The squad put in some more great performances to win their third festival trophy in almost as many weeks.
With it being the start of the Easter holidays, it was a challenge for the coaches to pull a team together for the Staines festival, but fortunately they got there in the end with a mixed selection of A and B team players
There was a slight nip in the air fist thing on Sunday morning, but the sun soon got going to provide a warm dry day. The pitches were made for running rugby, being very hard and bare in places which suited our pace.
The first game for Ruislip was against the Emanuel Lions. Nia scored the first try of the game by using her blistering pace to outrun the opposition into the corner. Shortly afterwards, and not to be outdone, Owen showed his own super speed by doing exactly the same. He wasn't finished there though, and repeated the move to score in the same corner just before half time, to take the score to 3-0. Joe went on a great run from the restart, only to be stopped just short of the line, but Owen was on hand to follow up and score his hat-trick try. Emanuel Lions scored a late consolation try in the last play, to make the final score 4-1 to Ruislip. Ruislip showed good hands and played a great passing game, getting the ball down the line and out to the runners on a very wide pitch. Emanuel Lions out rucked Ruislip, but as they committed a lot more players into the rucks 5 to 3, this left them vulnerable down the wings, which Ruislip took full advantage of.
Next up for Ruislip was Old Albanians, and as expected, this was to be a tough game. The first half was dominated by Ruislip, and was played in Old Albanians territory. Despite all the pressure and coming very close on a number of occasions, the Old Albanians defence couldn't be breached and we reached half time all square at 0-0. Early in the second half, Owen ripped the ball from a maul and ran in a hard earned try. Shortly after, Avi ripped the all, but under pressure from a number of Old Albanian players was tackled just short of the try line. Old Albanians scored an equalising try close to the end of the game, to make the final score 1-1. Despite the Ruislip scrum being far stronger than the Old Albanians, they had a great technique in hooking the ball back when under pressure, something we need to work on in the future!
It was all eyes on the last group game to see who would be going through top of the table, and an inspired performance by the Emanuel Lions saw them beat Old Albanians 3-0. This meant that Ruislip went through to the semi-final as group winners, with Emanuel Lions joining us as runners up.
Our reward was a semi final match against Farnborough A. Joe got the game off to a great start going on a strong run, and with some great turns and changes of direction, avoided the Farnborough defence to score a well deserved try from his new position of fly-half. Just before half time Ruislip almost doubled their lead, but the ball was knocked on over the try line. It wasn't until half way through the second half that the team put some distance between us and Farnborough, when Ruislip won the ball against a Farnborough scrum near the try line, to see Avi quickly pick the ball and run in the try around the base of the scrum. Final score was 2-0 to Ruislip, and by the way we were playing well worthy of a place in the final. Jamie really shone through in the forwards in this game, ripping balls and driving yards out of the Farnborough team retaining possession throughout.
The other semi final was played between Emanuel Lions v Hammersmith and Fulham. This was to be the closest game of the day. The final score after normal time was 3-3, only to see the scores all square at 4-4 after 2 minutes each way of extra time. It was then agreed that they would play for a golden try, a far better option than the dreaded coin toss. The Hammersmith outside centre had a great run and was stopped by a great last ditch tackle, his momentum and drive to score saw him keep hold of the ball and roll over and finally place it down for the winning try.
So, it was to be a Ruislip v Hammersmith and Fulham final.
This was another game that the Ruislip scrum dominated, and our defence proved invaluable, the first try of the game was to come from a Ruislip scrum, where Avi picked the ball up at the base and ran a mazy line through the Hammersmith defence to score what transpired to be the winning try. Aside from a single run from the outside centre, who Nia closed out of the game, Ruislip maintained good control over the game. Glenn again bossing the midfield from inside centre tackled, harried and pressurised the opposition to break down their play. Joe at fly half made tackle of the day when he made a great tackle on the 'big boy' and turned him just 10 yards from our line for our ruck to clear Hammersmith out, another great last ditch diving tackle on the wing by Casey stopped the Hammersmith winger from levelling the scores. A tight game finished with Ruislip as 1-0 victors, and another trophy for the cabinet. Well done to Hammersmith and Fulham and thanks for a great game.
Rhys playing back in his familiar forwards role owned the front of the lineout all day, and as the DE photos captured, showed great determination, looking quite scary!
A special well done to Tariq who made it through the day despite being 'under the weather' and also to George who having stepped up to make his debut in the A team played fantastically well, giving the Ruislip coaches the pleasant problem of having two A team standard hookers in the fold.
Our final well done goes to William Connelly and Toby Coker who both made A team debuts from the bench and added value to the team, both making great tackles, rucking well and having great runs.
We cannot fault the way the we are playing as a team, to play for the first time as a seamless unit from our A and B teams shows how well the B team have developed this season and importantly how tight they all are as the under 10's squad.
Thanks to Staines for the invite to their festival, it was a very well run event with excellent pitch marshalling and weather, we hope to be invited back next season.
Ruislip 4-1 Emanuel Lions
Owen (3), Nia
Ruislip 1-1 Old Albanians
Ruislip 2-0 Farnborough (Semi Final)
Ruislip 1-0 Hammersmith and Fulham (Final)
Squad: Jamie, Glenn, Nia, Owen, Rhys, Avi, Joe W, Toby, George, William C, Tariq, Casey.
Well done to all the players, and let's hope they can continue their performance at the Bournemouth Festival in a couple of weeks time on tour.