Raiders u13s start 2017 with encouraging performance
With several players new to rugby league and an opposition huge in numbers and huge in size, the Telford lads showed great potential of what they could achieve this year.
Game 1: vs Falcons A.
Raiders made a solid start in attack and defence, despite it being the first taste of rugby league for many of the squad, and scored the first try from deep through captain James P.
Flintshire, however, responded immediately from the kick-off, levelling the score after a Raiders dropped ball; and then went ahead by using their numbers on a very wide pitch after a line break was well chased down by fullback James P.
Telford kept themselves in the tussle, however, with off-loading from the likes of Ethan and good ball handling across the team, but Bradley was dragged down just short of the line.
After a Flintshire try, again through numbers on the wide pitch, Raiders replied with another long range effort from James P after great footwork on the kick return by Ewan.
However the rest of the half was one-way traffic as home side's bigger forwards made multiple line breaks to create 5 further tries, made worse by the loss of Lewis before half-term with a shoulder injury.
This pattern continued after the break, with Flintshire scoring 4 further tries as tiredness started to affect the Raiders.
However, they didn't let their heads go down and both sides alternated scores for the rest of the half. Raiders tries came from Ethan (good team attacking set finished with a great step), two to James P (after a line break by Harry, and the last of the game after another good attacking set by the team).
Even with a final score of Flintshire A 14 - Raiders 5, the lads learned a lot for their first competitive game of the year and coaches Alex Smith & Andy Patchett were really impressed with the new faces and how they improved through the game.
Game 2: vs Falcons B.
The second Falcons side provided much more evenly matched opposition, enabling the Raiders to find some fluency in attack and structure in defence.
James P opened the scoring with a sneaky chip & chase over the top from the tap restart, and the team followed this with a strong defensive set and another good attacking set, ably directed around the park by hooker George.
After a Flintshire try, the Raiders scored again off the back of an attacking set with strong carries from Dan and Alex - James P picked up from dummy-half and stepped over the line.
And, after another good attacking set and effective kick and chase, the Flintshire team handed the ball straight back with an error early in their set.
With a strong carry from James M earning a penalty for a high shot, James P took a quick tap and went over in the corner to give the Raiders a 2 try lead at half time.
Tiredness and lack of subs took their toll in the second half, and Flintshire were able to score 3 tries either side of James P's eighth and final try of the afternoon.
But Telford scored the final points of the game with a try in the corner from a home side's loaned player.
With a final score of Flintshire 4 Raiders 5, the lads showed great spirit and resilience after a tough first game, and should take a lot of positives into the games ahead of them this summer.
Squad: James P (c), Ewan, George, Bradley, Dan, Alex, Ethan, James M, Lewis, Harry.