Raiders u13s eventually overpower Chester
In an entertaining, see-saw game on a red-hot day at Phoenix Sports Centre, the Telford eventually defeated a tough Gladiators side with 3 unanswered tries at the end as the visitors eventually ran out of steam.
The Gladiators started the first half strongly, with aggressive carries and effective offloading, and had most of the possession in the first ten minutes. Telford defended resolutely, however, with hard work from James M, Lewis & Bradley meaning Chester weren't able to get across the line. Captain James P then made them pay with a trademark long-distance score down the right hand side after good build up from hooker Dan and James L.
However, the visitors quickly responded with two tries through more good offloading and fast feet down the middle, and reacting quicker than the Raiders to recover a lost ball to take a 1-2 lead.
Telford then produced a good period of attacking play, pushing through in support and keeping the ball alive well, enabling James P to equalise the scores with a try in the right corner, before a long Chester kick meant Ewan was trapped in goal forcing a drop-out. From the resulting set, good hands on a wide play created a score for the visitors to once again take the lead 2-3.
The Raiders responded with two tries from powerhouse Miles - first a show & go on the right hand side, the second powering over from close range after good build up from Shakeel and Alex. James P then produced some awesome defence to hold the Gladiators out, including a try-saver taking the winger into touch in the corner.
But despite this, and just before half-time, Chester equalised the scores at 4 each with a similar close range score from dummy-half.
After the break, both sides started scrappily, with knock-ons and running into touch disrupting both sides' attacking sets, including a Raiders wasted opportunity when they took one too many attempts to drive over from dummy-half rather than exploiting a huge overlap out wide.
Chester were the first team to break the deadlock, however, with a score down the right, before the Raiders responded from the restart with a Harry line break and offload to Ethan who twisted and dived over to equalise the scores once again.
The pattern continued, with a close range Chester score from dummy-half, a Miles score from another Harry line-break, a Chester score through poor attempted tackles, and a James P try wide on the right to make the score 7 each with 5 minutes to play.
As the visitors ran out of steam, Telford then powered through to take control of the game with Miles getting on the end of some good handling from James M, and James P going round some tired defenders to make the final score Telford 9 Chester 7.
Coach Alex Smith was happy with the performance overall with Brandon making his debut and several players playing in new positions (Dan at hooker and Ewan at full-back), but felt that more leadership was needed on the field to enable the team to make the right decisions when overlaps and opportunities present themselves.
Squad: James P (C), Miles, James M, Dan, Lewis, Shak, Brandon, Alex, Ethan, Harry, James L, Bradley, Ewan