New Year. New Kit. Same Outcome
By Jonny Fairclough
U9s Continue Where They Left Off
Nick & Jonny’s Team
The U9s started off 2019 with a trip to Manchester RUFC, and wearing their new - old style - black and white hooped shirts, the lads continued where they’d left off in December, crossing the line pretty much every time they had the ball, and keeping referee Beale on his toes, shuttle-running, and burning off Christmas excesses.
And as has become the norm of recent weeks, when not in possession of the ball, Wigan's tackling prevented the opposition from scoring for much of both matches (no tries against in the first game and just four in the second game) with the final score heavily in favour of Wigan.
Wilson and Oliver were joint level on both tries and tackles, and Harry B maintained his recharged enthusiasm with an excellent game again in his tackling, whilst also scoring several tries - including one of the tries of the day following an exchange of passes between himself, Oliver, and Wilson.
Finlay was the day’s top passer; regularly setting up his teammates, and he also crossed the line several times himself – on one occasion noticeably ignoring wise words from the touchline:
‘Cut inside Finlay…Finlay, cut inside…Finlay…..cut……or you can carry on straight down the wing of course. Good try…’
The most noticeable performances however, came from Jack, Tom and Sam – who ran as a trio, and most impressively, tackled as a trio – likened to Jurassic Park’s velociraptors.
On more than one occasion, Manchester players threw the ball away in terror as one of the triplets leapt on them, talons out, knowing full well two others were on the way.
All-in-all, a nice way to start the New Year, and the lads thoroughly enjoyed the run out, the post-match hotdogs, crinkle-cut chips, and about a hundred-weight of Haribo.
Phil & Bob’s Team
Wigan opened up 2019 with a visit to Manchester's impressive Grove Lane facilities, and it soon became clear that the Christmas festivities hadn't affected Wigan's speed and commitment to the cause as the black'n'whites - resplendent in their brand new yet very traditional hoops - dominated throughout.
The awards could have been presented to pretty much anyone, but Noah's desire to stay on the field despite obvious illness along with 21 tackles and a try was enough to clinch the player of the match. Noah is the ultimate team member, just going about his business with little fuss but high enthusiasm and team focus. A pleasure to coach.
Sonny topped the stats in all areas, with a whopping 9 tries and 30 tackles. But this week the difference was that Sonny controlled the whole game as well, and in a very unselfish manner, amassing 17 passes from pivot as the team's structured play developed superbly.
Will was fearless in defence, leading the whole defensive line in its march forward, and by close of play he accumulated 5 tries and 25 tackles. He was ably supported by Toby who grabbed 5 tries and 21 technically impressive tackles. Quite a pair in combination who pretty much ruined the home side's morning with their work rate.
George also stood out in terms of his tackle technique - which was sensational. The way he lined up the home players and took their legs away with perfectly timed hits was of standard expected by a much older age group. And Lukus was his usual dynamic self in attack, with 2 wonderfully executed runs that turned the home side in knots. Added to that, Lukus was just behind Sonny as the 2nd top passer and his ball handling skills are developing beautifully.
Game 1 finished 9-4, whilst game 2 ended 17-0 after an unbelievable defensive effort where the team pressed forward as a tight unit of 6.
A good result.
Man of The Match (Nick & Jonny’s team) Jack
Man of the Match (Phil & Bob’s team) Noah
Top Tacklers & Try Scorers (Nick & Jonny’s team) Wilson & Oliver
Most Passes (Nick & Jonny’s team) Finlay
Top Tackler, Most Passes & Top Try Scorer (Phil & Bob’s team) Sonny