On Saturday the 14th of April the little blacks left to go on their annual tour to Bournemouth. Many different age groups met at Polson bridge, Where lots dressed in fancy dress most were tour virgins and outfits included nuns, vicars and where's wally characters. Our own tour virgins were dressed as famous cowboys and cowgirls on horseback in inflatable costumes all looking very silly. The bus pulled out and set off at 08:30 We started off the day with a Cornish breakfast of pasties then watched a movie and sang some song's arriving in chard at 11:00. Unfortunately it seems the little blacks reputation has travelled further than we thought and Chard were unable to raise a team prepared to face them, either that or they had heard Darren’s singing approaching! So in the absence of any opposition the boy's and Frances used the time to carry out a training session.
We then left and went for an early tea and some refreshments at the trumpet major, on the way Darren Tait morphed into a cross between a hippy and an Easter egg in his inflatable costume. After tea we went to our hotel checked into our rooms and then went down for some more refreshments. The little blacks got a good night’s sleep ready for the next day’s competition.
The next morning we all got up for a hearty breakfast at 06:30 then packed up and got on the bus for the Bournemouth tournament. When we got there we set up camp it was a lovely bright sunny morning though still a little chilly
With a perfect day for rugby the Bournemouth Tour commenced and the Launceston Little-Blacks first match was up verus Winborne. With only 6 minutes of game time, each half, it was essential to be playing fast and furious rugby from the outset, and to score that first try. Each second counted in this competition - No pressure then! The Little Blacks led on through a dynamic and determined start. This was dominated by superb scrummaging and driving forward that led Launceston to score their very first tour try, within the first couple of minutes of play, by Matthew Davey – a fantastic start! Launceston continued with the dominant scrum throughout the whole match.
A good pressure was maintained through the second half and Launceston’s defence was not going to allow Winborne to break through. The game was completed with another explosive run by Ross Jarvis, whose speed on a clear run leaves others standing and our second All Black try was scored – Brilliant Ross! Final score at the whistle was 2-0 to the Little Blacks and the first game was under our belts! Spirits were high as the battle of the day was to continue as it had begun.
The second match was against Harpenden D and the power of the Little Blacks team shone through. Early into the first half, and Ben McKenzie pushed through the opposition and continued pushing and driving right through to score a try! This has gained him the nickname of the McKenzie Dozer! Some excellent tackles were seen from Tom Jewell, Archie Sparrow, and Corey Sillifant. Play was set up again by the front row, Tom Jewell, Harrison Scott and Ben McKenzie, which freed the ball for Ross Jarvis to pick up and run away again –to score a second try! At half- time and with a 2-0 lead the Little Blacks were buzzing. Early into the second half and Tom Jewell powered through to score the Little Blacks another try. As Harpenden D came back to score a try of their own, we were not going to allow them to gain any more. Fantastic rucking and team-work, together with fine ball – handling skills seen from Frances Fox and James Rossiter, assisted Corey Sillifant to score the final try in the last few seconds of play.
Final score 4-1 to Launceston – COME - ON YOU LITTLE BLACKS!
The third match was to be the toughest yet verus Monmouth and the last match in the pool. Another early scrum set up for Ross Jarvis to run through and score us a try – well done! Next Dillan Newton ran through to his first Little Black moment to score a try for himself and the team – thanks Dillan! More excellent tackles and play from the whole team, including Tom Jewell, Edward Tait, Christopher Tanner and a text- book saving tackle from Archie Sparrow, led to a final score of 2-1 to the Launceston Little Blacks. Help and support for the team was never-ending. The winning streak was still rolling and everyone was on a high. Supporters were increasing their volume with words of encouragement and hearts were pounding fast. Into the Semi – Final knock-out stage V Bournemouth Lions and the WHOLE team played a very strong defensive game, with continuous rucking and mauling, not only from the forwards this time!!
The Bournemouth Lions put up an equal pressure, with an even match leading to a 0-0 draw.
A decision had been made prior to the match – that in this instance the winner would be decided on the toss of a coin…..ours prayers were answered as the coin landed in Launceston’s favour. There was a mixture of sadness for the Lions, in such a close call, and knowing how we would have felt had the coin flipped the other way – We were through to the FINAL. Once again the final saw an extremely equal game V Salisbury. Daniel Puffett ripped the ball and turned to present to the rest of the team. Excellent rucking from the team and some good runs from Dillan Newton ended the first half at 0-0. The second half saw more great pressure and defence, with great ripping of the ball seen, especially from Corey Sillifant. The whole team worked continuously hard through to the end of the day, with no efforts spared by any of the team. With a final drawing score of 0-0 in the Final- it was official that the Launceston Little Blacks and Salisbury were joint WINNERS of the Under 10’s Festival Cup. Everybody was so very proud of the team, and after the presentation ceremonies, we all returned to the bus, children exhausted with physical exhaustion, and adults exhausted by lack of sleep and mental exertion!!
We held the cup high and the team bought the cup home to CORNWALL – FANTASTIC WORK ! Enormous congratulations to everybody and many thanks to all who have assisted in the training and support of the team Richard and Kev, also parents rep deb fox and our referee josh, who have all helped to make this a very enjoyable and proud weekend for all involved. Special thanks to the coach, Darren Tait for all his time and efforts this season, which took our team to the top….
TEAM - Edward Tait (C), Matthew Davey (1), Ben McKenzie (1), Ross Jarvis (3), Tom Jewell (1), Corey Sillifant (1), Dillan Newton (1), James Rossiter, Dan Puffett, Archie Sparrow, Frances Fox, Harrison Scott and Christopher Tanner.