Last match report of the season:
Trojans U15s Challenge Cup Winners on Devon Tour
The 28 strong Trojans U15s tour squad were entered in the Rugby Rocks tournament which took place at Barnstaple RFC. The format was to play six league matches of 20 minutes over two days and aim to reach one of the finals. Our strategy was to give every player in the squad equal game time on each of the days. The boys were set a realistic target of winning at least half their league matches. Euan Ball was made captain in recognition of his achievements as a county player.
Trojans 25 Chesham 0
Chesham were short of numbers, so we sportingly gave them two players to make it a 15-a-side contest. Credit should go to Adam Southey and Ollie Jarvis for volunteering. Trojans got off to a flying start with Euan fielding the kick-off and passing to winger Oscar Giles to run in the first try. No conversions were permitted. Oscar then scored his second after a great run from prop Thomas Stimson. Fin Harrison was taken off after being shaken up after a tackle. The third try was beautifully executed by fly-half Matt Barrett, delaying the pass searching for an opportunity and then took his chance selling a dummy to beat the Chesham defence. In the second half Euan came close to scoring and from a scrum No.8 Ed O'Regan picked up and scored a trademark try. A couple of scoring opportunities were spurned before the pressure on Chesham resulted in a try for Euan.
Trojans 15 North Bristol 0
After a long break the action resumed with a different line-up with Alfie Turner as captain. Following a great run from Holden Hunt, prop Sam Page charged over to open the scoring. Winger Rodrigo Estiveira made a good run, but there were few highlights in the first half. The boys continued to be frustrated with nothing coming from a good break from Phil Chapman. North Bristol proved tough opponents and Lucas Datson was forced to make a superb tackle to prevent them scoring. Some great passing in a subsequent counter attack resulted in a try for Oscar. The boys made the game safe after setting up a powerful maul from a line-out, Phil scoring the try.
Trojans 20 Porth Harlequins 5
The line-up was changed again and we went to 14 a-side to match the opposition numbers. Scrum-half Josh Lambrou kicked intelligently and Trojans attacked the Harlequins in their own half. A try soon came when centre Christian Brooks took a good line switching with Matt and running on to score. Euan scored a second after some good pressure from the forwards. In the second half both teams were reduced to 14 due to a Harlequins injury. Despite this a 'quins winger made a long run and scored an impressive individual try. Trojans came back after pressurizing the opposition from a line-out and Phil restored the two try advantage. Prop Ash Chirima took the ball at pace and ran through the defence before offloading to Oscar for the fourth and and final try.
A good day's work, winning all three games and therefore hitting their target already. However, the other results told us that two of our remaining three league games next day would be extremely tough.
Trojans 10 Penallta 10
A strong Trojans side took the field against a welsh team who had won all four of their previous matches. The boys were without Christian who had been injured the day before, so Oscar filled in at inside centre. The first half started well with good kicking again from Josh and Oscar making a typically penetrating run only to be tackled just short of the line. From a quick tap penalty Josh quickly got the ball wide to Thomas who closed in on the try line only to hear the whistle blow as Euan was involved in a dispute with one of the Penallta players. However, the boys continued to attack and deservedly took the lead when Matt put Euan in to score just before half time. Penallta went on the offensive, but they were denied by some excellent defensive work. Oscar made a break out of defence and was caught by a tackler, but instead of offloading he fought his way out of the tackle and in the process put a knee in the head of the Penallta player and was shown a yellow card. This allowed the welsh boys to get back in the game, exploiting the lack of numbers out wide and scoring a good try to level the match. Oscar was only off for 2 minutes and made amends by charging down a kick in midfield and collecting the ball to put the Trojans back in front. This fired up Penallta and they came back well to tie the game right at the end. Unfortunately Lucas finished the match with a finger injury and was taken to A+E for a check-up.
Trojans 0 Weston-Super-Mare 0
The squad was swapped around and the numbers reduced to 13 to accommodate Weston's lack of players. In a scrappy first half, Holden made a good break and Thomas was close to scoring. Trojans enjoyed the majority of possession, but so many good chances were squandered by poor execution. In the second half, the numbers were increased to 14. Ash and Sam made good runs and Ollie made a good break at centre only to fall just short. Unfortunately a 0-0 scoreline was inevitable and the players' efforts went unrewarded.
Trojans 0 Barnstaple-A 5
The boys knew that they now had to beat the home side in order to progress to the Cup Final. A tough ask as we were now without Oscar who had withdrawn injured. Phil was switched from flanker to inside centre. The extremely wet weather also made life difficult. Barnstaple controlled the game gaining territory with some excellent touch kicking and restricting the Trojans to their own half. Without Christian and Oscar, we didn't have the attacking weapons to launch an effective counter attack and pose a threat. The boys didn't help themselves by giving away penalties and Barnstaple repeatedly set up mauls from the resulting line-outs. From one of these, their blind-side winger came into the line and cut through the Trojans midfield to score the only try of the game. The second half followed the same pattern and frustrations started to show. The referee asked for Joseph Rooney to be withdrawn from the game after a dump tackle from height - although it was not particularly dangerous.
Trojans finished 3rd and progressed to the Challenge Cup Final.
Trojans 30 Weston-Super-Mare 0
The match started with 13-a-side due to Weston injuries and this time faced a stronger Trojans side. Flankers Holden and Michael Robertson had to be sidelined. On the plus side Lucas returned to the wing and was soon in the action releasing Linton Roberts who created a try for Euan. A cross-field kick from Josh was fielded by Lucas and a try looked on, but was denied by a forward pass. Thomas showed his pace making a penetrating run through the middle and unselfishly passed to Ash to beat the last player on the line. Excellent teamwork from the two props. The second half saw Ed withdrawn as both teams went down to 12 players. Lucas also had to be withdrawn with another injury. However, the boys showed their class. First Josh kicked through for Euan to score his second try. Then Linton outran everyone scoring from a break in his own half. Phil scored the fifth try after excellent handling from the backs. A powerful run from Fin typified the excellent contribution from the forwards. Phil finished things off following a switch in midfield. The match ended somewhat one-sided but it was good to see the quality rugby that the players could produce.
The boys were deserved winners of the Challenge Cup. Everyone in the squad played well and contributed to the victory. The Cup Final between Barnstaple and Penallta finished 0-0 with both teams fielding strong sides throughout the tournament. Trojans came so close, losing only one match and that by one try and were arguably the moral winners of the event, using all 28 players, reducing numbers when requested and even lending players to the opposition. Overall the boys scored 20 tries and conceded only 4. Well done to all the boys and thanks to all the coaches and parents for their support.