Park U12s going from strength to strength
After a thoroughly entertaining day at Sale on Saturday, it was back to Burrows Hill for the first home game of the season for the new look under 12's team. This season consists of 1 team, 12 players on the pitch, 5 in the scrum and with a full complimen
Game 1: With all players on both teams looking eager from the start, this was going to be challenging. The forwards locked horns, tackles made, rucks busted, everyone was getting involved, and after 3 or 4 minutes of sounding each other out it was Park who scored first with a turnover ball, followed by a quick pass in the centre by Yacko and Alvaro beat a couple of defenders in his usual way to touch down.
Straight from the kick off Macc were level as they collected the kick and attacked down the left wing, to score in the corner - although slightly short of the confusing try line ( but was allowed ) ! We then saw some excellent defence from both teams firstly with Joe BM being forced into touch, and then at the other end some great tackles from Liam and Harrison to deny Macc. Archie was forced to leave the field with a stud to the nose, so together with Max and Donny injured on the side line, we were getting low on numbers. That said, Park started to dominate and again it was that man Alvaro who finished a move with his second score. Next on the score sheet was Joe R, who saw a little gap in the defence, dropped the shoulder and went through to score. Harvey R rounded the scoring off in this game, as he was alert enough to intercept a loose pass and run clear to score unopposed. Final score, after a hard fought game, a 4-1 win.
Game 2: With Macclesfield having enough players for 2 teams, wholesale changes were made for this game by them. Park also rotated their players. From the off, it was clear this Macc team were not quite up to the standard of their first team, after early pressure from Macc, with the Park defence standing firm, Park went on to dominate. Will made a great tackle to win possession, Ewan made a tremendous run through the middle, but Park just failed to finish the move. Next, following slick hands right to left, Harvey was bundled into touch in the corner, but with possession recovered, JJ M darted in past 3 defenders to score. The next score was a joy to watch, this time the ball was moved left to right with Joe BM finishing the move with a burst of speed. Straight from the kick off Joe R wrestled the ball from the opposition, fed Alvaro, who did not need a second invitation to drive over the line. With Liam running from deep, hands left to right, Joe BM was in again, and almost immediately the same player scored again with a great run round the opposing winger after a ball steal from the aggressive Will. With the Macc defence in disarray on their own line Will pounced on a loose ball to score, a good reward for a typically dogged display. Will scored his second try as Joe BM was tackled just short, and Will was on hand to be in the right place at the right time to touch down. The final try was scored direct from a scrum 10 meters from the Macc line, Lucas won the scrum, and with Will feeding Joe R, everybody was shouting hands to the left where all the back line were waiting, Joe had other ideas and went right to go in unopposed. Final score, an emphatic 8-0 victory.
Game 3: Would the Park players wilt as they tired, was the question before this game, as once again Macc rang the changes. This was the game where the forwards showed their resolve. Tom N, Harvey M, Lucas, Ewan and obviously Alvaro more than matched their opposition in the centre of the field, with lots of hard work, quality rucking and determination. Firstly Alvaro scored his 4th try of the morning, and then Lucas broke clear to score a fine try to put Park in a good position. Macc were not finished at this point as they camped on the Park line for a prolonged period of pressure, but the defence marshalled by the impressive Liam and Harrison stood firm, making good decisions along the way. Liam kicking the ball deep on a couple of occasions to relieve the pressure. It was somewhat disappointing that Macc did eventually score after it looked like Park had weathered the storm, going in down the left wing from distance. With a tense last couple of minutes it was again the forwards who stood up to the challenge as Park more than held on for a third win of the morning , 2-1.
Overview: With the team now a couple of weeks into the season, the 12 man game is going to suit this squad, the players all seem to know their individual role in the team and are rising to task. From the sideline it looks like they enjoy playing with each other, and there is definitely a great bond between all the players. For a team of Macclesfield's standing to go home having only scored 2 tries all morning, shows we should be looking forward to a great season with this squad. The only disappointment of the morning were the knocks to the head that Archie and Yacko took with a minor one to Harrison as well. Hopefully this was a blip and will not be a reoccurring issue this season as the intensity of the tackling and rucking goes up a gear.
Final word for the man of the match award, it most have been a difficult choice for those who made the decision, as all players did really well but Ewan went home with a big grin, as he put in an impressive performance to take the award home, well done Ewan.
Big thanks to Phil Rowland for this week's match report