After a good hit out at the London RL JL 9’s at Hemel, the Under 14’s travelled to Eltham to play fierce local rivals Greenwich Admirals for the season opener. The weather was fine, pitch soft and the 23 man Dragons squad was prepared to represent the club, competing for The Kent Cup. The Kent Cup is a local Rugby League competition established in the 1990’s and revived by Greenwich and Medway Dragons as an early season test.
Greenwich came off the blocks fast and used their big runners to hammer at the Dragons line. Good work in defence, holding firm, was undone by inability to complete the set and turning over the ball. The delighted Admirals took advantage and opened up a two try lead in quick time.
The introduction of Mitchell Stone
in the front row increased go-forward of the team and enabled the young Dragons to gain a foothold with possession and territory.
Stoney got quick reward for his aggression and hard running with a try out left, goaled by Max Savage
. The Dragons had gained the upper hand with Kieran Palmer
and Adam Dady
making big yards in the centre and establishing good field position. George Moore
, lively all day at dummy half, went on a cross-field run before releasing Joe Coyd
who stepped inside two players to score a try putting The Dragons ahead.
Ollie Bell was having a fine game at full back, adding a dimension in attack and working very hard in defence, snuffing out several Admirals incursions. The whole team defended well, particular with the all important attitude and mind set and knocked the bigger Admirals back and retaining a half time lead.
The second half was set alight by a great individual try from prop forward David Harris
. He was reintroduced to the fray following a break on the bench and had a real point to prove. He did and it was noted. Picking up the ball inside his own 20, he beat several players down the left channel and then showed a clean pair of heels to crash over under the sticks. William Vodo
The Admirals, as always, were not giving up without a fight and hit back with two tries to put pressure on the Dragons who were able to adapt and settle despite the constant changes in personnel. Moore broke to his lefty this time and outstripped the defence to score in the corner. A Greenwich player took exception to the Referees decision and advised him of his opinion. A red card resulted.
The Dragons pushed hard again and the bruising runs of Roshane Johnson and Robert Butler
up the middle, back up by the buzzing Louis Dadson, hard working Callum Banks
and organisation from Joe Coyd
who was standing in at six for the injured Alfie Orris
, who had made a bright start before succumbing to a back injury.
The game was sealed following a period of great passing and interplay down the left hand side. The ball went through lots of hands before Max Savage
, stepping off his left foot, cut back inside and made the game safe for The Dragons with a fine try. Greenwich came back, scoring out-wide but it was too big an ask and the Dragons had won. A fine team effort and good start for 2012.
Head Coach Martin Coyd
said ‘The coaching team are fairly happy with this performance, particularly with the defence. We disrupted the team, rotating players and mixing it up. We made progress throughout the game and, in the second half, completed our sets well and played some nice football. It is early days and we have a long season ahead, but the attitude and atmosphere was right. The players are working hard for each other, prepared to be adventurous and they are smiling. That’s good’
Under 14 training is on Thursdays at The Garrison – 1900-2030 hrs