Fantastic Squad Performance
With the weather so bad the week before I thought the tour to Burnham-on-Sea would be a complete wash out! How wrong can you be?
All arrived safe and sound by late-evening; the Tour Shirts were distributed with odd socks late into the night, which sock on which foot? Your choice, get it wrong and you’ll have to take the punishment. With a beer at most of the drop offs I was fairly squiffy by the time I got to bed.
Up very early to secure our tour tent space at Burnham only to find that the nice people of Gulliver’s had already put up a large marquee which as an ex-army man I soon commandeered for the squad and families just in case the weather turned sour.
All boarded the battle bus to Burnham Rugby club ready for our first game against Chiltern Maulers. With team selections made for the day it was game on at 11am.
The team must have still been on Redingensians time as we were 2 try’s down within the first two minutes. This woke them up and they started to put into practise all the training they’ve had this season. It wasn’t long before we were drawn level and by the final whistle we had won 5-2
Next up were the unknown Hertford. The squad were now under no illusions that we meant business. All squad members had to be back 30 minutes before the start of each game. With Neil’s strategy of getting them focused. A few warm up passes and tackles at the tackle shield. This seems to focus the mind. Certainly focuses mine when you have Archie and Brandon trying to put on the floor at the tackle practise. The team ran in 6 try’s to 0 to win with relative ease.
After the 100 mile trip to Burnham we were now up against Maidenhead from just up the road. The team were now firing on all cylinders and again ran in 6 try’s to 0.
At the end of day one we were 17 try’s to 2. We checked the scoreboard and worked out that after Buckingham and Chiltern had drawn if we could win one of the games on Sunday we were guaranteed a place in the final.
After a wash and brush up the U9 parents set about getting the BBQ ready for the squad get together and Kangaroo court. The squad thought they had got off lightly when I told them that if found guilty they would have to choose sweets from my special selection box, the flavours were many and varied but included! Centipede, toothpaste, baby wipes, dog food, rotten egg, bogie, and my favourite vomit.
Kangaroo court time.
First up were Brandon and Harry H: Not much team work with these two, they couldn't even manage to get the socks on the correct feet. I think they were lucky as they seemed to choose some of the ordinary flavoured sweets from the selection.
Archie: Not sure what he was planning for the day, Tennis maybe with his pristine white tennis shorts. He took his punishment like a man until he bit into the sweets. I forgot to mention the rule. If you spit out a sweet then you had to choose two more to take its place.
Ryan: selected for showing his dad up, he managed to do things on the rugby field his father has never been able to do in his many years of playing the game. From scrum half position at the back of the scrum , he ran forward, tackled the opposition fly half as they fell to the ground ripped the ball, forward rolled, set off up the pitch, was tackled but not held, side rolled out of the tackle while still going forward back onto his feet, crossed the line to score. With the crowd cheering, I’m sure Greg was heard to say, “Blimey how did he learn to do that”. Ryan wasn’t sure about the sweets and kept spiting them out, after quite a few new selections we thought it best to stop before one of the sweet flavours turned into the real thing.
Next Francisco: This went back a while but was only noticed days before the tour. While sorting out the photos of the Paddy’s day game, I couldn’t help noticing that while collecting the Cup on the pitch at half time at the Madejski, Francisco is proudly smiling with the rest of his team mates while sporting a pair of shorts emblazoned with a Newbury RFC badge. Most heinous crime/split loyalties? He said he played for them when younger and had no choice in the matter. Once he was old enough to have an opinion he pointed out his father Joao’s error and came to us. His mother was then substituted onto the charge sheet for not getting rid of the said shorts, but her defence was good. With a new baby in the house all rugby duty’s include kit are down to Joao, who was immediately found guilty and took the punishment that was so unjustly handed out to Francisco in the first place. YUM YUM.
The Whole squad were then found guilty as they were chomping at the bit to try the sweets. Apparently baby wipes flavour is quite nice.
The BBQ and talking went on for some hours. Lord of the Fly moment when a small confrontation with some Maidenhead U9s. After a few shouts of ”your rubbish” from Maidenhead, it was pointed out by one of the lads they had beaten them, a few raspberries were blown and they scooted of into the night.
Highlights of the day.
Ryan’s try, Josh Lewis scoring his first try in a competitive game, and Marcus Lampkin slotting one in the corner, if there was a prize for the biggest smile it would go to him. + The Weather.
All safely tucked up by late O’clock.
With a much latter start it meant we could all have a lie in. Andy Bird being Ex RAF had obviously got use to the comforts of the marquee so had this secured for us before the rest had boarded the bus at 10.30.
War paint applied by U11/U12?
