Sun 24
Wimbledon Festival
Sun 24
Wimbledon Festival

Wimbledon Festival

By Damian Brady
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Another big day out

Warriors Match Report

The morning started well, I got a space in the car park and was duly greeted by our very own handsome airline pilot (not in uniform sadly) and an equally handsome large Irishman who was wearing his kit luckily. They duly rid me of the tent and I felt like Henry II.

The Warriors squad were: Malachi B, Luke, Tom C, Teddy, Max, Christian,
Zachariah, Sam P, Akash, Cameron, Tommy T

Match 1 -Old Whits III v Warlingham I

An even contest & one that could have gone either way. Some very mazy running by Akash and Luke set up two very good tries. Sam P getting more and more involved with his ever improving direct running and laying the ball back. With seconds to go it was 2-2 and then a lovely pass out of the back of a hand from the opposition set up a score in the corner on the last play. A draw would have been a fair result.

Key Observation: Don't run back into trouble when there is space out wide.

Result - Old Whits 2 v Warlingham 3

Match 2 - Old Whits III v Wimbledon II

Our best performance of the day where all the boys played as a team. The ball was moved around at pace with excellent support play involving Max and Zachariah, Tom C looking more and more like a tank block at the breakdown and not moving or letting anyone through. Another lovely floated pass from Teddy (similar to last week) cutting out three of the defenders for another try in the corner. Defensively we were also good with Cameron locking down his wing and we registered a comprehensive victory.

Result - Old Whits 6 v Wimbledon 0

Key Observation: We attacked the space and made sensible passes.

Match 3 - Old Whits III v Rosslyn Park IV

The boys were not engaged or focused which was apparent from the start. Christian made some good hard direct runs but then the support was too slow to get to him. Malachi was getting more and more involved and also made some really hard yards, however again he was isolated. We kept battling away and the tackle of the day was made by Tommy T stopping a certain try in the corner. Fabulous desire and commitment.

Result - Old Whits 1 v Rosslyn Park 4

Key Observation: The ball carrier was isolated, we were too slow to the breakdown and the opposition stole the ball time and again.

P3 W1 D0 L2 F9 A7 +2

Good Points:

Ball retention into the tackle

Things to work on:

• Fitness
• Passing the ball and keeping it alive. (That doesn't mean throwing it away)
• Don't run back into trouble. Rugby is a game of evasion. (That doesn't mean run back wards or side ways)

Player of the day
Tommy "the iron curtain" T. Always the first up to tackle and very rarely misses one. The commitment is total and made numerous tackles again this week. One in particular try-saving effort in the corner. Awesome.

It was a tough day and became clear that availability and change in personnel had played a part in upsetting the balance of this finely tuned machine, although had the boys done the basics better and focused more then I'm sure things would have been very different.

Thanks as ever to the support from; parents, relatives and fellow coaches.

Coaches Simon & Matt.

Wimbledon Match Report – 11 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Squad – Ronnie, Alfie, Theo, Claude, Seb, Daniel, Thomas K, Sam, Jaxson, Rian, Michel and Harri

We turned up at sunny Wimbledon not quite sure what we would face as for a change we were playing Surrey Teams. Our opponents were Mid Wives, Wimbledon and Rosslyn Park (a big Surrey Club with 5 teams entered in the Festival). As nearly everyone turned up on time we were able to do a good rucking warm up having learned our lesson from the week before where we had decided on a good mannered pacifist approach to rucking which meant we let the other team take our ball whenever they pleased. This proved to be the making of our day.

Horsemen v Mid Wives – now renamed Trinity Titans.
First up were Trinity Titans and we expected a tough game as we have had tough games with them before. We started well by making a good number of tackles and then counter rucking brilliantly through Sam and Jaxson and we got a couple of tries through Jaxson to settle our nerves. Rian was passing well and when he wasn’t Daniel was passing sensibly too. Thomas K and Theo were making good runs while Seb, Michel and Alfie were coming up very fast in defence and giving Titans no time to make decisions. We got to 3-0 before Jaxson had a break and then we decided to go to sleep and let the stocky, feisty Titans forward part our defence like the red sea. We all laid a hand on him but no one made anything approximating to a tackle. That woke the team up and we powered up to score two more direct running tries through Sam Hearn. This was a good team performance with everyone rucking well especially Claude who was getting into good body positions and with Harri leading the tackle count on his wing. We eventually won 5-1.

Lesson learned – we can ruck when we put our minds to it! We even look good at it when we put our minds to it!

Horsemen v Wimbledon
Wimbledon are a decent Surrey Club and have far more players than us. They also had a couple of big scary looking lads and our confidence in tackling would be tested. So it proved. We struggled a little to cope with the bigger players and our defence wobbled a little but Harri and Theo kept making their tackles on the wings and Wimbledon could not get round the defence as they had in their other matches. However, our rucking was the best it has been and several times we got out of trouble through great counter rucking (Sam, Jaxson and Michel) and our rucking when attacking was good with Seb, Claude, Daniel and Rian all doing really good work. We edged a try ahead through Jaxson, then another through Michel before Wimbledon came back at us hard with a try, then Jaxson scored, then Wimbledon scored then Jaxson again, then Wimbledon again before we closed the game out with some brilliant running from Thomas K and Theo which softened Wimbledon up leading to two late tries from Jaxson and Sam. This was a really tough game and our hardest of the day as we edged it 5-3. Wimbledon were big, good and never gave up - Ronnie got flattened two yards short of the line in a brilliant Wimbledon tackle that he won’t forget in a hurry!

