A well organised Tournament where the results were both heartening and then frustrating. But overall a great day's rugby with some fine displays.
Being held on Mother's Day cut short a couple of players involvement, but meant the whole squad had plenty of game time.
We came 3rd overall with Chipping Norton winning from Bicester, so well done!
Newbury 3 Tries Bert, Freddie, Fergus
Chipping Norton 3
Newbury 1 Try Rory
Newbury 3 Tries Rory, Freddie, Bert
Newbury 2 Tries Freddie & Fergus
Players of the Day:
Charlie C - for volunteering so quickly to play out of position at prop and consistently tackling very well.
Bert - for his strength in the run, with unselfish off loads before he was tackled.
Kick off - we kicked a little too far into the opposition which meant it was more difficult to chase our own ball. We must kick high and float the ball to enable our own players to run and catch the ball or at least attack the opposition quickly when they gather it.
Penalties - reasonable discussion between the more experienced players and the kickers, namely Bert, Nathan and Fergus. A tap and run with Bert being used as a battering ram worked initially, but teams soon worked out what was going to happen. We should now be beginning to read this situation a little quicker and change tack, by kicking for touch a little more and gaining ground.
Scrums - we really do have great scrums both in the A Team and the Development Team, and that is with or without Bert. We won all our own scrums and most of the oppositions. Some excellent pushing particularly from Josh, who has only played 3 times and gets better and better each time. He even had his christening at prop, which was a rude awakening, but all the same he did it with a smile.
Charlie C came in as prop after no encouragement and played particularly well out of position. What was impressive was that after some fine hooking by Tom, the rest of the scrum created a channel to allow the ball to get to the rear of the scrum for Fergus to grab. We seem to have got the hang of this, so long may it continue.
Ball from the scrums - as the ball came cleanly out of our won scrums there was plenty of ball available. This was dealt with effectively by Fergus, who scored 2 tries from quick thinking at the base of the scrum. He really is developing into a fine scrum half. I have made mention of both Mike Philips and Dickson recently, but I think Fergus played better than both of them this week end as where they were slow from the won ball, Fergus was very niffty!
Ball then to Nathan, Matthew, Mikey or Isaac was efficiently dispatched. This interaction between the half backs continues to work well.
Passing - in the first game our passing was quick and efficient, but we lost our way in the 1st half of the Chippy match and they soon scored 3 tries. There were too many of our players trying to "do a Bert" and charge through the opposition scrum, we were being caught and turned over. What was impressive to watch from Chippy, was the way they sent the ball all the way down their backs and then back again, gaining ground all the time. We must learn from this. We have very fast backs, but they can't run efficiently and score without the ball!
Mikey, Isaac and Matthew had a great sequence of passing and made good ground when they were supporting each other well and looking out for one another, so well done to you all.
When Rory got the ball he scored 2 fine tries and Freddie got 3, from fast running. Both players have good vision, are hard to tackle and developing very nicely.
As we develop we must learn during each match, learn seeing what is working and continue to make those moves.The ball down the backs worked, we scored frequently, we should do it more often.
Smaller players running with the ball into the scrum did not work, but we seemingly continued to do it. Let's think more next time, with the more experienced players directing play.
Rucks and Mauls - we had some great set rucks with good support in the early matches. As we tired though some of the bigger boys were arriving late and then not getting stuck in. Did some of you go to bed late perhaps? A few sleepy heads first thing, so let's make sure you are in bed before 10pm the evening before a match day, please. Parents, if I could ask you to make sure this happens, it will be good for all,
What was encouraging was seeing James, Josh, Fraser, Tom, Charlie C, Freddie and Bert all talking to one another more and this produced some fine ripped ball when we turned over the opposition. We were generally strong at the break down and carried out decent off loads. Just be careful though not to run into opposition and create rucks and mauls when fast ball down the backs would create a better scoring opportunity.
Tackling - some fine tackling today, particularly from Charlie C and Charlie H. Do be careful with the high tackles as we were penalised a couple of times for that. What was also encouraging was to see boys like Archie and Matthew tackling. Have they learnt from boys like Nathan and Henry who consistently tackle well? We all know how to do it, and we now all can do it, so keep it up!
Let’s not get carried away though, it wasn't perfect and on a few occasions were were still seeing the flaying arms flapping around the chest of the opposition.
Guess what? It didn't work!!
What did work was low tackling remembering the Famous 4. Namely:
1. Cheek to cheek - low down.
2. Ring of steel - keep hold of the player until he is down and stopped.
3. Drive - run at speed at him and he will tumble and
4. Cushion - use the oppositions body as a soft landing!
Kicking - last week Kieron, this week Dan Cole AND Fraser...what is happening in the world of rugby? Forwards kicking?!
We kicked at the appropriate time and in the right direction, with Fergus kicking well to touch. Use the kick to our advantage and remember it is a powerful tool when we are pinned on our own line with a strong attacking opposition.
Running - a mixed bag here, really. A particular chap ran amazingly well in 2 games then ran sideways in another..you know who you are...it was one of the Charlie's and NOT Charlie C!!
You are a talented player, spoilt by your desire to run sideways, I think I am going to bring in a fining system if boys run more than 3 or 4 steps sideways from now on, and parents can't pay the fines. What do you think?
There was a tendency to keep the ball too long today and we starved the backs of enough ball. What can we do to get the ball down the backs more? Call for it more...you know each other well enough now, so don't be scared to shout for it when you are in a good position, you can see a gap and a team mate is about to be tackled. Have a go!
Do play as a team, it is very powerful when you play as a team and look out for each other.
Remember how Chippy played with the ball flowing up and down the backs, in a most "un Development Team way" (!)
Let's try it out more. When we have managed it, it no only works well, but makes for some great rugby to watch. We will practice this more to ensure we are making the most of our won scrum ball and our very fast backs.
Catching - some great catching from one of best catchers, Isaac as usual. But a couple of times no one called for the ball and we allowed it to bounce and the opposition were upon us quickly. So call your name when you are nearest, get into the right position and keep your eyes on the ball at all times.
Line Outs - some great catching of the ball in the line outs, particularly from James, who used his height well on Sunday, but must learn to use his strength more in the tackle. You are a useful player, James, just imagine how good you will be when you become more consistent and use your strength more in the tackle! I can't wait to see you get there! Keep trying.
We generally gained clean ball and caught well.
On the occasional knock back rather than caught ball it was very hard for Fergus and Nathan to gather clean ball, so let's keep catching.
One to start working on now is when the opposition win the ball, we should be breaking through their line and capturing the opposition before they have a chance to set their backs off. We will work on that though.
Each week we have concentrated on some specifics without forgetting the basics.
The relationship between the half backs, is getting stronger each week.
The channel for won scrum ball to avoid kicking the ball back into the scrum, is getting better.
Not panicking on our try line when under intense pressure, is working better.
Let's get this ball down the backs more and release our speedy players enabling them to run straight with good support ready to off load.
A decent days rugby with some tough opposition, fine scrum work, both in the set scrum and loose scrums, with more work needed in the backs.
Well done to all.
See you at the Land Rover Cup at Reading Abbey.