Old Whits Festival Match Reports
Great day, great fun, great players
Whits Festival Match Reports
On a very mild morning at our home festival the boys turned up ready for action. The “Warriors” squad consisted of: Ronnie Reeves, Noah Bonner-McCarthy, Tom Coombs, Tommy Turnbull, Akash Ramchurn, Luke Bradley, Jago Mascoll- Rouse, Max Leadbitter, Christian Oshisanya, Charles Hayden de Carbonnieres, Cameron Todd, Sam Pickering, Teddy Kember
Game 1 V Reigate
First up was a very well drilled Reigate team who had a couple of players that ran very straight and hard at us for the first 5 minutes. In fact we didn't have possession of the ball until we were in our own “in-goal” area with Reigate over the line poised to score, that was until we ripped the ball off them and with one quick pass to Noah who ran the length of the pitch to score. Luckily for the next 5 minutes we did manage to get some ball and scored a second try. Our excellent defensive tackling led by Tommy T in the middle and Cameron shutting down the wing was awesome. A sterling defensive effort by all the boys kept us in this game and we have the strike runners to score at will should the opposition make a mistake. They made two.
Result - Old Whits Warriors 2- Reigate 0
Game 2 v Westcombe Park
This was a very different game where we started with the ball and kept hold of it very well. The team came up in a line and created more and more pressure on the opposition which forced mistakes to be made. The boys used the space really well and with the ball in hand Luke and Jago had a good day at the office. Not to be outdone Christian learnt from the first game and took a slightly more direct approach using his power to go route one. Sam P battered his way over the line and was held up on two separate occasions, but crucially each time he laid the ball back and we scored. Our ball retention made life very difficult for the opposition to play.
Result - Old Whits Warriors 5 - Westcombe Park 0
Game 3 v Old Whits Dragons
Forget the other local derbies; Arsenal V Tottenham, Everton V Liverpool this was the game of the day and hotly anticipated. With higher ratings than Fury V Wilder it didn't disappoint.
This was a very hard fought evenly contested match. The game started in a fairly attritional manner with continued excellent rucking at the coal-face by Tom C leading to the two tries. Great running lines at speed from Max and Ronnie (white line wally of the week) made life very hard for the Dragons. The boys enjoyed having the width and demonstrated that they could keep the ball and move it from side to side. Bobby Shah scored a good try for the Dragons towards the end of the match but it came a little too late. The game could have gone either way and on Sunday the coin fell the Warriors side up. Most importantly huge credit goes to both sets of teams who played the game with great spirit, sportsmanship and respect towards each other. Proud coaches all round.
Result - Old Whits Warriors 2 - Old Whits Dragons 1
Game 4 v Blackheath
The Blackheath team were the biggest side the boys had played all day and very early on the team realised the physical attributes and limitations of the opposition and decided to really move the ball around at speed. With Charles leading the way in his aggressive running and tackling the team generated real momentum and improved as the game went on. Teddy moved the ball quickly from the back of the ruck with his quick passing which meant Akash and the other boys could enjoy alot of space to run into at speed and the other team just couldn't keep up. Excellent ball retention and speed.
Result Old Whits Warriors 5 v Blackheath 1
In summary the team gelled very quickly and it bodes well for future tournaments as the boys get more used to playing together in the same squad. Particularly impressive for a first outing was the tackling, possession and pressure generated, with good rucking and a defensive/attacking line that almost resembled something straight rather than any other geometric shape you could think of. Each boy has different skill sets that benefit the team and they played as a team rather than individuals. It was particularly encouraging to see how quickly the boys adapted to each game and different situation they were faced with and worked out how to prevail.
Game 1 - Defence/Tackling
Game 2 - Possession/Rucking
Game 3- Pressure/Defence & Attack in a straight line (across) the pitch at speed
Game 4- Ball Speed/Passing
A great day and great fun.
P4 W4 D0 L0 F14 A2
Coaches Simon & Matt
The forecast was bad.... the planning was good... but how would the actual festival play out??
At the last "coaches' curry night" there was some debate and discussion about squads, the decision was made that we would have 3 teams and not stream. This has created 3 squads and these squads will now become the 3 teams we play for the rest of the season (subject to change, legal dispute, unmanageable rivalries, non attendance, allergies, parental issues, plain lack of effort, travel and other yet to be known deciding factors).
