THE DOMINATED SHADE AN IMPROBABLE VICTORY
ENFIELD IGNATIANS U16s 7 - ETON MANOR U16s 5 (FRIENDLY)
You had to admire the spirit and grit if little else. As despite being forced to attend to defensive chores for the large portions of the game, the U16s were forced to dig very deep defensively as they shaded an improbable 7-5 victory over the more fluid Eton Manor.
In a firmly and fairly refereed game, Ignatians, having struggled to get on the front foot throughout, made the all important breakthrough in the second-half, when in a rare attack, they laid the improbable foundations of victory after a confusing passage of play close to the Eton Manor line. The forceful Anthony Cabaco, having managed to steal the ball from Eton Manor's grasp from under their own noses, was the chief catalyst of the score; it ended with fly-half Daniel Redding going over and converting his own try.
Having had a first-half disallowed in the first-half for a forward pass, Eton Manor were first on the scoreboard in the second-half. After breaking the first line of defence, Eton Manor pressed forward and the successful link-up play enabled the ball to be successfully transferred to the wing.
Ignatians' saving grace in the game was their high tackle count. Ted Lloyd let by shining example, and William Wakeford and Ben Phillips also excelled in this department as a heroic, rear-guard effort managed to thwart the scoring ambitions of Eton Manor.
There were times when Ignatians' game-management and decision making were called into question, and although the lineout wobbled a couple of times, it was at the breakdown, when they turned the ball over six to seven times, that they particularly suffered after falling victims to the counter-ruck.
The U16s kicking and territorial game also needs re-visiting but, having put in a monumental shift defensively, they gritted themselves through thick and thin, and they will now be seeking to regain their attacking flair and élan.
Coach Colin Pennicott said: "It was a good display and a very hard game. I thought we stood off too much in the game and need to support each other far more on the pitch. There's plenty more to work on."