U10s - Report
Under 10s retain County crown in style
Oakham’s under 10s retained their county champion status in emphatic fashion at Coalville in late March, winning three fixtures with a combined try tally of 15 scored to none against.
Oakham settled into their stride early with a quarter final clash with Lutterworth in which three quick first half tries from Archie Hunter, Cameron Boyd and Phillip Wright set a style and tone that were to remain for the day. Earning quick ball at the ruck and dominating the scrummage, Oakham’s half back pairing of Paddy Hunt and Lucas Deregowski moved the ball wide early and often to the benefit of the centres – Cameron and Phillip – and Oscar Bryan and Archie Hunter on the wing.
Cameron added two more tries in the second half, with substitute George Davies also powering over before Lucas completed the scoring to seal a 7-0 victory.
The semi-final brought up regular foes Leicester Forest, a big side who always provide a very physical encounter. Lucas put a stake in the ground for Oakham early in this match scything down Forest’s big runners at every kick off and regularly turning the ball over. His reward came with the game’s opening try, which Cameron quickly doubled. With Oakham dominating possession – and now playing down the significant Coalville slope- more opportunities followed.
Cameron notched his fifth try of the day and Archie his second before Maxwell Koczulab, making his county cup debut, delivered the coup de grace with a fine effort from inside his own half that finished another sweeping passing move. Oakham moved into a rematch of last year’s final with Syston with a 5-0 victory.
Syston, semi-final conquerors of Harborough, provided a predictably tough final contest. While Oakham managed to secure the lion’s share of the possession, Syston’s fierce defence made it more difficult to move the ball wide than in the previous rounds.
The lop-sided possession eventually took its toll however, and Oakham knocked repeatedly at the door on a number of occasion, once spilling the ball over the line, on another occasion being held up and once being denied by a foot in touch. But great work from the forwards eventually allowed Paddy to go over the line from close in to hand Oakham a lead that was never relinquished. Paddy doubled the lead with a similar effort before alf-time.
Syston came back strongly in the second half, but Oakham’s defence – led by another extraordinary effort from Lucas – held them at bay and when Paddy completed his hat-trick the County Cup was secured.
It was a tremendous effort from the full squad of 13 who travelled (as well as others who had played in the earlier qualifying rounds). Oakham dominated in all phases of the game. The starting forward unit of Ollie Drakard, Joe Pickering and Ned Forryan rucked and scrummaged ferociously throughout – as did all three forward replacements, George Davies, Tomas Morrison and James Easson.
Their efforts earned the team the right to move the ball into space, which they did with great panache, playing a style of rugby that was a pleasure to watch. The half back combination played with a lot of maturity and sense, choosing the right moment to release the outside runners, who responded with a combination of good handling and pace that was irresistible for most of the afternoon.