The Dragons squad is made up of the following players and coaches -
Bobby S, Freddie Y, Finn L, Louis L, Harri K, Zach B, Tyler M, William S, Ernest W,
Jet M-R, James H, James B, Destin O-P, Malachi,
The boys turned up pretty much on time, and the big red top was setup as the centre of all U 10 activity. The weather looked glum but it wasn't cold and we had moved to the far side of the cricket square which was much less boggy than the locations for our previous games at home festivals.
The boys had 4 games, with 30 minutes between each kick off. It was great to not have to hang around for ages between each game and also gave us time to support the other OW under 10 teams playing.
Even though the games were nicely spaced out the excitement of the day over took and I failed to jot down the individual scorers in each match, and after a glass of red it's all a bit of a blur, however highlights were:
Dragons 4 Blackheath 4
First game of the day and quite a well matched one. We had some good runs and tries scored, but didn't manage to close them down with our defence so it turned into a game where we scored first and they then matched.... the game would have been ours if it has finished a minute earlier but they scored in the last play so sadly ended in a draw (I do however remember impartial timekeeper Katie telling "Old Whits" Ref Tom - "TIME", and then Ref Tom allowing one extra play in 'the spirit of the game' #nofingerspointed #wellmaybeone ). The boys all played well, we will need to focus on positioning and keeping hold of the ball during rucks (without breaking any rules) so that we don't give away position and give the other team a chance attack. If we can keep the ball (or win the ball in rucks, our chances of scoring will improve without a huge amount of effort).
Dragons 2 Reigate Tigers 0
Our second game was quite tough even though the score line went our way. The Reigate team play well and 2 players I remember from previous festivals stand out for their speed and play (red head guard and orange head guard wearers). We got ahead quite early on and kept our advantage, scoring another try towards the end of the game.
Dragons 7 Westcombe Park 0
Westcombe played 2 in a row, and our boys went on fresh from a break so we had energy on our side. The boys had good control of this game with good attacking play and also defending well. With some good ripping to take back control from the visitors. A good game to watch with the ball shared across the team.
Dragons 1 Warriors 2
Our last game was a head to head with the Warriors, its interesting watching the boys play their friends/rivals/internal enemies - its clear that some become more competitive but other lose their focus and don't try as hard (with some opposition players not being challenged!). This game was less focused and the boys seemed to not play as well as the other games.
Across the day -
Bob is still able to run directly into the opposition and not manage to get caught (as we play better teams I think this will become more difficult but he certainly has better hips than his dad ?), if we can get the ball to him more often I think we can improve the scoreline.
Freddie is becoming a great player, he has grown in confidence since joining the Old Whits and the boys need to work on getting the ball to Freddie more when we need to drive through the oppositions defence. Freddie has the potential to be unstoppable driving the ball forward.
Tyler is happiest in a tackle, getting hold of the opposition and not letting go! Tyler is also new to the Old Whits and has some real confidence on the ball, it's a pleasure watching him drive the ball through the opposition, full of hunger to win.
Zach was born to tackle, he made some great tackles today and stopped the opposition from scoring, particularly in the closer play. He is a core part of the defensive team.
Finn had a great day and is a solid player who is not afraid to tackle and score tries in equal measure. He is a pleasure to coach and always gets stuck into any game he is in. The boys know that they can rely on him to make progress and find space.
Louis L, like Finn, is a great all rounder and is not scared to get stuck into both tackling and scoring tries. He has great speed and can find space and a way through the opposition.
Harri has been a solid player for a couple of seasons, and would help form the backbone of any team, he never argues or messes around and just gets on with it. His tackling and positioning are great and the team can rely on him to get involved whenever needed, it would be great to see Harri having more of a chance to score.
William manages to get hold of players much bigger than he is and seems to have no fear of tackling. I think William's preference is in the tackle but has the speed and skills to score. If the team can get the ball to William more I think it would pay dividends.
Jet had a good day, he is a stable member of the team and made a really great tackle which saved a try from being scored.