First game of the day was against Buckingham. We had watched them on Saturday playing Cwmbran. Both teams looked useful and Buckingham had a few big lads. We selected our strongest team for the match; we hoped that if we could win this we would be in the final so could relax a bit. It turned into a very tough game. Both teams defended well. Buckingham barely made it out of their half, only making a few yards before they were forced to pass the ball back out of harm’s way. The team try of the festival came in this game. From a free pass the ball was taken into contact by Jacob, rucked, recycled and straight back into contact by Archie each time, both players driving forward to make ground, rucked again, Joe ran at the opposition on one of his mazy runs, off loaded out to Marcus just before the tackle. Marcus set of down the wing, cut back in to draw the man, and off loaded just before the tackle to Samuel to allow him a fairly easy run in along the touch line. Fantastic team play. The picture says it all, the spectators on the touch line looking amazed with their mouths open. Final Score 2-0. We were into the Final.
Our Final pool game was now a dead rubber. We were up against a very tough but small in stature Cwmbran. We rested three players that had been selected for the final. With a few of the team in their first year it was good to give them a full game. We started with Marcus Bailey and Brandon Gee to help steady the ship. It turned into a very close fought game in the first half with Marcus doing a sterling job at tackling to keep the opposition at bay. Brandon was helped from the field after being winded. By half time Cwmbran had just edged in front; 1-0 up. The second half we changed the team around and brought on any subs that were on the touch line. With this very dis-jointed team we still kept up the pressure as much as possible, we eventually lost 3-0. It was good to give the newer and less experienced players a tough game; it shows them where they need to be to compete at a higher level.
The Final. Redingensians V Amersham.
The team assembled 30 minute before kick-off for a quick warm up. We then retired to the Marquee for the boys to chill out and relax. The team talk consisted of, go out and do what you’ve done all weekend, enjoy yourself and don’t panic. The team came out for the final through a tunnel of U9 parents and many other parents and players from all the other age groups. They were also followed out by Gensians Man (Who is that Masked Man). I quick check on a slight rule change which we think Amersham were hoping might give them an advantage. Neil said “we’re happy to play with any rule change as long as we know”. I quick re-shuffle of scum and fly half to counter act Amersham’s plan and we were good to go.
Amersham won the toss and started strongly. Amersham’s very skilful scrum half set off at a cracking pace but was stopped dead in his tracks by some fine tackling. The team settled into the game well. Some great defensive work kept Amersham at bay, and they waited for the chance to make a brake. The play moved towards Amersham’s try line with some great drives from our forwards. With a driving maul Harry H snaffled the ball and scrambled over for the first try. The team now relaxed a bit and put on a great display of rugby for all to see.
Our Second try came after the forwards drove into the heart of Amersham’s forwards, the ball was taken into a ruck picked up by our scum half Joe Lockwood who side stepped a couple of the opposition to score the second try.
Amersham came back strongly and we had a few scary minutes as they tried to force the ball over our try line, but once again we defended well eventually forcing the ball into touch.
Our third try came from a near try by Amersham. They made a good break along the wing but two people had it covered, they tracked him across the pitch and tackled him into touch. From the line out the call came;" Archie ball, Archie ball". With Archie playing at scum half in the line out, he stepped in field and drove into the opposition. He was driving so hard that it opposition committed 6 of the team to try and stop him. I little pop pass which nobody saw back to Harry H was all that was needed. Harry set off up the pitch at fall pace with at least four of his team mates in hot pursuit just in case, it wasn’t needed and Harry scored unopposed in his usual style with laces flapping in the wind.
Eventually the final whistle came and they had won the game. A fantastic team effort. The team were so happy, and to be applauded from the pitch by 120+ Redingensians parents and players from all age groups was great to see.
The squad were presented with the Cup at Pontins later that night.
We then continued with another BBQ a few beers and tour awards. All a bit hazy now.
Parents Player: Joe Lockwood, Joe works so hard and plays well at scum and fly half. He sees opportunity’s and takes advantage of them but knows when to off load.
Coaches Player: Brandon Gee, a great forward, works tirelessly at the break down, drives hard to gain ground when he has the ball.
Players Player: Josh Ede, Josh is a great winger. He stays out of all the rough and tumbles as much as possible. Is always in a good position to receive the ball and runs in support to the centres all the time. Saved the day a few times with last minutes tackles in to touch.
Overall a fantastic tour and I can’t wait to go back next year, well run and just great fun for all the kids and parents.
The Squad. Burnham-on-Sea Cup Winners 2012.
Harry Keward, Joe Lockwood, Ryan Darby, Marcus Lampkin, Nick Bird, Harry Herbert, Josh Lewis, Alex Pitfield, Samuel Paradise, Archie McArthur, Brandon Gee, Marcus Bailey, Finn Bate, Alistair Glen, Jacob Watkins, Francisco Ribiero, Ben Griffin, Josh Ede.