Braintree RFC vs Hertford RFC U13Cs – Sunday 30/9/18
Brains and Brawn Battle at Braintree (with no trees just tries)
A late change of opposition took the C team team to uncharted territory in Braintree and what a delightful spot it was in the sunshine. Congratulations to the fixture secretary for pulling it out of the bag at short notice.
An all new coaching team of Barlow and special guest coach Tavs took the helm against the only team Braintree put out at U13, as a result their team contained some big strong players.
The game started tightly played in the middle 3rd of the pitch as neither team made headway, with the Hertford debutante Ben Templeton Knight showing some strong rucking skills and natural aggression. The other debutante Tom Watkins contributing with a try saving tackle of exemplary technique.
Persistent infringement by the Hertford team at the breakdown lead to a number of penalties conceded letting Braintree advance well into the 22. The last, at 10 metres out from the try line, was unsurprisingly given to the Braintree man mountain playing at loose head who trundled over the line with a plethora of Hertford players hanging off him. Some things are inevitable.
The game continued in a tight fashion with neither side making much headway as Braintree used their strong runners keeping the ball tight, until a missed tackle in the Hertford midfield let the opposition canter in for a second try.
Some quick play from Hertford interspersed with some intelligent and unintellegent kick in equal measure kept the game tight with a neat back line move from Swatton, Cameron and Tennant worked out in the warm up creating a strong Hertord break into the Braintree 22. Braintree continued to batter it up the middle testing the Hertford tackling before finally venturing wide and round the outside for a 3rd try. A harsh half time score for a valiant Hertford team effort.
In the second half Hertford came out with their dander up after what we can assume was a rousing half time chat (was it Barlow or Tavs?). A strong scrum on the opposition put in made a mess of their ball with Swatton pouncing at the breakdown to steal the ball with Connor Murphy feeding Harvey Tennant on a great line to break the defence and storm over for a great try at the second bite after a desperate tackle.
Hertford then struck again with a solo try from no14 in a mesmerising mazy run from inside his own half from broken play. Hertford then looked to even the game up with Connor Murphy spotting the Braintree defence creeping up on our scrum put in (the cynical would say well offside) to make a scintillating break and put Hertford on the front foot. A beautifully weighted grubber kick from Swatton saw Tennant narrowly beaten in a foot race as the ball rested just over the try line.
The strength and size of the Braintree pack with a strong no 10 behind them began to overpower Hertford, that lead Braintree to score three unanswered tries despite good tackling from the Hertford pack (Barlow, Poulter and White rolling their sleeves up and getting stuck in). Strong breaks from Archie Anstead, looking solid under the high ball, and the marauding Maples (are there any longer legs @ U13's?) weren't supported and left isolated.
The Hertford team continued to show spirit, fight and discipline (unlike the U19s on the next pitch who had a fine punch up) and were valiant on defeat. Maybe the elder youths need to take a leaf out of the youngsters TREDS book.
Braintree 30 - 10 Hertford (Tennant, Watkins)
Many thanks to Alistair Cameron for yet another great report keeping everyone informed of the matches.
Couple of training sessions now before a Friday night floodlit on a 4G pitch (OA's Cs v Hertford @Harpenden on 12th Oct)
(pp. Barlow & Tavs)