FRIENDLY FIXTURE U13A Sunday 15 October 2017 - KO 1215 (AWAY)
Rosslyn Park U13 A 50-v-0 Hertford U13 A
Well, we knew we would be up against it and so it proved for our visit to Rosslyn Park on Sunday.
Having watched the B Squad put in a spirited performance against Rosslyn Park B, the As were looking to maintain their own strong early-season momentum. However, it was RP out of the blocks very quickly and a mix of ill-discipline, sloppy handling and missed tackles saw us slide to a 0-35 reverse with only 15 minutes on the clock and trying to play rugby on the back foot. Having lost Ollie Hodges-Jackson in the warm-up with a recurring back spasm, Sam Aylwin took a big hit after 10 mins, adding to the task.
Facing up to an embarrassing scoreline, the boys at last dug in and responded with focused aggression; the defensive structure reappeared to thwart the previous overloads on the wings; and we started to plug the gaps through the centre. But for some frustrating refereeing on the opposition 5m line - allowing RP to push in a defensive scrum on 'Bind' rather than 'Set' - we were looking good for a first try.
HT: Rosslyn Park U13 A 35-v-0 Hertford U13 A
Hertford picked up where they left off before half time before a double blow. First, Kieran Edwards took a hit to the lower back and needed to take an 'early bath'. Next, Noah Verdin - already playing through the [Southern] 'pain' of a bruised elbow - took two knocks to the head in the space of 5 minutes, the last one leaving him on the ground for a while; the RP physio rightly signalled he could not return to the pitch.
Still the boys dug in and started to create a couple of overlaps of their own, which we could have converted but for unfortunate mishandling, before RP ran in another try midway through the second half somewhat against the run of play.
We continued to put the opposition under pressure and they didn't like it. After one such altercation, the RP No.8 swung a fist at Charlie Perring who showed great maturity not to retaliate - Referee Mr. Buchan was having none of it and signalled the RP player toward the sin bin (there was a moment of sympathy for the boy who was lost in translation as it became clear that his education to date had not included 'Kilt Speak').
As the match drew to a close, tiredness and a lack of fresh legs set in and it was a shame we shipped two late tries.
FT: Rosslyn Park U13 A 50-v-0 Hertford U13 A
RP are a quality side but the boys now know for real what they are up against when they return for the Pool Match in 4 weeks time. The aim will be to close the gap and make sure that we play to our potential for the full 50 minutes.