Avonvale Colts win the Dorset and Wilts U18 Cup
By Moz Hall
A brutal but fair match played in very trying conditions
Avonvale Colts traveled to North Dorset RFC to face Wimbourne in the final of the U18's cup. The 50mph wind was not conducive to fine rugby and suited the much heavier Wimbourne pack, who from the start played their well drilled pick and drive game. Avonvale had very little possession to attack with and spent much of the first half defending wave after wave of pick and drive and crash balls. The gale force wind blowing diagonally across the pitch was to Avonvales advantage in the first half and agressive defence turning ball over allowed our No 10 Tom to clear our lines. However, the wind made a mockery of the lineouts with both sides stealing the others ball.
Tom broke through the defence in our 22 and was finally brought down deep in the opposition 22 but it resulted in a lineout a few metres out and Harrison crashed over the try line from a front peel move, only to have the try disallowed for stepping over the 5 metre line. On the very few occasions we had possession we looked the more dangerous and managed to create an overlap but the pass caught by the wind looped 15 metres forward straight into the Wimbourne 10's hands. There was no score in the first half.
We were concerned as playing with the wind should have resulted in advantage. However, it seemed to suit us and we gained more possession resulting in an infringement and Tom landed a difficult penalty early in the second half. We gained territory through our backs but could not break through until eventually some powerful forward charges enabled Harrison to crash over the line in the corner for a try that could not be converted. Wimbourne came back ferociously with 30 plus phases of pick and drive, gaining territory step by step despite courageous tackling and eventually crossed the line for an unconverted try. The wind stopped the ball from the kick off giving Wimbourne a scrum from which they mounted phase after phase of pick and drive and forward charges but the Avonvale players put in some huge hits with extremely aggressive defence and gradually started to gain territory getting into the oppositions 22 but with only 3 or 4 mins to go a huge kick with the wind from Winbourne saw a lineout right down on Avonvales 5 metre line. Winbourne gained possession and every time Avonvale stopped them they were penalised . It was the longest 3 mins of Rugby as it looked certain that Wimbourne would score but a knock on gave Vale the scrum and subsequent clearance for the final whistle winning 8-5 with heart felt relief.
It was not pretty but it was very tense with the attacks and defence brutal but fair from both sides