped, the drinks were downed and all the Horns were blown, even the thunderstorm couldn’t put a dampener on everybody’s spirits, and so after a good nights sleep, it was off to Chichester to get into the Rugby.

The competition this year was a bit disappointing for the U9’s as the organisers had seemed to forget to invite any other U9 teams. In fact they only managed to get four and two of those were from Chippenham!! Questions were asked and no reasonable answers given, so it was going to be a case of playing each team twice and the winners would be based on a league basis. Along with the organiser’s poor management of invitations, they also managed to arrange that both Chippenham sides played simultaneously, which all seasoned readers will know, is my nemesis. On this occasion, I would point out that it was not Greg’s fault, although there are other things that I shall blame him for later. The other teams came from Old Corfelians (Corfe) and Old Wimbledonians (Wim) and both played with a positive attacking style so it was going to be interesting.

Game 1 – Chippenham Whites U 9’s 3 – Corfe 4

A great start saw Chippenham winning 3-1 at HT and all was looking rosy, Tries by Elliot, Alex and Woody showed the attacking intent but in the second half, Corfe came back strongly and some firm forward play saw them edge back into the game. Corfe won the game with a very good try on the last play and Chippenham needed to re-group. Tries scored by Elliot, Alex and Woody.

Game 2 – Chippenham Blacks U 9’s 2 – Wim 1

The first half saw the Blacks produce some excellent rugby and they really took control of the game with their two tries. Wim played well and came back into the game but stout defence only allowed them one try. A good start. Tries scored by Tom H and Eddie T.

Game 3 – Chippenham Whites U9’s 2 – Wim 2

The Whites got back into the attacking swing and played some great Rugby. Elliott danced through to score a brace of tries and Wim had to be at their best. They did come back and even though the tackling by Sam, Elliott, Ben, Josh, Joe and all the team was great but Wim scored the equaliser, again on the last play. Heads did not drop and the team remained positive. Tries scored by Elliott (2)

Game 4 – Chippenham Blacks U9’s 2 – Corfe 0

The Chippenham team really started to pass the ball around well and the direct running produced two very good tries for Eddie T. The team really gelled as a unit and played well against a very good Corfe side. Tries scored by Eddie T (2).

Game 5 – Chippenham Whites U9’s 1 – Chippenham Blacks U9’s 2

This was the big one. The head-to-head. The rumble in the jungle, etc, etc. Impartial observers stated that this was one of the most committed games they’d watched and they couldn’t believe that they played for the same club. No inch was given and both teams played superb, strong Rugby in a great match. To name any particular players would be unfair as all of the U9 squad contributed to a great spectacle. Well done to both teams. Whites Try scored by Ben. Blacks tries scored by Tom C (2).

Game 6 – Chippenham Whites U 9’s 1 – Corfe 5

After a long hot day of hard rugby, this might have been a game too far. The Whites didn’t produce their usual game and respect is due to Corfe who played well. The important thing was that the game ended in the right spirit and both sides showed respect to their opponents. Try scored by Jack A.

Game 7 – Chippenham Blacks U9’s 4 – Wim 2

The Blacks kept on rolling and wanted to keep their unbeaten record intact. They did this in style with great ball retention and strong direct running. They produced a great performance to finish Day One. Tries scored by George, Tom H (2) and Eddie T.

So that was the end of Saturdays rugby and everyone made their way back to campsite in good spirits, via Tesco’s to replenish vital and essential supplies.

Now the plan was to have a joint BBQ, which I hear went very well. I opted for the takeaway Chinese which I thought was a very good idea apart from the amount of time spent in the stupidly small toilet the following morning. Now I blame the Mini’s Chairman for this. Not the fact that I had a Chinese, but for the ridiculous size of the karrzee which he should have checked prior to booking the campsite. Questions will be asked..

After meals were consumed, a kangaroo court was convened in Taff’s Tavern by the much learned Judge Jimmer (some unkindly might say he’s got much to learn) and a various array of miscreants were brought forward to face trumped up charges (opps, sorry your honour) to face very serious charges. It was not a pretty sight and the punishment of Deano’s R-ider was harsh indeed. (I can vouch for that. Harsh?? It was awful!!) A further Court session may be called to investigate the heinous crime of the pilfering of a glitterball, the proud property of the U9’s by some other age group, who’ve yet to be identified by the relevant authorities.

Anyway, after a lot of marquee rustling and a goodish night’s sleep, it was back to Chichester for the final games. Again the sun shone and all the Chippenham U9’s were looking forward to the games ahead. (They were honestly. They just looked half asleep to give the opponents false hope)

Game 8 – Chippenham Whites U9’s 1 – Wim 2

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This was the last game as U9’s and the Whites played well and competed strongly. Wim scored first although it’s still to be confirmed that the player has now stopped running and touched the ball down in France. In all seriousness, Wim played well and were 0-1 up at HT. Chippenham came back with a typical strong try from Ben but Wim then scored the winning try on the last play (Heard that before somewhere?) The Whites did well and all the team should be proud. Try scored by Ben.

Game 9 – Chippenham Blacks U9’s 3 – Corfe 0

And in the last game for the Black’s as U9’s, they produced a great performance against a good team but Corfe couldn’t stay with Chippenham and the Black’s showed real strength and took every opportunity well. With this being the last game, it meant that the Blacks were unbeaten throughout the Festival and rightly deserved the title of ‘Winners’.

Tries scored by Tom H, Jack C and Matthew H.

So in the Third time that this age group has taken part in this Festival and they have ended up winning two out the three years (last year they were third). This is a great achievement and as some Welsh singer once said, ‘I was there’

It’s a real testament to the strength of this age group that they’ve developed throughout the years and new players have been warmly welcomed and added to this strength. Many parents have attended, helped and made this squad what they are.

As this is my last match report for this age group, I would like to thank a number of people who have contributed to the whole success. Firstly, Naomi who put huge work into organising the whole event for Chippenham RFC and sometimes faced not the most helpful International Mini Rugby Series people. Thanks to Mr Chairman for ordering the Horns!! Thanks to all the Coaches who put in such time and effort; James, Dean, Taff, Griff, Shaun, Pete, Trystan and Colin. Thanks to Becky and Tammy for all the work they do as Administrators. Thanks to the First Aiders. Thanks to Jackie as Team photographer and to Jackie, Taff and Jess for all the work they’ve put in to make Taff’s Tavern what it is.

Your work is greatly appreciated and goes into making this group of boys what they are - A great Rugby Squad for the years ahead.

To the person taking over the role of Match Reporter, all I would say is remember that people do read these reports as confirmed by Grandparents, Mr Dreelan’s coaching opponents and the not-folically challenged Bath coaches, so be careful what you say. I hope that you enjoy taking on the role as much as I’ve done, sitting down with a glass of wine on a Sunday evening and typing out reams of stuff which hopefully reflects the moment in time when your child made new friends playing Rugby for Chippenham – and most importantly, ENJOYED IT.

What more can anyone ask for? Well done to all involved in a great Rugby Club – You're all part of it.

Match Reporter – Matthew (Phew, that’s my last report over and done with. Hope someone reads it?) Stephen

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