An excellent start in both halves, in it for most of the game the boys showed a big heart but sank to Heriots who eventually peppered the try line.
A glorious sunny day (some may say too hot for rugby) saw Hawthorden filled with rugby spirit as three teams visited all the clubs midis for an afternoon of entertaining sport, Currie for the U15s Morpeth for the U14s and Heriots for our U13s. I was looking forward to this game as the boys have been working hard of late and needed to blow off some steam. With the heat outside, hopefully some steam will get generated from all the hard work and effort. I knew from the day before, the hot weather is off putting but once you get past the first 5 minutes your OK.
Lasswade posted 15 players on duty, so we had 2 subs for this match. For the Forwards we had, Joe, Max, Harry, Duncan, Ben and packing down at 8 we had LewisB. And for the backs we had Cameron, Chris, Grant, Ross, Josh, Bradley and Luke playing full back again while LewisA and Nial providing support off the bench.
The game started with Lasswade kicking off to Heriots who took the ball into contact, but it was not well enough as our guys wrapped them and quickly reversed the situation with a turnover. Lasswade were on the attack and were looking good but support at times was lacking and we gave ball away due to lack of numbers. Heriots gave away quite a few penalties at this early stage and we capitalised on this with taking kicks to touch and using the dynamic Harry at the front of the line out to get the ball back. The pressure from Heriots defensive line was just a bit too much and we lost possession but then win it back until just after 5 mins the ball taken in by Lasswade worked itself loose at a ruck, the visitors were first to react and it was from there it was worked well along the line for their 1st score of the day. Chris and Grant were working well both eager to rip ball and make that tackle count. It was a good contest with both teams making ground and then losing ball because of a silly mistake. It wasn’t till the end of the half they crossed the try line again. A when concerted effort by Heriots turned over ball and from the resultant scrum 5 they scored. All in all an excellent half.
The second half and Heriots kicked off, Grant took a god clean catch ran forward with a step and fend, he almost broke the line but was half held. He looked over and saw a support runner in the shape of Duncan who strode forward at pace and from the pop pass stretched past their defensive line not breaking his stride as Heriots gave chase to run under the posts for a very good try. After Chriss unsuccessful attempt for the conversion Lasswade seemed to die a little or Heriots seemed to pick up their game or a combination of both. Lasswade didn’t give up it just went a bit flat. There was times when it was good with Lasswade defending well and attacking but we just never seemed to react to the changes, defence to attack and vice versa leaving players isolated and thus losing ball or leaking tries. On the other hand Heriots took their opportunities well.
It was an excellent start to the game I think that phase of play was the best Ive seen the guys perform. They looked as if they knew what they were doing and with the kicks from Chris taking the guys forward we were in a good position, putting us on the front foot and putting pressure on Heriots. The start of the second half showed how well we were doing because after the attempt at a drop from Chris he came running back to let the guys know that Heriots were arguing amongst themselves, something we have first hand experience in. For most of the game we were in it, but then lost our way, the development 15 reflecting most of the second half with Heriots running in from all over the place. Once again our oppo had a big player who seemed to run at ease from anywhere scoring most of their tries and converting most with one from about 30 plus metres.
Over all the team did better today, Chris (my man o the match) doing his usual stuff for as long as his fitness lasts, excellent work at the break down stealing ball on many occasions. Hes really a flanker whos playing at 10, because at the moment we have nobody else. Grant was his usual industrious self in midfield where at times hes a blunder buster and at other times you can see him scan for spaces but lacks support. LewisB is getting better at making a nuisance of himself and making it count. Ross tried but never found any room to stretch his legs. Luke made some excellent cover tackles as last man and tried to go forward when given the opportunity but again feels isolated too often. My last comment is for Ben, he made this text book stop on a big chap who was running through and Ben who was about 5 yards in front just cemented his feet, dropped his hips and shoulders and connected as he wrapped him up, what a stop. Our scrums today were weak, we looked as though we did not know what was happening but since we have not done any practice in this area well take the hit. Lineouts again were good, we practice this, the contact area is getting better, but we have not done much in this area either. The numbers for our guys have been up and down over the season but have been boosted with more new faces arriving of late. They have blended in well and we are starting to pull together. The bravery the new guys are showing in getting close to their opposition is something to admire, the technique is lacking but the effort is their, good stuff. Every session is a little easier as the boys are taking a wee bit more responsibility, its good to see. We are moving towards the tail end of the season and are now going to change tack and move into contact and support as the boys seem to have a bit of shape to their game, Im sure they will look forward to this.
Respect is a big thing in rugby and the game which is bigger than even the laws cannot run without it as the game will breakdown. Having had our own issues in this regard which has vastly improved due to the discipline the boys have laid down themselves I was very disappointed with Heriots. I have been involved with mini and midi rugby for some time and have been involved with the big private schools and have always seen the best of skills and manner, that is until last Sunday. Some skills may have been there but of the other, little was on show.
PS I realy like the reports written by the other coaches especially about the really young pups. Read Toms stuff and the words he uses to describe the performances of these 8/9/10 year old boys and girls. I think its great to hear and see the enthusiasm from parents coaches and players. Well done everybody.