Marlborough U13s vs Chippenham U13s
By Andrew Child
Mustangs incredible team spirit endures in 'tough day at the office'
Man gets tired
Spirit lives when man dies
Man is tethered
Spirit is free
What spirit is man can be
© Michael Scott 1985
Oskar, Austin B, Billy, George, Ollie B, Jake, Stanley, Euan, James G, Lawrence G, James H, Sol, Samuel, Alex, Angus, Calum, Lewis, Ed, Jacob, Shane, Benji, Tommy, Raffy, Ben, Ollie T. Every now and again you have to hold your hand up and say you were beaten by the better team. Today was one of those days. But on those days, you can do one of two things. You can either roll over, say it’s all too difficult, moan at each other and throw in the towel. Or, you can make the opposition fight for every inch of territory, you can keep getting in their faces, you can keep making your tackles, you can stick together as a team and you can eventually reap the benefit from your efforts. On a difficult day, the one thing that absolutely shone through from the Mustangs was their spirit. Like a genie, that spirit can sometimes be locked away waiting to be sprung. But the boys know it’s there and they know if they work hard enough and together, that spirit will show through. Today, every single player mentioned played their part in rubbing the lamp and setting the spirit free. Congratulations go to Ben and Benji for getting the tries that our efforts deserved, but all played their part - whether they were on or off the pitch at the time - in setting the conditions for those scores. Ten injuries in a game is too much, and the Coaching Team will look at how we manage these friendlies in the future to ensure the best combination of maximum playing time for all and not too much so that the lads get worn down. However, it absolutely represents the level of commitment by everyone who pulled on the black and gold shirt. One moment really stood out today as an epitome of what it means to be a Mustang. One of our players got caught in two minds in a critical position and the confusion led to a Chippenham score, much to his noticeable distress. In many teams, he would have received short shrift and been told to sort himself out. Austin B, however, went over and put his arm around him and told him not to worry, he’d make up for it next time. True spirit.
As was said to the boys at the end of the game, days like today are massively important to the coaches as it enables us to see where we need to work. And only by playing difficult games against quality opposition can we be properly tested. We thank both players and parents for their ongoing patience and support as we continue to build and grow as a rugby team. We won’t always get it right. Some players might play a little too much, some not quite enough, but our intention is always to do the best for both team and individual. This is an incredibly special bunch and there is no limit to their potential. It won’t happen overnight but it’s worth noting that 6 members of England’s 2003 World Cup squad played in the 76-0 defeat to Australia 6 years earlier (not that Calum, Lewis or Euan care about them Sassenach softies). Adversity helps build success.
When it really mattered, everyone fronted up today. Ben gave another great tackling display and was regularly helped out in the midfield by Angus. Tackle of the Day goes to Tommy, who made several key interventions and literally threw the kitchen sink at his last hit which caused him to go off with a tenderised rib cage.
In the other award, Samuel once again showed immense bravery to dive into the bottom of each affray, and Stanley demonstrated tremendous leadership in galvanising and urging on those around him. Man of the Match, however, goes to Benji. His workrate was superb, he cajoled all game, he made his hits, gained yards every time he had the ball and finally finished off a well-worked try.