3 seasons in 1 day
By Jon Terry
A long day for the U12s at the North Midlands Festival (aka Bromsgrove Festival)
Our team enjoyed/endured a day of mixed fortunes this weekend at the U12s Bromsgrove Festival at Finstall Park. We knew on arriving that this was going to be a hotly contested day with some strong teams in attendance and we knew also that after a week of bad weather the pitches would be heavy and perhaps unsuited to our brand of rugby. We were right on both counts.
Playing in a Pool alongside Stourbridge, Camp Hill, Bromsgrove, Stratford and Moseley there were no easy games and with the pitches narrowed due to ground conditions there was very little space or margin for error. Our commitment was excellent with everyone getting stuck in and trying their best to keep the ball alive. We harried well in defence and were certainly competitive at the rucks. In attack we were positive but it was a day for short offloads not Jamie George-esque long passes and too often a slippery ball did not stick. When you consider that all of the games were settled by fine margins and tries were only really scored by a team when a tackle was missed, a ball bounced the wrong way or was dropped we were perhaps a little too ambitious.
We finished our pool with a record of 2 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw and so finished 4th and headed to the Plate.
At this stage though we were fielding a squad of wind beaten and weary players and didn't need the challenge of playing in to a fierce wind for both games (there were no half times). In truth we played as well as we had all morning and dominated possession in both games. The pitches and the ball had dried somewhat and we were able to keep the ball in hand. However when all the opposition had to do was to kick over our heads to return us to our try line it was always going to be a tough ask. We lost both games but can be proud of our efforts.
The boys were disappointed but they should not be. Since Christmas we have really come together as a team. Our rucking has improved beyond sight, a team culture has re-emerged, players are really beginning to think about tactics and we seem to have focused more on playing the game with a smile than worrying about decisions or things not going our way. This was the first of a series of festivals and if the weather does improve this team will have many better days!
Our thanks to the competition on the day and for Bromsgrove for doing a good job hosting a Festival of Rugby on a day when the conditions did not want to play ball.