Another great display by U14's
100 point match for the sizeable crowd to enjoy.
R&H v Long Buckby/St Andrews
An early morning mist had started to clear as the coaches arrived at Manor Park this past Sunday. An omen for what was to come? Or simply a geological phenomena that occurs after a cold night in Autumn? Who knows. What we did know was the morning held a new challenge for the Den Boys as they readied themselves to take on an unknown foe, a newly formed team comprising Long Buckby and St Andrews.
The visitors arrived in force with a mighty 25 strong squad. Quite possibly the largest depth squad we have ever faced, posing new challenges for the coaches as we look to field a starting line up that earned their place through hard work and commitment on the field and in training. Did we have the staying power?
Once again the team arrived steadily over the course of an hour ahead of the official meet time. Once again, there were mumbles and groans from the teenagers as they started to wake up. And, once again, the coaches heads dropped as they witnessed another poor pre-match warm up. Balls were dropped in simple passing drills and lazy commitment and positioning in the breakdown drill. Oh woe is the teenager that gets dragged away from the gaming console to embrace the fresh air on a Sunday morning.
Coaches collaborated and discussed changing the starting line. What were we to do? But a stern word from Head Coach seemed to prick the senses of a core selection of players and the Game was afoot! Original starting selection stayed as was.
The game was deemed to be broken into three sets of 20 minutes, and chief whistle blower Tim ‘I can keep up’ Hinchon took to the centre spot. However, even before the whistle blew a strange turn of events saw Touch Judge Bushell have his flag confiscated by the opposition Coach after being deemed too biased to make the line calls.
It didn’t take long for Rushden & Higham to set down a marker with swift tries from Seamarks and Avey, resulting in 10 points in the bag after just 5 minutes played. The boys seemed buoyant and the opposition rattled.
Looking to use our width more from a brief succession of close phase play and Gayle skinned his opposite number on the outside and loop back under the posts.
Conversions came few and far between for Rushden, proving our kicking prowess still requires development. But, this didn’t phase the team as a succession of tries from Jinga, Gayle and Parker saw the Den Boys with 7 tries under our belt in just 20 minutes.
The sheen was taken off just before the end of the first period as the opposition (I’m not writing Long Buckby/St Andrews every time!) crossed the white line and converted to get points on the board.
Starting the second period of the game things just didn’t seem to be working. Yes, Rushden & Higham scored numerous times but again and again we seemed to make things hard work for ourselves.
Too many times did we see individual breaks and no support. Too many times did we see lack up support at the breakdown. Too many times did we see the penalty count start to creep up and handling errors become prevelant.
Rolling subs became the order of the day midway into the second period as it was made clear to players not stepping up that they would spend time on the sidelines. This seemed to work and the boys kept a healthy momentum of a score every 3-4 minutes. Not only that but Stenson Jnr found some kicking boots in the locker room and slotted a few more to keep that score line healthy.
The opposition weren’t to be held though and managed to cross the line once more after continuous pressure in our 22.
As the third period entered what seemed to be a time warp more tries came from the home team with Miller, Jones and Cutting making touchdown. All displaying elements of skill, pace and power to break through.
In summary, a game that, on paper says one thing but as a spectator and coach seems to not tell the whole story. When we play with width, our heads up and control of the ball in the loose, we succeed. When we slip into ‘super hero’ mode and forget that the Pack is supposed to be just that, a Pack, or miss-time our supporting runs, forget we’re playing and stand watching the ball or think we’ve a right to hold onto it and not let other have a go - we show cracks in the paint.
The most significant sign to the Coaches is when one of the team was told ‘Well done, you should be proud of that.’ The response was ‘Suppose so, just didn’t feel like a win.’ Telling stuff indeed.