Under 13's win London Irish Festival
Another decent day on the Road for Stockport
Stockport u13's travelled South for the London Irish Festival where they would face 15 of the biggest clubs in the South East. With the Saturday game against Windsor falling victim to the weather, the boys spent the afternoon creating havoc in the local baths under the watchful eye of Head Coach Hanson on yet another busman's holiday.
On to the Sunday morning where amazingly almost everyone turned up on time, even the treasurer who looked like she'd spent the night asleep in the skip outside the hotel as a result of supporting the local hostelry to a level her body couldn't really support!
At the festival the boys were split into two sides, one to win the tournament and the Warriors to go enjoy themselves and do the best they could against every other A team that was in their group.
The first group game saw the Warriors beat Camberley 4 tries to 1 but up next came the powerful Henley side whose size and pace proved too much for the boys who slumped to a loss. In the third game the boys unfortunately lost prop Charlie Sadler whose barnstorming runs had even given Henley plenty to think about with a full dislocation of his ankle against a very physical Beaconsfield side. To their credit the boys soldiered on and completed the group games with 4 losses and a win.
Meanwhile on the other pitch the A team quickly got in to their stride with three good wins before overcoming a Buckingham side who pushed them all the way to register a two try win. Next up was the big one against Maidenhead, Isaac Dean's old club who according to Issac's dad Mark had never been beaten in all their time as minis and juniors. Both sides up to this point had won all their games and the winner would go into the final.
The game started with Maidenhead having possession for almost a full 5 minutes as they struggled to break through the resolute Stockport defence, full testament to the Stockport boys for not conceding any penalties as they pushed Maidenhead back. Once the Port boys had the ball though it was a different matter as they scored 4 unanswered tries to win the group without conceding a single try.
Onto the final where they would meet Henley who had also reached the final without conceding a try.
Unfortunately full back Arthur Carrol was unable to play in the final due to an injury but Arthur's loss was Bodger Hanson's gain as the angriest small rugby player in the world (since his dad played) took his place on the wing with Adam Pennington switching to fullback.
Henley like all the other sides initially tried to run the ball up the middle and were immediately repelled by some ferocious tackling from captain Daniel Robinson and twin brother Harry. The first try of the game came after tight head Joe Rushton drove through the middle of a Henley ruck where the waiting Navid needed no second invite to pick the ball up and power through the gap. Minutes later the Stockport forwards again set up Navid to repeat his earlier score.
With the game finely poised at 10-0 came the turning point of the match after full back Adam Pennington initially missed the speedy Henley winger just inside his own half only for Adam to turn and prove all the athletics training he's done was worth while as he tracked down his man and pulled him down with inches to spare to break Henley hearts. Miles Cooke then burst through to score a third try before Henley pulled one back before Mattie Leach scored the try of the day with the most brilliant move that saw him cut a line through the Henley defence to score the final try that he dedicated to his very ill Grandad to cue wild celebrations and mass tears from dad Craig and just about everyone else who was there.
A brilliant display from a great bunch of boys, Man of the Match in the final could only go to one player, tight head Joe Rushton who dismantled the Henley forwards at the ruck and whose tackling performance showed how hard he's worked at his game.
Last but not least thanks to everyone for their thoughts on Charlie who is now in plaster and will be released from Hospital this afternoon. All we've got do is get him home! Taxi!