What a day! We always knew this would be a long hard day....but I think it surprised us all how tough it turned out!
We turned up on the day, slightly depleted in numbers, but we honoured entering two teams and split the players as follows -
Walsall 1 - Rhys, Freddie, Maxwell, Ben W and Hendrik
Walsall 2 - Noah, Jonathan, Charlie P, James, Freddie C and Jack.
Having looked at the fixtures prior to the tournament, it was obvious all four pools were going to be tough with 22 teams competing in the season finale.
Credit to Burtons organisers, despite the number of players, coaches, parents etc it was a well organised day that despite running a little late at times (expected when considering the logistics of the day!) everyone knew where they were supposed to be and at what time (ish). What was an added bonus was the weather! Sun! The rain was forecast, but kindly held off till the journey home......which explains why I have a very red head!
So, a brief run down of how things went.
Well, as the title of the post suggests, Walsall 1 finished the day as joint Staffs Festival Winners!!!!!! This was following a long gruelling day playing 6 games with only one substitute.....here's a breakdown of the games. (Thanks to Mike W for helping with the organising of the team, keeping scores etc. I was torn between the two teams and refereeing several other games).
Game 1 V Leek
Players and tries - Rhys (3), Freddie P (3), Maxwell (4), Ben W (6), Hendrik
Game 2 V Burtnwood
Players and tries - Rhys (4), Freddie, Max (2), Ben W (1), Hendrik (1)
Game 3 V Uttoxeter
Players and tries - Rhys (4), Freddie, Maxwell (3), Ben (2), Hendrik (1)
Game 4 V Newcastle
Players and tries - Rhys (2), Freddie (1), Maxwell (4), Ben (1), Hendrik
Game 5 V Tamworth
Players and tries - Rhys (3), Freddie (1), Maxwell (2), Ben (2), Hendrik
This saw Walsall topping the pool, and going through to the final to play Lichfield.
Players and tries - Rhys (3), Freddie (1), Maxwell (1), Ben, Hendrik
I haven't put individual match reports on, as I'd be here all day. But with regards to the final, this was the fastest, toughest competition Walsall U7's have faced this season. In true fashion, this was a great competition between strong Walsall and Lichfield teams, starting a rivalry that will likely be with them for the rest of their playing time (I've played at Walsall since I was 8, so know how much the Walsall/Lichfield game means). Despite being tag, the running was hard, determination from sides in attack and defence, with the latter raising a few eye-brows especially the ref's who had to remind both sides it was tag rugby not contact. Just goes to show how much it meant to both teams. Despite all Walsall efforts and being close to the final whistle 5-3 up, Lichfield managed to score tries equalling the game just as the ref blew for full time. A brief discussion with the powers that be and the decision was made to honour the draw and for Walsall and Lichfield to share the title of Staffs Festival Winners. In true gentleman fashion, a coin was tossed, which Lichfield won. Therefor, they will hold the trophy for the first 6 months, with Walsall having the trophy for the last 6 months.
I had in my bag the Star Of The Week trophy. However it would have been impossible to have chosen one from this group. All played their best ever rugby. Rhys managed to scoop himself 19 tries whilst holding his own against some other big players, Maxwell bagged himself 16 tries and showed wheels that had other teams parents talking about him, Freddie was as solid as ever bettering anyone that tried to break through him whilst putting fear into those he ran at, scoring 6 tries himself, Ben going about defence in his usual soldier like fashion, whilst scoring 12 tries (6 of which in one outstanding game!) and then Hendrik showing a clean pair of heels to many and scoring one of my favourite tries of the day. All a credit to themselves, their parents and to Walsall Rugby Club......
Walsall 2 consisted of Jonathan, Noah, James, Jack, Charlie and Freddie.Their first game was against a strong Stafford side and, after a slow start, the boys got into the swing of the game ensuring some good defending and great tags. The final score was 10/7 to Stafford with Charlie P scoring an impressive 4 and James, Jack and Jonathon getting one try each.
Second up were Uttoxeter and the Walsall team had really pulled together by now and were working well as a team. They were continually communicating with each other and offering plenty of support to those making runs. Final score was 6/5 to Uttoxeter with a good spread of try's from Jonathan, Noah, Charlie and Freddie (one each) and two from James.
The third game was against Burton and our boys really had their teamwork sorted here with a nail biting 9/9 final score. Charlie scored an impressive 5, James got 2 and Jack and Freddie got one each.
Fourth game was against a really strong Leek side who were quick to respond when the whistle was blown and get Walsall tags. By half time our boys latched onto this and were passing much quicker when tagged and subsequently supporting each other really well too. Final score was 7/3 to Leek with James (1) and Charlie (2) scoring for Walsall.
Our final game was against Barton and James scored an impressive hat trick against a tight Barton side. Walsall held their line well, did some great passing and held Barton back to 7 try's as it could have been much, much more.
Overall, I think the Walsall team played really well together. Charlie and James were amazing in being wherever the ball was and getting some great tags and try's and Noah, Freddie and Jack gave great support and held a very strong line. Star of the week was Jonathon who quietly coordinated his team mates, got really stuck in getting some impressive tags and who scored two brilliant tries running the length of the pitch each time.
(Report from Noah's Dad John)
Have to say, between running between the two pitches and refereeing several games, what I saw of the team was brilliant! Results may not have gone their way, but as a team they performed exceptionally. Thanks to Joh for helping out and a fine report (you're welcome to do them all next season?).....
WELL DONE ALL!
Updated 22:12 - 22 Apr 2013 by Yogi Jones