U14s back to winning ways
Very wet but at least not muddy!
With everyone else needing wellies on a particularly wet day we were lucky to be invited to US Portsmouth for a game on their 3G pitch. Due to the Easter holidays and injuries we were reduced to 12 players but luckily that’s all USP could muster so we decided to play a game with a 5 man scrum. A hasty 15 mins of practice where we had to shift players to unusual positions was soon over and we were called to start the game. Dom moved to hooker, our new player Joe/Rusty filled in at scrum half, and Will and Lloyd found themselves back at 10 and 12 respectively. With all the changes I was not expecting anything today except a game that didn’t involve knee deep mud!
The first few minutes saw Heathens losing a couple of scrums but an excellent tackle by Joe forced them into touch to give us a line out. Unfortunately we lost possession shortly afterwards and USP ran in their first try. I thought to myself with a good hint of sarcasm ‘it’s not like the lads to start a game slowly!’ Missed conversion, score 5-0 to USP. The early score kick started the guys and a mistake from the kick off gave us a scrum in their 22. Good runs from Will and Lloyd set Jayden up on the wing but some good cover tackling from USP saw Jayden pushed into touch within a few metres of the line. It wasn’t long before we Heathens had the ball back and James ran the ball in under the posts. He converted his own try so the score was 7-5 in our favour.
From the restart USP gave a penalty away for hands in the ruck and James made about 20m from the kick to give Heathens a line out on their 10 metre line. From the line out the ball shifted from Will to James and then Lloyd who was well tackled 5 metres in from the touchline. The ball was secured at the ruck and Will picked up and ran down the right touchline and despite the USP chasers never giving up, he managed to run towards the post for Heathen’s second try. James converted again, score 14-5 to Heathens.
Heathens could have been on the scorecard soon after. Joe ran up-field showing some good footwork and despite the ball being lost to USP at the ruck Lloyd harried their winger into touch, resulting in a Heathen’s lineout. Again we were beaten at the ruck and USP scored their best try of the game. The ball was moved between all their backs from one touch line to the other and despite a full on chase from Will they made it over the line. If our other chasers hadn’t given up the score would have been out wide but the conversion was made much easier and the score was now 14-12.
Our defence had been fairly solid but we were now managing to get hold of their players and keep them up off the ground. Lloyd and Will were fantastic in defence all game and just before half time they created a maul and wrapped the USP player up so tight he must have been struggling for breath! From the scrum, Joe picked up and darted one way then the next to break through their defence and score our third try under the posts. James duly kicked the conversion and the score was 21-12 at half time.
Not long after the break USP showed another good backs move and scored under the posts. This was against the run of play but a successful conversion made the score 21-19. There was now a 10 minute period with no team gaining the upper hand. Lots of handling errors from both sides, not surprising in those conditions, meant that good attacks came to nothing. A penalty to Heathens just outside their 22 saw Joe take a quick tap who passed to Dom. There was still a lot of work to do but ‘The DOMinator’ was back and managed to get the ball down over the line despite having three defenders clinging to him. Again James converted and the score was 28-19 with about 5 mins of play left.
We then had a nervy moment where we had to defend our own try line but a great rip from Will and a run up to the half way line lifted the pressure. A USP scrum followed shortly afterwards and despite USP having plenty of numbers on the left, Fin stuck to his man, made the tackle and caused a forward pass. Each side then traded penalties before The DOMinator found himself with the ball on the half way line. After breaking a couple of tackles he showed some great pace and went all the way under the posts. Dom took his own conversion but unfortunately it the ball only made it two feet off the ground and was even wide of the posts. I reckon a one legged blind man could have done better! It was a nice funny moment to end a great match on and despite all the rain everyone had huge smiles on their faces.
It was a great team effort today, with Brian doing well in the second row, despite never having a training session. Jayden and Fin kept their positions on the wing and didn’t get dragged in to the midfield. Dom played well at hooker and with Lewis and Harrison solid in the front row, our new look scrum was solid. Will, Alexander and Lloyd put their defence under so much pressure that they caused several turnovers, Connor showed good hands in midfield despite the conditions and James was brilliant at full back. The star for me today was Joe. First time with Heathens and he fitted in so well, making some good tackles and also lots of yards running. USP picked Dom as Player of the Match for his two fantastic tries and with a full team I’d like to think we can match Petersfield next week at home, assuming the pitch is playable. Have a good week!