As a coach when you turn up at a festival the first thing you do is read the programme. Reading Axon’s programme a feeling of fear came over me as it read; Sevenoaks, Edenbridge, Westcombe Park, Sidcup and a made up side from Beccs (who where the biggest boys I’ve seen). Anyone who was with me last year at the same festival when I turned up with the B team to find out it was A team festival, you then understand my concern. I had refereed the first three teams last week at the Kent Festival and knew they were all very good, finishing way above us. Today was to be very different; for one thing everyone was there by 9.30am (a special thanks to Chris S who picked up Uzo from Q E Hospital – ironic in that half the team seemed to end up being dropped off at a hospital during the day).
Our first opposition was Sevenoaks a very well drilled team. The game started and to everyone’s amazement by half time it was all level. In fact we were on top in the second half as Sevenoaks started to come back into the match. But with a solid defence (including Mitchell taking a forearm smash to the nose earning him a free trip to hospital) the game finished 0-0; a great opening result.
Next game, Westcombe Park and wow what a game forwards driving Westcombe park off the pitch. We then we attacked with our new weapon Albert (head down) Kingwell breaking the game line for the forwards to power forward and when the gaps opened up out wide we moved it wide. A great 3-0 win. From memory the scorers were James (Blindside) Sawkings, Beau (bulldog) Farrance and Tom (can I play Centre) Collins. I think its fair to say Park where shocked with the way we turned them over.
Next game was against a made up side of Beccahamiams very very big boys, but as Sam (in your face) Ryan now knows the big ones come down easy. The highlight was a great team try with the forwards banging holes, the backs crashing forward for the forwards. The forwards continued to draw the opposition in and we created an overlap, with quick hands by the backs leaving a 2 v 1. Bertie drawing the last man to let Uzo (see you later) Onyekwere to run it in. Other scores where Toby (the pack horse) Smith, TC and Albert 4-0. With the return of Mitchell (take me to A&E) Crittenden, the boys started to enjoy the sunshine.
Now for Sidcup. The coaches didn’t have to say much to the boys for this game and from the start we all could see they wanted it. By the end of the game I’m sure I could see white flags, 3 - 0 try scorers Bo, Sam, and Ouzo as Sidcup didn’t know what hit them.
So we go back to gazebo undefeated no tries against with the last game against Edenbridge also undefeated and Kent Cup finalists. From the kick off we put them on the back foot, a hard game for all our boys, but with great defence and good breaking runs it finished 0-0. Even their coaches praised our team, saying we didn’t let them play the way they wanted to. The only downside being TC leaving the festival after taking a bang to his knee.
So with Edenbridge, Sevenoaks, and us all level on points it was down to try difference. We missed out going to the cup final to Edenbridge by one try - what a great performance by the boys.
Now the final against the hosts Beccs, who had beat us 4-1 when we last met them in a final. The game kick off and after some sloppy play by us Beccs scored the first and only try against us all day (please don’t let your heads go down was the thoughts of some of us). A quick tap penalty on our 5 meter line with the boys looking at the ref a Beccs run it in. But the boys heads didn’t drop. Instead they worked out that if we didn’t give them the ball it was the best thing to do. So they didn’t! Then bang Albert went on a run with a couple of his funny side steps that he does and over to score, 1 -1. From that moment the boys took control so it was only a matter of time before Uzo went over to score the winning try. Final whistle 2-1 to Darts.
UNDEFEATED for the whole day - not to bad. I need to mention the other players; The front (did you see me on the telly) row Aaron, Charlie, Luke we salute you. In in the backs Matthew (the tackle) Clark, glad to see you back on your game with some of the best tackles of the day, Louis (it was only cause of me we won) Avery and finally James (kick up the bum) Axon - solid again. And now a special thanks to the other coaches Jim (get tight) Davy, Danny (the special one) Sawkings and Chris (the rock) Symons, our man Steve (the clip board) Nixon, our water carrier Emma and Charlotte for taking photos.
But a massive thank you goes out to the parents you were awesome helping all the boys not just your own you made sure all the boys were ready it was such a great team effort .
If I have got any of the scorers wrong sorry but I not that worried about scorers it’s about the team
Be very proud boys, you did what we all knew you could.