On Mother’s Day ten MRC Under 11s made the trip to Broughton Park for a Round Robin Festival with Trafford MV, Sale, Heaton Moor and our hosts Broughton Park.
In the Team were Sam, Ben H, Ben W, Jayden, Charlie, James Houghton, Cam, Max, Henry, and Fozzy.
Recent weeks we have focussed on controlling the ball better, getting into the right position to offload and rucking with greater purpose.
After a quick game of touch to warm up we took on our first opponents Sale. Manchester started brightly and where just on top between two evenly matched teams. A strong wind in the first half helped Sale keep Manchester penned in their own half, and pressure from Sale led to only one try before the break. In the second half Manchester turned up the pressure. Two fantastic tries followed from Charlie and Sam with the ball going through plenty of hands. Stout defence also meant Sale didn’t score in the second half and Manchester finished deserved winners from playing the better rugby. Fozzy sustained a rib injury and unfortunately had to finish the day after only one game.
The next game saw us take on Trafford MV who had some very big very direct runners. The Trafford MV game plan became obvious early on and their big men kept taking the ball up and trying to break through. Great tackling and commitment from the MRC boys meant route 1 was not going to work. MRC’s counter rucking, led by James Houghton (the one man ruck!) and Ben W gave MRC ball time and time again. Sam was able to pinch the ball back and put MRC on the attack. One great try from the second half kick of saw Charlie bring the ball back to the half way line, find Sam before taking contact, Sam jinked and side stepped through the defence before drawing the last man and putting Jayden over for a walk in try. Excellent rugby from Manchester. The free flow continued and MRC racked up 6 tries in all and didn’t concede a single score. Two games in and two good wins.
Game 3 was more difficult as Heaton Moor posed more threats running wider and moving the ball better. Manchester got off to a slower start in this game and conceded a couple of tries in the first half to good Heaton Moor rugby. Sam also sustained a couple of knocks that took us down to 8 men for a period as Sam rested before bravely returning to the fray. The score finished 5-0 to Heaton Moor but that did not reflect the true state of the game. Had three refereeing decisions gone in our favour then three tries wouldn’t have been scored as our boys stopped instead of playing to the whistle. Something we need to think about for the future. One highlight was a kick down field from Moor which bounced between Charlie and Max. Charlie managed to gather the kick but the defence was on him. He offloaded quickly to Max who kept his head and turned to take the ball upfield and gained a precious 20metres. Max didn’t panic and showed great composure under pressure.
Game 4 was against our hosts Broughton Park who have always been strong opposition. This game was probably the peak of the day. 9 boys left, and no subs for 2 whole games. Very tired boys after 42mins of hard rugby. They took to the field and played out of their skins. Huge commitment in defence holding Broughton Park to one try in the first half from their star player. MRC scored 2 fantastic tries to lead at the break. One try came from fast ball from a ruck that Cam took at first receiver, looking up he saw Jayden hugging the touchline in lots of space, a long miss pass for Jayden to run on to and Jayden was over the line. The half time team talk was all them talking about keeping going and encouraging each other for a last big effort. Broughton Park came out quickly in the second half and scored first bringing the score to 2-2. At this point our boys stepped it up again and chased down every ball and made every tackle. We played in BP’s half and never left them leave it for the rest of the game. Pressure built and our boys worked to create that important opening and finally in came for Sam to go over from close range after many phases of possession and retention. 3 mins left and Manchester kept pushing to put the game out of sight. They kept the defence solid and the whistle blew with the final score 3-2 to Manchester. It was a truly amazing performance in the last game to hold their nerve and keep playing when they were out of their feet. Sam took knock after knock and continued to pick himself up and Ben H took a big hit and elbow to the neck which floored him but after a quick check he wanted to play on for his team and got back in the game.
The day was a triumph for team spirit and lads playing for each other. Every member of the team put in a massive effort, strong in the tackle, driving in the ruck and looking to pass the ball and run into space. Time and time again the boys shifted their attacking line to gain overlaps. In the TMV game we had a 5 on 1 from one scrum with the defenders not noticing we had moved our back line to one side of the scrum. The boys thinking for themselves.
So 4 games played and 3 wins. A massive step forward for the team and each one of the boys can be very proud of the way they played.