Firstly I apologise for dragging you out of your beds so early, it wasn’t over an hour to get there! However the weather and the rugby (not in that particular order) made it well worth being up so early.
I was a little worried though that once the game kicked off that we had got the lads out of bed too early and they were going to have one of their classic, ‘let’s go behind to make life difficult for ourselves’ days. After the KO, Waterloo put us under some pressure and held us close to our own try line for the first 3 minutes or so of the game, some strong defensive play from Manchester and quick hands that saw the ball reach Aden, he received the ball on the right in or about his own 22. He had nothing on his mind but to open his legs and stormed the full length of the pitch, he also had the consideration to score between the uprights to make life easy for our ‘stand in’ Stand Off, Luke Mc, who drop kicked successfully and Manchester were 7 – 0 up after 5 minutes.
Manchester were now in their stride and playing some excellent team rugby, further pressure led to a break from Ciaran from the back of the scrum, he made a pick up and go and went over in the corner to make it 12-0 on 12 minutes. At this point Hamza called us to say that he wasn’t comfortable, we subbed him off and Joe Corbelli went on to the wing.
Waterloo raised their game at this point and began to put Manchester under a little pressure, our defence however was resolute and there was no way through. Luke M attempted to clear the ball from behind his own try line, it collided with the post pads, fell into Aden’s hands, a few passes later it was with Ciaran who made a quick break and a strong run down the left wing, almost the full length of the pitch, a third try was scored on 22 minutes and we went in at half time 17-0 up.
Substitutions were made at half time, which made little difference to the performance of the team. After the break we had the wind and the sun behind us and our tails were up and 2 minutes into the second half Ciaran again broke the Waterloo defence to run in his third of the day, a great Captains performance. More changes were made and by this stage all 20 of the squad were on the pitch showing very few signs of weakening the team on the day. Some physical play in the Waterloo 22 saw Luke B with the ball and there was nothing stopping him from taking his maiden try, in the 4th minute of the second half, under the posts allowing Luke M to make his second conversion of the day, the score now 29-0.
Waterloo showed great spirit and did not give up pushing Manchester back to their own line, from a break down they delivered quick ball to their stand off who ran straight and hard scoring Waterloo’s only try of the day, 29 -5.
Manchester took the game back to Waterloo, good hands from the backs and quick feet from Joe Hewitt saw him cross in the corner and score his maiden try in the 23rd minute of the second half, 34 – 5.
The game played out with Manchester in the ascendancy, a strong jinking run from Luke M saw the final score of the game closely followed by the final whistle 39 -5.
There were several unlucky players so close to scoring; Laurence McCormick was held up over the line in the first half as was Ross Barnes in the second. It is a long time since I have seen the boys pass ‘kerb to kerb’ and offer good quick ball from all areas of the pitch, they should all be proud of their performance.
What made it such a special game for the coaches and families there to support was the TEAM spirit that was there. Many lads were asked to play in different positions to help accomodate some of the newer lads and not one moaned. All the boys stepped up to be counted, very few tackles were missed all game and there was a great feeling of support from more experienced players helping those newer to the game. I’m not going to award a M.O.T.M on the basis that it was the best team performance that I have seen in a long time. ‘Well Done’ and ‘Thanks’ to all.
Waterloo played the game in great spirit and held their heads high all day, thank you to the players and coaches for hosting us. Our apologies for not spending more time with you after the game, I’m sure you understand why, can I thank the parent /Doctor who was present for assisting Hamza and organising an ambulance.
It is a shame to end this report on a sad note; Hamza was taken to hospital with an injury to the thigh. On behalf of the coaches, all the players in the Manchester U 14’s squad and their families, I’d like to send our thoughts and support to Hamza, his Mum Rahila and the rest of Hamza’s family. I hope that he recovers as soon as possible and is fit to play again.