Scope for development...progression evident
Overall: 2 Wins, 3 Loss, 3 Draws
Sunday 12th November – U13 Shelford Sharks away at the Cambs County Cup at Cambridge RUFC
U13 Shelford Sharks played four short 15 minute games against local Cambridgeshire opposition on a bracing and breezy afternoon at Volac Park. Although they didn’t manage a win across the four games, there was a definite feeling among coaches and supporters alike of progression in the level of performance and commitment as the afternoon wore on and all credit to the players for sticking to the cause and showing great spirit.
Match 1: Cambridge Blood 25 – Shelford Sharks 5
Cambridge forced the pressure from the off and pinned Shelford in their own 22 for the opening exchanges. A handling error in the in goal area handed Cambridge the 5m scrum from which they got the ball out wide and forced themselves over for the first score. Shelford were able to apply some pressure after a long kick by Cambridge, helped by the brisk wind, went dead and the resulting restart scrum was taken well into Cambridge’s half. However, Shelford were unable to translate field position into points and the half ended with Cambridge extending their lead when their pressure, with some poor tackling by Shelford, led to Cambridge’s second. Half time score: Cambridge 10 Shelford 0.
Unfortunately the second half was typified by more of the substandard tackling by Shelford as was seen at the end of the first half and this allowed Cambridge to cross the whitewash several more times. However, after Cambridge extended their lead to three tries without reply, Shelford mustered in several phases with a notable run by Hayden Everitt, followed by good rucking and getting the ball out wide without error and a great run in by the very speedy Avaan Barnett. This more positive play by the Sharks unfortunately was short lived and Cambridge struck back twice more before the end. In both cases Cambridge applied pressure from the restarts, albeit being assisted somewhat by their players straying off-side out of sight of the referee, and with Shelford losing the ball and then failing to defend, Cambridge crossed twice without reply. Full time score: Cambridge 25 Shelford 5
Match 2: Shelford Sharks 5 Wisbech 5
The wind continued to be a factor in this game, typified when the initial kick off required a re-start and both teams produced several handling errors in some scrappy exchanges that typified this close fought game. Following several exchanges of possession in the middle of the fiield the first half ended in stalemate with no points scored by either side. Half time score: Shelford 0 Wisbech 0.
The second half saw an improvement from both sides with several phases of good rucking and close play allowing recycled ball to then be passed out wide by Shelford. In one of these phases there was a great break down the right by George Buchanan and from the restart Shelford shipped the ball wide to the left and Barnett went over for his second try of the day. Shelford unfortunately failed to convert pressure into tries when twice kicking away possession whilst well into the Wisbech half with ball in hand. The second of these proved expensive as Wisbech retained possession from their 22 restart and the combination of strong running and good support by Wisbech and poor tackling again by Shelford, led to Wisbech drawing level. This signalled a strong finish by Wisbech but Shelford’s defence held firm and honours were shared at the end. Full time: Shelford 5 Wisbech 5.
Match 3: Cambridge Sand 0 Shelford Sharks 0
The first half of this tight affair was somewhat typified by lack of penetration and handling errors by the team in possession. However, there was one fine break by Shelford with the ball going out wide on the right and Barnett again showed his turn of speed. Unfortunately he misjudged the try line and went down short relinquishing possession and allowing Cambridge to kick quickly to relieve the pressure. Shelford were handed another opportunity as there were Cambridge players judged off side from the earlier relieving kick but Shelford were unable to convert from the free kick with Cambridge retaking possession and running the ball in a promising break from their 22. Joey Taylor was the most alert and tracked back well to stop the attack and a breathless end to the first half ended without score. Half time: Cambridge 0 Shelford 0
There were tight exchanges again early in the second half but Shelford started to apply pressure with good ball retention between phases with several sniping runs well into the Cambridge half. This pressure was ultimately snuffed out as the game reverted to a more even contest with little penetration by either side. The defences remained on top as the game came to a close without the whitewash being crossed by either side. Full Time: Cambridge 0 Shelford 0
Match 4: Shelford Sharks 0 Ely 10
The early exchanges in this final game of the afternoon saw alternating pressure firstly from Shelford and then from Ely, although ambitious passes in still windy conditions led to further handling errors from both sides. Ely’s strong and aggressive breaks were finally rewarded with a well finished try down the right that resulted from Shelford losing possession at a ruck in the middle of the field. The rest of the half was tightly contested with Ely taking a narrow advantage in to half time. Half time: Shelford 0 Ely 5.