Lesson learned – The lesson learned from this game was that good rucking wins games and that there are no easy games and we should never give up trying – the try saving tackle on Ronnie showed that if you run hard and tackle hard you can stop a definite try!

Horsemen v Rosslyn Park
Coach Damian had watched Rosslyn Park play and had thought they might prove a bit too good for the Horsemen. They were not a big side but they were skilful, good runners and very good passers. As it proved they were also a very good side in contact and broke both Michel and Ronnie in tackles. Michel was very brave in his tackle against the big guy and Ronnie was felled by two players who hit him simultaneously – thankfully both players are fine after the bangs. The game proved to be a battle at the ruck. Both teams committed 100% and the team that upped their game at the ruck took control winning their own ball and some of their opposition ball. That was simply down to Alfie who stepped up to fill the gap left by Michel and Ronnie and hit ruck after ruck low and hard and driving forwards- if he plays like that every week we will win a lot of games. That gave us ball and possession with the help of Claude, Seb, Sam, Daniel and Rian to get Harri, Thomas K, Theo and Jaxson into space. It was very noticeable that the players themselves worked out that Jaxson had the strength and pace to get through and round the Rosslyn Park defence and actively sought to pass him the ball. We eventually ran out winners 3 tries to 1 which was an excellent result. The Rosslyn Park Coach commented after the game that his team have not been taken apart at the ruck like that all season – well done team.

Lesson learned – rucking wins games
It was a good Festival with good team and we played well. We spread out much better in defence and Michel and Seb led the defensive rush really well. Rucking was light years better than last week and the tackling is improving week on week as we get ‘match hard’. My one suggestion for improvement would be that when run and are being tackled that we should never just fling the ball backwards as it puts us in real trouble – just go to the floor, lay the ball back and trust your mates to ruck over and get the ball.

Player of the day
It was close between a number of players (Michel, Jaxson, Sam etc) but Harri was our Player of the day.

Coaches Yannick and Damian (and a bog thank you to all the parents!)

Dragons @ Wimbledon Festival 24th March 2019

3rd festival in a row and the sun was shining again! We went to Wimbledon with trepidation after a tough festival at Eltham. The boys had their first really tough festival and aren’t used to being beaten so I think there were a few nerves. We had 3 games against Guildford, Rosslyn Park (first time we have played them) and Sutton & Epsom.

First game was against Guildford with a Wimbledon ref. The boys got stuck in straight away and we started scoring quite quickly. Louis was on a run, the boys were passing well and our tackling was great. As a team the boys played really well together, they were well positioned, and all played their part in tackling, passing and rucking. Louis scored 4 tries in this game with Bob scoring 1. Sadly, Malachi’s try wasn’t allowed but he made a brilliant run and just got caught at the last minute. OW 5 – Guildford 2

Game 2 was against Rosslyn Park, In this game the boys started off strong, with some great rucking from Freddie and Tyler. Finn, Louis and William were well placed for passing. It felt from the side lines that the boys had really clicked and had started to know where each other were and were playing as a team. It’s a shame we didn’t have more festivals at the start of the season. That would have been really helpful in highlighting the areas where we needed to put more focus in at training. James B found a gap and scored a brilliant try. Tyler and Cyprien were both brilliant with their tackles and Bob who hasn’t really been that involved in tackling stepped up and was also making a difference in our defensive game. Tries came from Louis, Finn, Tyler, James B and James H also scored a great try, just ploughing through the opposition and not stopping. It’s great when the boys do run forward! The Ref in this game seemed to have a bit of an issues with the play especially when we were picking up the ball during a ruck. The boys need to be careful to not go across the side when we drive over a ruck. A great win! OW 9 RP 3

Game 3, Sutton & Epsom. We have played these guys a few times, a nice team with good coaches and players. This was quite a close game, we made a few simple errors. Throughout the morning we had been telling the boys to pick up the ball in a ruck (and they kept not doing it, I think the second game ref may have made them think that they were doing something wrong) and I heard a few of the parents shouting “pick up the ball” and was glad it wasn’t just me.
William made some great moves in this game, actually picking up the ball and passing it out, giving the team a chance to score. Throughout the morning, Cyprien was “our last line of attack” – Tyler was our “first line of defence”, if a player got past the core team then Cyprien pretty much cleared them up. Generally, we shout at the boys to stay in a line, but Cyprien staying a bit back and Bob and William staying wide meant that we did find the space to score some great tries. OW 4 – S&E

Reflecting on the festival (compared to last week), I think the teams were not as strong as a couple of the teams last week, however, we did play really well. It always helps when the sun is shining and having a couple less subs means it’s easier to manage the team as a coach. It was interesting to hear the boys respond when they were on the line subbed out and they saw the ball not being picked up.

Areas to focus on –
Sequence on rucking (this should be an easy win for us) 
1. Tackled player presents
2. 1st player clears out
3. 2nd picks up quickly
4. Accurate pass to player in space  
5. When in defence (rucking) everyone must stay behind the back foot.  

Accurate quick passing, picking up the ball during and after a ruck (I think this has been our Achilles heel this year) and it should be really easy to turn around. Also not assuming that whoever makes the run will score, if someone makes a run then they need some support.
The pitches are small and the days of the boys being able to just find space to score are not going to happen that often. Its lovely to see the teams coming together and building friendships and trust.

As always thanks to all the parents for bringing the kids and supporting the teams.

Dragons Coaches Matt, Tom & Kev

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Match details

Match date

Sun 24, Mar 2019



Meet time