Life as Under 16’s started with the unfamiliarity of a Saturday afternoon game, though nothing unusual about the opposition as Camelot once again came face-to-face with tough Aylesbury opposition.
The fixture was to celebrate Aylesbury Rugby Club’s 50th anniversary, and with it also being Camelot’s centenary season there was a series of fixtures taking place between the two clubs over the course of the day – The Under 16’s taking to the grass pitch just after 3.00pm looking to continue the good form of last season with a squad strengthened with five new summer signings…A tasty season ahead.
The match itself had a little bit of a pre-season feel to it at times, it has been several months since the boys have played together, new teammates were on the field for the first time and more substitutions than even Sven Goran Erikson would have dreamed of!
Aylesbury once again provided tough opposition, but never really looked like breaching the blue & white defence, and it came as no surprise when Terence opened the scoring finishing a good move in the corner. Playing with a knock-on advantage Tommy applied the pressure, passed out to Ben who found new signing Danny (not to be confused with Dan) in space; a delightful little pop out to the oncoming Terence and it was 5-0 to Camelot. The conversion fell just wide.
During the first quarter of the match we were treated to a series of reset scrums as the ref looked to ensure the bind was tight and the push was safe. Frustrating to watch at times, but you can never tire of the engineered excellence that is the Camelot pack. It doesn’t seem to matter how much you change the personnel when the man in the middle completes the crouch, bind and set routine the blue and white machine drives forward with unstoppable rhythm and power.
It was from another scrum winning push that Edward was able to pull the ball out the back and use his quick-thinking to pass the ball on (before getting clobbered by his opposition scrum-half) to Caolan who went on a ferocious run, but was stopped just short. James Isaacs then looked to use his power to surge over, stopped again…leaving Freddie the chance to whip through a hole in the defence that only he would get through to double Camelot’s lead.
Dan slotted the ball between the posts for the conversion. 12-0.
Camelot were now dominating possession, forcing errors from the opposition and despite at times looking a bit ring-rusty after the summer break the quality was still there to score the points needed for a comfortable win. After a lot of possession, it was Dan (not to be confused with new-signing Danny!) who was next on the scoresheet finishing a dominant period that involved a lot of patience with a powerful burst through the defence. He converted his own try, and Camelot led 19-0.
The top-class, superior, handling skills of the Camelot boys meant that they could keep building the phases, awaiting the opportunities patiently and looking for the right moment to score. The fourth try came before the interval. More great rucking, getting numbers into the contest and eventually utilising the space through a superb long pass out by James Isaacs who found the Norman version of his name on the wing, who used that rocket-fuelled space to score in the corner and put Camelot 24-0 ahead at the interval (the conversion being missed).
The second-half was a quieter affair, well, certainly in terms of points scored with neither side threatening the try line for the next twenty minutes. The home side took an opportunistic quick penalty, lofting the ball towards the corner, but the quick-footed Terence was on hand to thwart the attack.
The next piece of action was a yellow card for the home side for an alleged punch. Well, when we say alleged, in fairness to him, he did admit it whilst on the sidelines! Camelot never really took advantage of the 6-7 minutes with a man advantage; in fact the next try did not come until he was back on the field and the sides were numerically equal once more.
The try was for Camelot once again, new recruit Tom Ashton scoring after some good attacking play including a run from Woody that his Mum on the side=lines described as being “a good distance”.
Dan’s conversion hit the post, but he had another chance moments later when he himself scored the sixth and final try of the match following some good strong running from Caolan. The conversion again hit the post, but a comprehensive 34-0 win was a good start to the season.
For the season ahead the squad has increased with new recruits, undoubtedly a credit to the coaching and reputation the team has built up over the past couple of seasons. On paper the team is stronger than ever, which makes for an exciting prospect, but the game is not played on paper and a continuation of the focus, commitment and skill development is needed to fulfil the potential. Knowing these lads, you wouldn’t bet against them achieving something special.
For today’s opposition huge credit should be given. That was the third meeting between the two sides in the last 12 months and Camelot have kept a clean sheet on each of the three occasions scoring over 100 points. Yet Aylesbury are much better than that, strong opposition, a true challenge; but more importantly than that, they are fantastic hosts and the players (even with the yellow card) are a credit to the shirt with their sportsmanship, demeanour and attitude to rugby – Despite the dominance, excellent opposition.
FT: Aylesbury 0-34 Camelot
Tries: Dan 2, Terence, Fred, James N, Tom A
Cons: Dan 2