Sun 28
At Verulaniams with Tabard


By Dave Martin
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A superb squad performance.

n a bitterly cold February morning Camelot travelled St Albans for a tri-fixture at Old Verumanians with the home club and a physically strong looking Tabard side. The odds were stacked against Camelot with four first team regulars unavailable for the fixture and two or three of the coaches struggling a little after the extra curricular scouting mission to Twickenham the day before.

After a lot of confusion as to which pitch the matches would take place on, things eventually got underway with Camelot taking on the host club in what proved to be a tight battle between two very good teams. OV's had much of the early possession, testing the Camelot defence with a series of attacking moves that had the visitors working extremely hard from the off. To relieve some pressure Freddie opted to kick a clearance from near his own defensive try line, as the ball landed around the half way line Edward had chased all the way and was ready to collect perfectly and set off unchallenged all the way down the other end to score, against the run of play in fairness.

Attacking up the hill, the score boosted Camelot and they were soon applying their own pressure in the OV's half. With a free pass about 5 metres out Caolan passed the ball to Freddie who went on a run, drawing in defenders before popping the ball out to Seb who then passed on to Ben who just powered through two defenders to ground the ball and double Camelot's lead. 2-0.

OV's bounced back well, both sides passing the ball around nicely looking to find the space, and it was a well worked attacking move that brought OV's back into the game with a try eventually scored in the corner. At 2-1 the pressure was on, and despite a gallant effort, the Camelot defence held out strong to record the first win of the morning.

FT: Camelot 2-1 OV's
Tries: Edward, Ben

With barely any time to rest it was straight into the second game against Tabard, a side that contained some huge, strong looking kids…and they would use that strength well to give Camelot their most physical challenge for some weeks. Things looked ominous when an early move saw the opposition pass the ball to their very own Jonah Lomu who powered through the defence with ease to score. It was a tactic that could have threatened a hefty defeat for Hemel, but the defence set themselves well to minimise the threat and started to enjoy some attacking possession themselves.

The equaliser was deserved, and it came from another powerful run, Snake Hips Seb combining pace, strength and skill to powerfully weave over the line and successfully ground the ball for the equaliser.

The scores were not level for long however. A defence clearance from Camelot was chased down by pretty much the whole team, unfortunately the ball was gathered well by the opposition full back who found it all too easy to run straight through and score. Hemel were behind once again. 1-2.

Straight from the restart Camelot were on the attack, Freddie in particular pestering the defence, giving them little time on the ball and forcing them into mistakes which enabled Seb to be given another run for the try line, and once again his strength saw him through to score and level the scores once again.

With the clock ticking down both sides were looking for a winner - And it came with the last play of the match. The Camelot players working hard off the ball thwarted Tabard from making any sort of penetration into Hemel's half, eventually the mistake was forced, a loose ball picked up by James N, and when the Rocket sees a gap he goes for it, breaking clean through out wide to score and put Camelot ahead for the first time in the match, right on the final whistle.

FT: Camelot 3-2 Tabard
Tries: Seb 2, James N

After a break whilst Tabard played OV's it was on to game 3, and a re-match with the home club. Once again the contest was fairly even, but the score was not so close as Camelot took their opportunities to score well.

The opening try came from a quickly taken free-kick, Freddie launched a kick towards the corner, and just as his Dad on the sideline started tutting and saying that had gone too far, the Rocket popped up to dive, perfectly timed, on the ball to give Camelot the lead. A perfectly timed move that shocked the home side. The lead was soon doubled when James N picked up a defensive OV's clearance, he drew the defenders in with a pacy run before passing the ball out wide to Seb who once again combined those shaking hips with upper body strength to burst through and score. 2-0.

Camelot were dominating the game now as the home side looked tired and a bit deflated. A third try came with some quick thinking as Freddie picked the ball out of a ruck and darted over the line to score before anyone else had noticed what he had in mind. 3-0 was the final score, an impressive victory over strong opposition.

FT: Camelot 3-0 OV's
Tries: James N, Seb, Freddie

The final match was against Tabard once again, a match that seemed even more of a physical encounter with the opposition using their superior strength well to drive Camelot back in the mauls and even looked stronger in the scrums, despite them being uncontested. It was after a succession of power drives that Tabard took the lead, wearing the defence down before powering over the line to score.

Fighting hard to compete on pure strength, Camelot managed to create their own chances with quick thinking, quick passing and some well timed kicks to ease pressure. It was following another defensive kick that Tabard picked up the ball in midfield - taking too long on the ball, James N somehow managed to steal the ball and sprint half the length of the field to equalise 1-1.

Both sides battled for a winner, but there was no way through and the game finished a draw.

FT: Camelot 1-1 Tabard
Tries: James N

A fine morning's rugby with some impressive results against strong opposition, even with some key personnel missing. Seb was deservedly awarded player of the week with his driving surges and try scoring runs, but it was a good all round squad performance, confirmed by an opposition coach who made the point at the end of the matches to come over and congratulate the players and stating that they were one of the best playing rugby clubs they had come across all season. A fine compliment, and well-derserved.

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Match date

Sun 28, Feb 2016