Improved and more aggressive tackling finally came to the fore for Shelford, most notably shown by Matthew Campbell, with some well executed rucking also allowing good retention of possession by the Sharks. One lapse though did lead to the ball being lost in the middle of the field again and Ely, after efficiently shipping the ball left, ran in strongly to double their lead. Although Shelford did not score by the end of this entertaining half of rugby, there were some encouraging glimpses of improvement, with further strong and aggressive runs with ball in hand, most notably by Everitt. Full time: Shelford 0 Ely 10
Shelford Tigers Under 13’s Cambridge County Cup Festival - 12th November 2017
by Billy and Claire White
Cambridge Sand– 1 Try (5 Points) Shelford – 1 Try (5 Points)
Bryce Holland: 1 Try
The Tigers played their first match against Cambridge Sand and despite being a stronger squad, seemed to be unable to monopolise the match. There was strong play by Billy White who bounced off several would-be tacklers and made a good run. He linked in well with Bryce Holland who forced his way over the try line and several Cambridge players, to score Shelford’s only try of the match.
There was great defensive play from Sam Hartwright and Joss Shortmoor, who displayed strength and aggression on the pitch.
Newmarket – 1 Try (5 Points) Shelford – 6 Tries (30 Points)
Noah Bateman: 1 Try
Sam Doubleday: 2 Tries
Billy White: 1 Try
Dylan Samujh: 2 Tries
In the spirit of rugby – Shelford leant Newmarket some players as they were lacking numbers but not fight and the game was on. Shelford again were the stronger team and dominated the first half with both Noah Bateman and Samuel Doubleday scoring. Newmarket responded with a breakaway try.
Shelford stepped up a gear after half time and displayed some positive solo runs and good team work in attack. Doubleday added another try to his tally. White scored a solo try with Dylan Samujh scoring a brace, which Newmarket were unable to respond to.
Cambridge Blood– 3 Tries (15 Points) Shelford – 1 Try (5 Points)
Joel Butler-Burd: 1 Try
Cambridge had fielded a stronger side in this team and that made it much more of a challenge for the Tigers. The Tigers worked well as a team and displayed some great defensive play, Oscar Moore and Thomas Gallagher committed to powerful tackles and at times some strong attacking runs and passing.
Unable to score for most of the match, Shelford remained focused and determined with Illingworth and Joel Butler-Burd chasing a kick and applying pressure to the Cambridge defense. Resulting in a dropped ball,which was scooped up by Illlingworth and popped to Butler-Burd to cross the line for a well deserved try.
Saffron Walden - 0 Shelford – 4 Tries (20 Points)
Dylan Samujh – 3 Tries
Zach Whieldon – 1 Try
Spirit of rugby enabled the Tigers last match of the day, as they provided Saffron Walden with half a team. Shelford had several chances early on in the match but were unable to seal the try with passes out on the wing due to the windy conditions. No score in the first half.
The Tigers regrouped and focussed on obtaining the win. Samujh powered through from the restart and got an important try that sparked some drive from the Tigers. Samujh drove over the line on a further two occasions giving him a hat trick, with Zach Whieldon joining the try scorers, following some passing out wide from Hartwright and Felix Brown.
The Tigers finished the afternoon with a win but there is so much more scope for the team to develop.
2 Wins, 3 Loss, 3 Draws