US(P) U14 versus Gosport and Fareham U14
What better entertainment can there be, on a beautifully warm and breezy late September Sunday morning, than to watch your team head out on their opening match of the season against their old friends at Gosport and Fareham (G&F).
Sporting some lads who had clearly been at the growing potion over the Summer, G&F looked daunting, and their handling at the base of the Ruck was impressively slick. US(P) had been drilled about quick recycling and support work, and after 8 minutes this kicked in with a crisply-executed try from Oscar Davis in the left corner, after some great support work from Louis Holbrook.
Gradually US(P) took control of the game, with inspiring tries coming from Alan MacDonald, Jack Lindsay and Monty Royston, although US(P) learned a valuable lesson about grounding the ball promptly in the in-goal and not to trying any theatricals, lest they incur the wrath of the Ref! As US(P) went into half time 22-0 up, they were recycling well from the breakdowns and their scrummage was beginning to win against the head, in spite of a much larger and practiced G&F pack. Tackling was the big success of the first half and, despite some deft handling and purposeful running, G&F were unable to break through a solid US(P) defence. Max Hickman used his height and skill well, consistently winning valuable ball from the break-downs with good, purposeful mauling and rucking.
The second half saw US(P) rest on their laurels a few times, with G&F rightly making hay and running in three well-constructed and deserved tries. With the team firmly awake once more, however, in the 38th minute, Will Donworth scored a typically audacious Flanker’s try pouncing on the G&F Scrum-Half’s fumble, he having been bundled away by Louis Holbrook’s lightning reactions off the back of their scrum. Comfortably back in control, US(P) spread their wings in the backs and more impressive running by Callum Cells, Oscar Davis and Allan MacDonald and some inspired position kicking by Harry Dean – millimetre perfect on the touchline, as well as solid support work by forwards and backs, saw the Blue and Reds run in a further five tries with Angus Lochrane finding good line and distance to convert three times.
A richly deserved and well-drilled first victory for US(P) 51-19 with good lessons learned by forwards and backs. There are many reasons to be optimistic, in readiness for the first Cup preliminary round against Tottonians on 5th October (away at Totts).