OA U11s retain Herts County Cup and Shield

At Fullerians RFC on Sunday, OA’s A Team won the Cup Tournament for the 3rd consecutive year.

OA progressed through the Group stages despite playing at a less intense standard than the boys have played all season. Having said that all games were won with room to spare beating Barnet 4-0 in the opening game. The second game was against the hosts Fullerians with OA the winners by two tries to one. In the third game OA were too strong for Camelot scoring 7 tries in the allotted 14 minutes. The final group game started to show signs of the potential of the boys where they beat a combative Cheshunt team 3 tries to 1.

OA’s proceeded to the semi-finals as Group winners. The other group winners were Harpenden and Hertford with the best Group Runners Up being Fullerians. Hertford played and beat Fullerians in one semi with Old Albanian drawn against Harpenden, a repeat of last seasons final. Harpenden has really improved at this age group and gave the boys their toughest game of the day. OA suffered a bad injury to Stephen Kelly in the first minute who was stabilized on the pitch and then taken by ambulance to Watford. Fortunately, he was fine and released on Sunday evening. Due to the injury, the match was moved to an adjacent pitch. This was the most physical battle that both teams have ever been involved in. The hits on each other were ferocious and most of them were legal. At one stage, both captains and coaches were brought onto the pitch to ask to calm matters down. However, there were actions that are not acceptable on a rugby pitch and some substitutions were made at half time with OA leading 1-0 thanks to a try from a short tap penalty scored by Christian. The second half remained scoreless so OA progressed to their third consecutive final. This was against Hertford. Having watched Hertford play in the Group stages they were certainly a strong looking team. Cameron scored a cracking try mid-way through the first half. Hertford then camped on the OA line and it looked to everyone on the pitch and sideline that they had scored an equalizer. The referee decided the ball had been grounded before the try line so did not award the try. In the second half, James D scored one of the most athletic tries you will ever see finally grounding the ball, on his back, with his hands behind his head. The positioning of the referee and touch judge were excellent and they were able to correctly award the try. At 2 tries to nil up, Tim, the OA fly half, took the game by the scruff of the neck and sent 3 or 4 long probing kicks deep into the Hertford 22. The OA line speed and kick chase game was outstanding and managed to keep Hertford pinned in their 22. The game ended 2-0 and OAs have now won the Herts Contact Festival in 2012, 2013 and 2014. All the players really stepped up when the games required it and were excellent through the semi and final.

A Team Squad: Harry Bambrough, Guy Butterworth, Jack Cobb, Tim Davies, James Deeks, Ryan Docherty, Sasha Goss, Ellis Greaves, Toby Jacob, Stephen Kelly, James McVeigh, Tom McVeigh, Scott Ovenden, Will Monk, Louis Rees, Christian Cavalli-Warby, Cameron Meadows.

Old Albanian B Squad retained the Hertfordshire County Shield in a thrilling final on Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the day the team had faced Tring B in a tense pool match which ended at 3 tries each, leaving OA B’s as pool winners and Tring B runners up.

Both teams then won their respective semi-finals to set up a re-match in the final, Old Albanians went down to an unfortunate early score whilst one of their key play makers was injured. However the team rallied displaying composure and determination they scored 2 tries of their own. Tring B responded to bring them within a score but OA’s showed the better stamina to close out the game with a final try, winning 4 tries to 2.

In what was a tournament of fantastic running Rugby, every back in the OA B’s squad scored at least 1 try, capitalising on the efforts of their forwards who toiled magnificently to produce quick ball for them to exploit.

B Team Squad: Nick Powdrell, Dan Baylis, Marcus Cunnington, Thomas Jarman, Thomas Cadenhead, Jacob Davies, Rudy Farrell, Jake Fleming, William Garel-Jones, Harry Hudnott, Thomas Jeffcock, John McVeigh, Joe Moss, Ethan Phillips.

OA’s C squad had a tough draw in the plate competition having to compete against Watford and Tabard first choice teams and both Harpenden and Fullarians B teams. With some good training sessions behind us confidence was high going into Sunday’s tournament that we could do well.

The Plate was organised on a league basis where all teams played each other and the top two would then contest the final.

OA’s were quick out of the blocks in their first match against Harpenden. The boys produced some excellent running rugby with the forwards producing good, quick, clean ball at ruck time that released the backs to score all the tries in a 4 – 0 victory – a great start.
The second match against Tabard was a different story. The match was interrupted by a lengthy injury break and a constant stream of scrums and line outs that stopped us getting into our stride. The opposition kicked very well but could not stop us taking a well deserved victory 2-1.

Next we came up against a physical Fullarians side. We more than matched them in all aspects of contact and in the second half started to show some of the form displayed in the opening match against Harpenden. Fullarians scored 2 break away tries but could not match the OA’s who scored 3 and deserved more. A third win in a row !
The final league match was against a strong and fast Watford team. It was clear that this was going to be our biggest challenge. Both teams were very closely matched. Tackling was crunching and both sides showed a fierce desire to win. The final score was a fair 2-2 draw. We realised our rucking would need to improve if we came up against this team again.

As all the league matches were completed it was clear that the 2 unbeaten sides – OA’s and Watford would play each other in the final. This would be a fitting climax to the competition as they were clearly the best 2 sides on show. As with the league match the final was very tight. Infact it was not until the last 30 seconds that Watford finally crossed the OA’s line to take the lead ! OA’s were told by the ref they had time to take the kick off but that would be the final play.

After a clever short kick off the Watford player knocked on. The ref for some reason decided not to play any advantage to OA’s who had collected the ball from the knock on. He awarded a scrum then blew the final whistle.

Both the players, coaches and spectators were extremely disappointed to loose in the final but on reflection can be rightly proud of their achievements and fantastic team spirit. Well done !!

C Team Squad: Arin Managan, Oscar Higgins, Angelo Calatrava, George Raynor, James Daniels, William Nicholas, Luke Hensman, Oliver Stevenson, Jamie Beswetherick, Tom Griffiths, Sam Pollard, Joe Picariello, Robert Linzell, Emilio Merlo, Owen Wood, Adam Leslie.