James - I felt so bad for James when his try was disallowed (rightfully) for stepping into touch after a brilliant run from the other end of the pitch evading most of the opposition. James is another one of our dependable tacklers.
Destin had a good day but I don't think we saw one of his epic tries, the team didn't manage to get the ball to him enough. Destin, like Bob and Louis, is able to make long runs to score though the opposing team.
Malachi - its hard to believe that Malachi has only been playing for a few weeks. He clearly has natural ability and is going to go from strength to strength as he gains experience. He gets stuck into tackling and making runs.
Areas for focus....
A couple of pointers from today - we need the boys to stay focused and not just to rely on a small number of players to make the plays. We need them to keep the intensity throughout the game and continue to run and make tackles.
Stay focused on rucking, don't let the opposition steal the ball because the boys are not in the right position or too hesitant to pick the ball up.
Positioning on the pitch - staying on side with an eye on defensive positioning.
Supporting the player with the ball and let the ball carrier know where we are. We made some great runs but then lost the ball by flinging it away or not having anyone supporting the runner. Fixing this should be an easy win and will pay big dividends!
Overall a great festival with fantastic organisation, all games were played on time, no run overs (first time ever??), the pitch marshalls did a great job of making sure everyone knew where they had to be.
Thanks to all the parents for supporting and bringing cakes, and also for taking part (timekeeping, pitch marshalling, selling cakes).
And a big thanks to the coaches, it can be a tough job getting the boys focused and in the right place at the right time, and then refereeing and managing the play. The games move fast and its practically impossible to see it all, but our referee coaches did an outstanding job, encouraging all of the players (from both teams) and ensure fairness throughout the games.
If you have any questions about rugby or anything you'd like to ask please don't hesitate to have a chat with any of the coaches, we are here to help the kids enjoy and improve.
We are always on the lookout for extra coaches so if you'd like to make the most of your Sunday morning (its a bit more fun and keeps you a bit warmer than just standing around in the cold and wet) we'd be happy to have you! You don't need to be a rugby expert, and there are some courses available if you are interested.
The Coaches - Kevin S, Paul B, Tom L, Matt L
Vampires otherwise known as the 14 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Vampires’ first tournament with their new personnel was our own Festival on Sunday. The Vampires squad raised from the crypt was:
Jaxson, Sam H, Theo, Alfie, Thomas K, Seb, Humza (awol), Riann, Jayden, Will L (awol), Daniel, Claude and Michel
We did a warm up and tried to arrange some player positions in advance of our first game and gave players a job each to do on the day. Then we went to play Old Alleynians.
V Old Alleynians
Alleynians are a decent team and we needed to defend well to get a result. We did.
We made an awful lot of tackles with Michel, Jaxson, Sam, and Seb in particular getting stuck in. Riann was getting some nice passes from rucks which Claude, Theo and Jayden were clearing out nicely. We were 3-0 up in no time and we went to the bench early with scorers Seb, Jaxson and Thomas coming off for desrrved rests. Reigate battered away but to no avail as we stole the ball from them in the maul and at the rucks and scored another couple of tries. All in all a nice win but there were danger signs with some of our ‘hail mary’ passing and bunching in defence.
V Westcombe Park
Next up were Westcombe Park who had won their first game easily and looked to have some really dangerous players in attack.
However, we had our defending boots on and for the first five minutes we defended brilliantly with Jaxson tackling anyone who looked to make it past the first line defence. We stole ball from rucks and in the tackle through Sam and Seb and scored three tries through individual brilliance (Claude with another long long range try that he specialises in) to go 3-0 up.
However, the brilliance dimmed as the game went on (despite a great run from Daniel who is getting better and better) and we were punished for the way we began to bunch more and more in defence as everyone was drawn to the tackle like Vampires to a blood bank. Old Colfes ran and passed their way round us three times to steal a draw that they must have thanked their lucky stars for. Standouts in the game were Claude, for that try, Alfie for a try and a lot of rucks, Theo for his running (and tackling) and Jayden for his running….oh and Michel for his non stop chasing, tackling and disrupting the other team.
V Old Colfeians
We started badly against Old Colfes with our tackling going missing leading to a try straight through the middle of our defence like a stake through the heart of a mildly disinterested Vampire. Our defence picked up but was again too bunched and when we had the ball we tried to all be one man armies and score alone without seeking to pass to team mates on space who might have scored. Greed is not good!
