On Sunday, an OA Under 9 team participated in the Amersham & Chiltern Development Festival, finishing in a very credible 3rd place out of 8 teams representing Amersham & Chiltern, Beaconsfield, Maidenhead, Marlow, Tring and Windsor.
The A&C development festival is always a popular event on our calendar, giving several new joiners in their first ever season an early experience of festival rugby. A crisp, clear Autumn day helped to create a fun and competitive day of rugby for our players and spectators.
Drawn in the second of two pools, OA’s began in confident style against Windsor, before coming up against a very well matched Tring RFC team. A tight first half, with fabulous defence and crunching tackles from both sides, finished with OA’s finally breaking the Tring line and squeezing in down the wing. With all the effort expended in defence in that first half, a more open second half followed, with OA’s running out winners by a couple of scores.
The final pool match saw the OA’s, hoping to finish their pool with a 100% record, come up against an Amersham Tigers team needing a win following a defeat in their first pool match against Tring. OA’s again started positively and were up 3 tries to 1 at half time and looking strong. Unfortunately, OA’s couldn’t maintain the standard they had set, and a impressive 2nd half performance from the Tigers saw them level the scores at 3-3 as the match entered the final minute. Trying desperately to save the match, OA’s were penalised for offside giving the Tigers a free pass from 7 yards out with the last play of the game, and despite brave efforts by all the players, the Tigers bundled over for the winning try. A tough result for OA’s, but fair play to the Tigers for their performance in that second half.
The final standings for the pool saw OA’s, Tring and the A&C Tigers with the same record of 2 wins and 1 loss and exactly the same try difference!!!, which goes to show just how competitive this particular pool was. Agonisingly for both OA’s and the Tigers, Tring squeaked though in top place based on tries scored, with OA’s second and the Tigers in 3rd place.
Although disappointed to have missed 1st place by such a small margin, OA’s raised their spirits for a 3rd place play-off against Marlow RFC, who finished second in the other pool. In their strongest performance of the day, OA’s ran out winners against a brave and spirited Marlow team. Some nice open play and offloading that freed up our faster players on the wing was complemented by our best defensive organisation of the day.
All in all, while the players were disappointed not to have won the festival, it was a great experience for them all, especially our new debutantes who put in some exceptional performances. A couple of weeks of training at home for this team will help to hone those key skills as we look to push on with some big matches and festivals in the new year.
Congratulation to Amersham and Chiltern RFC both for the excellent organisation (as always), but also to their “Lions” team who scored a popular home win against Tring in the festival final.
Come on OA’s!!!