We welcomed Tynedale to Belle Vue on a bright but breezy morning. Despite results not going our way over the last few games, performances are continuing to improve every week so the lads were looking forward to this latest test. We were missing Mati and Luke through injuries but welcomed Daniel V. back from his ankle injury, lining up; 1.Scott Redshaw 2.Joe Hull 3.Ciaran Horgan 4.Daniel Vine 5.Matthew Gunnion 6.Sam Veevers 7.Bradley Smith 8.Christy Wood (c) 9. Nathan Williamson 10.Daniel Smith 11.Michael Justice 12.Keiran Dover 13.Alexander Jackson 14.Tommy Tennant 15.Dillan Telford with the replacements being Conall Ruddick, John Brown and Alex Goldsmith.
It was obvious from the first 5-10 minutes of this game that the work we had put into training on positioning was paying off as although Tynedale were doing the majority of attacking, our defensive line was holding strong and we were quick to put pressure on the ball at every opportunity. Although Tynedale went 5-0 up, we continued to pressure and frustrate them well and were defending brilliantly as a team. The good defensive work was paying off and the lads were growing in confidence with every passing minute. We started to see more of the ball as an attacking force and when the ball was getting out to the backs the recent improvement they have shown was there for all to see with some great breaks and passing moves. However, much to the lads frustration, it was Tynedale who were next on the scoresheet with a converted try to go into the break 0-12 ahead.
The half time message was to just keep doing what they had done in the first half, keep our shape and believe in themselves. We made a few changes not long into the second half with Connall and John coming on for Daniel V. and Michael respectively, with Daniel doing well in his first game back and Michael putting some crunching tackles in, one of which had resulted in a bit of sore shoulder. Tynedale got the first try of the second half but we hit back brilliantly through Christy, who picked the ball up on his own 22 before powering past a number of tackles for the try. We made another change with Alex coming on for Tommy, who had another good game and was unlucky with a great run down the left wing. Tommy was soon back on the pitch following a nasty head injury to John (I've been in touch with John's Mam and you'll all be glad to know that he is fine, he was more worried about getting blood on the shirt!!). We continued to battle well both defensively and attacking and were unlucky not to add to our try tally after getting held up a couple of times. Tynedale added 3 trys and a conversion in the second half to run out 5-29 winners.
We didn't set the lads any targets today, it was just a case of make sure they gave 100%, believed in themselves and enjoyed it. At the end of the game all of the lads could say they gave 100%, the way they grew in confidence throughout the game proved that they are starting to believe in themselves and by the look on their faces, they certainly enjoyed it! Although we lost the game, bearing in mind the quality of the opposition I think this was our best performance of the season by a long way. We really are starting to come together as a team, we are attacking and defending as a unit now instead of individually, well done lads, you can all be proud of yourselves for that performance, I know all of us adults, whether it is coaches or parents, were certainly proud of you all today.
Man of the match was tough again this week with the whole team being on top of their game. The Tynedale coach singled out Ciaran as his man of the match for his drive and determination but I don't think we can ignore Christy's performance today. Christy was well up for this game today as it was against his school mates and it showed, he seemed to be all over the field breaking up play and carrying the ball so it's a double man of the match going to Ciaran and Christy. Keep up the good work lads.