We went 2-0 down after 4 minutes and were in trouble despite heroic tackling from Seb who had picked up two serious lumps on his eye socket. Our defence was simply too narrow and despite energetic coaching the team weren’t spreading out to match the number of attackers just waiting for scoring passes. Then the tide began to turn as Jayden and Thomas made a number of good tackles and Alfie and Riann began to make a real difference in the rucks. The defence began to spread a bit better and Colfes couldn’t make a break through with Claude stopping a player and Sam stealing the ball to set up a score. The comeback was on if we could just keep spreading out in defence and stop throwing the ball around with wild passes to no one. The defence held firm with one great tackle from Daniel and finally we made a pass stick so that Jaxson went on one of his runs and scored. The coaches welcomed the final whistle with relief as we escaped with a draw.
Reigate were unbeaten when we came to play them in our last game. They began well and our defence was struggling to hold them out. Reigate were a strong rucking team and they were patient, not seeking to make silly passes. Their patience paid off and they scored the first try. We remained one try down until the subs came on and Michel began to drive Reigate backwards when they had the ball. We scored and with us not doing silly passes we worked our way to a good position for Alfie to score from one of those runs which although initially disallowed was then allowed following the intervention of the Reigate Coach who admitted his lineman may not have been correct (lets leave it there!).
Player round up
Claude – can score when he gets moving and needs his team mates to give him the ball more. His rucking is better than most but he needs to perfect his tackling to be the all-round player he will be.
Riann – is quietly becoming the brains of the team and team mates need to leave the ball at rucks to Riann to pass as he has a good pass and sees the players in good positions who need to be passed to. Brave as a lion, he needs to start to boss people at ruck time and get them out of his way – he is our petit general!
Jayden – is big, fast, strong and a good tackler who could be a great tackler if he hits with his shoulder first and then wraps his arms around the target player. Jayden is pretty quick and can score more if he changes direction more instead of just running for the corners.
Sam – is a great player. Solid tackling, superb rucking and great strong running with lots of changes of direction that makes him so hard to stop. Deserved his tries on the day as there were no easy ones. Close to player of the day.
Theo –Had the highest tackle count after Michel, one of the highest ruck counts and made some good intelligent runs. Was our best all round player and a deserved player of the day.
Thomas – locked down his wind so that one one passed him and scored his usual tries. One of the leaders of the team and when he plays well the team plays well.
Alfie – when he works hard and gets stuck in from tackle to tackle and ruck to ruck he is awesome. When he stands in midfield surveying all before him he is not so awesome - he needs to steal Seb and Michel’s hard work to make himself the complete player. Excellent rucking and running but needs to hit first with his should and then wrap with his arms
Michel – was our hardest working player with Seb and together they turned around our last game. Tackled like a demon and at speed, ran well with lots of changes of direction, piled into rucks. It is noticeable that his team mates are starting toi follow him into battle.
Daniel – is really getting the hang of Rugby. Until today F=Daniel was having the ball stolen from him in contact. Not any more. He carried really well and made some really good tackles against big players in the middle of the pitch. Daniel once he gets confidence going forwards will be absolutely awesome. Go for it Daniel, ramming speed body bent over the ball and dare the other team to stop you!
Jaxson – had a good day. Lots of tries, some great stealing of the ball from the other teams in the tackle and some great destructive tackles. Jaxson needs to go looking foer the ball more and demand it….he needs to be Rianns best friend!
Seb – last but not least Seb was huge today. His chasing down the opposition was brilliant, his bravery when hit quite hard on the head really noticeable and he scored as usual. Seb needs to add rucking (lower) to his bag of tricks to be the main man but it is coming!
We have three things to work on:
1. Spreading out in defence once the tackle is made so any opposing player running only runs into more of us
2. Passing the ball to people better placed to score – we are not one man armies
3. Giving Daniel, Claude and Sam the first pass so that our big guys can draw in as many tacklers possible – this makes it easier for the rest of the team to score (especially if three of the other team are lying on the ground with one of our big beasts
Coaches Yannick and Damian