Elthamians take on Bromley in the semi-finals of the National Colts Cup at College Meadow (kick-off 1.30pm), bidding to reach the final for the first time since 2014.
It’s a massive local derby in prospect between two clubs who know each other well, having played three times already this season. But Jervis insists there is no pressure on his squad and wants them to savour the big match atmosphere.
“The last thing I will say to them in the dressing room will be to go and enjoy themselves and hopefully a big crowd will be rewarded with a great game between two top teams,” Jervis said. “On the outside the boys look like they are having great fun and this is all down to the leaders in the group. They have certainly embraced every challenge that has been put in front of them and they will just see this as the next challenge.
“The fact that places are very competitive also serves to keep them on their toes. There are 26 players who have all made significant contributions to the season so far and I would 100 per cent trust every single one of them to do a great job.”
On their last visit to OEs at the beginning of October, Bromley secured an impressive 25-7 victory. Since then, however, Elthamians have claimed the bragging rights with two county final victories, a narrow 14-13 win before Christmas, and most recently, a 36-12 victory in the Kent Colts final at Ashford three weeks ago
Elthamians' head coach is expecting another hard fought contest this time round. “It’s great to see two Kent sides battling it out in a national semi final which goes to show how strong the game is in the county,” Jervis said. “It emphasises how important it is to create a pathway for these young players without them having to leave the county.
“Bromley have shown they are a very good side with threats all over the park but it will be the battle up front that will decide the game. They are a big, strong and physical pack who like to get on the front foot.”
He continued: “It goes without saying that they will be looking for revenge for the loss a few weeks ago so that will only make them even more dangerous. If we just try and defend then they will take full advantage, so we need to go out and attack them to try and get the upper hand. Even when they were down, they proved what great spirit they have in their team as they came back strongly against us in the second half.
“If we can nullify their threat up front I think we have the edge on them in the back line where I think we have a few more threats, but we will need a strong performance if we are to get to the final.”
Regardless of the outcome on Sunday, it has been a season to remember for the Under-18s and Jervis, in his first season at the helm, with two trophies already under their belt.
“I knew that I had inherited a very talented group of players,” he said, “but I am obviously delighted the way they have come together. We have made only a couple of additions to the group that have played together for a good few years.
“Everyone who has been involved with this group during their journey deserves great credit. Dom (McGeekie, assistant coach) and I have just added a layer or two on to the structure and shape but have tried not to make too many changes. We’ve encouraged the boys to play with freedom and to express themselves.
“As the season has gone on the boys have gained greater understanding of what we have been trying to do with them and it is this ownership which has brought the continued success. They just do the simple things well.”
Old Elthamians U18s v Bromley U18s kicks off at 1.30pm on Sunday at College Meadow.
All supporters very welcome.
National Under-18 Cup semi-finals
Updated 15:00 - 12 Apr 2019 by Jon Edwards
Old Elthamians v Bromley
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