MRFC U14s Marauders 47 v Truro 19
Marauders sublime handling and great running rugby in their most entertaining performance of the season.
For the second of three Sundays in April, Malvern U14s welcomed a touring side, and this time it was Truro, who I have to say were a great bunch, very jovial (of course, they were on tour), every supporter and player I came across was incredibly pleasant and impeccable polite, I reckon they are brought up very well down in the Southwest. Unfortunately some of our supporters used up all of their credits last Sunday welcoming Strathaven, so were unable to socialiseso much with the pleasant folk from Truro after the game. Hopefully they will have built up some more credits by the 29th April when we have two more touring teams to provide hospitality for.
You will again have to make do with my memory of the game as our usual sport's writer was absent again. Due to the players we had available we were forced to make a few positional changes and we took the opportunity to try a few other combinations out too. Many thanks to the lads that may have found themselves playing somewhere they were not expecting to at the start of the games.
The first half Malvern Marauders played what I believe was their best and most entertaining rugby of the season, the running lines were clever and purposeful, the work rate of players in support of runners was excellent and the subsequent rucking was superbly efficient, but what caught the eye was the superb handling, it was sublime, avoiding contact on breaks and passing out of the contact. There were 4 one handed passes on the trot, out the back off loads to support runners coming at different angles up the right hand side of the field (Will R, Jack K, Moh & I think Cookie, maybe George H), Truro were not given a chance of getting their hands on the ball, and it sucked their defence in, for us to then spin the ball out across the backs to the left utilising the engineered lack of defence, where Will B had the run in to open the scoring (not converted). Entertaining and intelligent rugby! (although I would like to see the ball in two hands a bit more frequently.)
Fynnley, what a weapon on the straight runs, he carried the ball directly up through the Truro defence on a number of occasions, his commitment and confidence to get through on those runs is iimpressive and effective; I would not relish being his opposite number and seeing him running anywhere near me. His runs through the oppositions defence never resulted in Fynnley getting over the tryline, although I have to admit I thought he was going to be in on 3 occasions, only to be hauled down by last ditch tackles. The powerful runs made huge inroads and repeatedly set up a superb attacking platform for Malvern, the quick rucking led by Max helped provide Morgan with speedy recycled ball to deliver to our advancing and silky handling players dispersed across the back line. Cookie was in the back line to receive a ball being spun out across the backs, he carried forward with intent, saw an opportunity, gave a dummy, then a side step and nipped in for a very well taken try (converted by Will L).
Max's hard work and immense rucking was rewarded following another barn storming run by Fynnley who was brought down a couple of yards short of the Truro's tryline, Max was first there to ruck and seal over the ball, the opposition infringed in the ruck, a penalty was given and Max was lightening quick to react, tapped the ball and dived over the line unhindered (try converted by Will L).
Malvern received the ball from the restart, ball went out to Hamish who set off from the Malvern 22, running round, past and through some Truro defenders; it was an outstanding individual try, for which Hamish was rewarded with being subbed for some rest time on the sideline (Will L converted).
Some superb handling across the backs, first one way, then the other, a few quick recycled balls and passes out of contact drawing in enough defenders for the ball to be passed quickly along the line to the right and Will R was the man to be able to take advantage of the thinning Truro defence (Will L converted).
Malvern ended the half 5 tries up; I have to say I think Truro were far better than that score line showed, but we had the slope which has demonstrated on a number of occasions that it is always worth 2-3 tries, but more importantly the Marauders were on fire, it was an amazing performance from the lads. That level of ball handling and support play I hope is here to stay and it is something I am looking for all of our players to develop.
The second half was the ideal opportunity to try out players in new positions, and with the exception of one player, we switched the forwards for backs and backs for forwards, an exercise which I think is well worthwhile doing so we develop multi-skilled players.
The second half was a much more even affair, with Truro dominating the scrum but Malvern edging the rucking battles, both sides tackled well and there was no score for 10 minutes. Hamish gathered the ball (again at around the Malvern 22) and had a bit of space to build up momentum, he did not utilise his speed in the usual way of going round players or the strong long armed hand off that we sometimes see employed. Hamish ran directly towards the defender that had obviously picked him out as his, and was laughing at the prospect of what was to come, the defender planted his feet and dropped his shoulder in towards Hamish, Hamish went flat out, dropped his own shoulder lower and sent the still giggling would be tackler through the air, Hamish had created the gap for himself to run through and get his second try of the day (Ben Crouch converted). As Hamish scored his try, the giggling tackler was still finding his experience of meeting Hamish on the rampage quite amusing.
Ben C was setting the example all game as he does at training of how to run onto the ball at pace, working tirelessly in support and constantly aware of the players around him ready to selflessly offload either side to runners in better positions than him for the cause of the team; this was evident as he ran onto a ball flat out to break the line when he was in support of a ball carrier; Truro's defence ran back with him, 3 defenders chasing him all the way, and all running at a similar pace, they looked like they might have caught him, Ben's head was constantly swivelling from side to side looking for support runners that he could pass too, there was nothing immediately on so he continued sprinting but obviously still scanning for support until he was confident that he could make the try line (Ben C converted his own try).
So two breakaway tries to Malvern in the second half, but Truro had been competing and certainly created opportunities; their confidence had built and they controlled the remained of the game running in 3 unanswered tries of their own in, two of them converted.
Several Malvern players produced performances that could have earned Man of the Match awards in other weeks, Max's rucking deserves a mention, Fynnley's strong direct runs set great platforms for the team to play off, Ben C's tireless support play and teamwork are examples others can learn from but Hamish provides an edge in attack and defence that rubs of on others and I think we play a far more intelligent game when he is involved and for that he was the Man of the Match.
The Marauders had an unbelievable first half of rugby in this game, it is not just luck that gives you that, there was a lot of hard work, a willingness to be adventurous, good communication and importantly playing a team game with intelligence. We hope to see much more of this style of rugby in the future as it is superbly entertaining to watch and for the lads to play in. What a difference a week makes!
Many thanks to Ade for reffing a game that was a bit too fast for me.