Consett U14s travelled to Ryton on a wet Sunday morning for the final game of an eventful 2013/14 season. We only had 14 players available due to injury and illness so we borrowed a Ryton player to play a 15 aside game. We lined up 1.Ciaran Horgan 2.Joe Hull 3.Scott Redshaw 4.Daniel Vine 5.Matthew Gunnion 6.Keiran Dover 7.Bradley Smith 8.Christy Wood 9.Nathan Williamson 10.Daniel Smith 11.Tommy Tennant 12.Alexander Jackson 13. Dillan Telford 14.John Brown 15.Ryton Player.
This will be a bit different from the normal match reports and I will combine this with an overview of the season. The match itself was a good, competitive game of rugby, played in the right spirit by both sets of players. Ryton worked the ball wide well throughout the 50 minutes of the game and the majority of their trys came this way and a combination of this and a couple of well worked trys resulted in a 29-0 victory for Ryton. If I’m honest, the score did not reflect the balance of play and whilst Ryton deserved the victory I do not think they were 29 points better than us on the day. Our scrum was excellent all game, tackling was good and we were unfortunate not to get the try our play deserved with Joe, Christy and Dover all going close before getting held up.
Now to man of the match, the referee thought Ciaran was our man of the match and whilst he had a good game by always looking to keep our attacking momentum driving forward and communicating as excellently as ever, Chris and I thought Alex Jackson was man of the match today. Alex has come on leaps and bounds this season since joining in November. When he first joined the team, Alex was wary of tackling and going into contact but to his credit he came to training every week, was always keen to learn and improve his game and the hard work he has put in showed through in this game. Alex can take confidence from the way he carried the ball into contact and tackled today and if he continues to improve at the rate he has this season, I can see him having more of an impact on games next season.
I have mentioned in previous reports how far this team has come in a very short space of time and it is hard to put in too words just how rapid the improvement has been. From where the team was in October when we had 6 players available to where we are at the end of the season is nothing short of miraculous and credit must go to everyone at the club who has been involved in helping to make this transformation. A good example of the progress made this season is the two away games we have played at Ryton, where we travelled too in December for the first game the new team played together and lost 67-12. Contrast that to today’s game and the losing margin has virtually been cut in half.
From the beginning of December we been able to fulfil all of our fixtures, apart from the turn of the year when the weather beat us, and virtually every week we have had someone new turn up through word of mouth from the lads talking to mates etc. The majority of the new lads had either very little or no rugby experience and this meant us going back to basics with regards to training and games. Going back to basics was a bit frustrating for the experienced lads we have amongst the team but they have been great in helping the new lads develop and have been good role models (most of the time!!) to the younger lads in the team and we would like to thank these lads for sticking with our long term vision for the team, it would have been easy for these lads to go to another club when we didn’t have enough numbers for a team but the commitment they showed in the early days of the new team has showed their passion for Consett Rugby Club.
In terms of targets for the season, the lads have far exceeded our expectations. We started with little targets of getting a try or improving on last week’s performance but the overall aim for the season was to get one win so to come away with four wins and compete in games the way we have done just shows how well the team has done. Going forward I think when we combine the improvement from the new lads with the way the experienced players have stepped up to the next level in their development, the future for this team and Consett Rugby Club is very bright. On behalf of the coaches, I would like to thank all of the lads for the hard work they have put into training and games this season, you have been a pleasure to work with (again, most of the time!!) and we will see you all in August for pre-season training.