Strong performances by all the teams, brings the County Cup home for the 6th time
OA U12s competed at the Hertfordshire RFU Minis festival at Hemel Camelot RFC on Sunday March 20th. With this being the final season of mini rugby, it was great to see a large turnout of teams from all the local clubs, with OAs fielding 4 teams, across 3 competitions.
OAs entered 2 teams into a very high quality 12-team Cup competition. The OA Lions continued their strong run in this competition from previous seasons, registering strong wins in their pool matches against Bishops Stortford, Hertford, and Tring to progress to the semi-finals as group winners. The most pleasing aspect of the Lions performance was that they never let their quality drop, even when leading a match comfortably; and a number of opposition coaches commented that even making wholesale substitutions doesn’t seem to unsettle the team.
Last season, the OA Sharks finished 3rd in the County Cup, and since then many of those players have moved into this seasons Lions team as we transitioned from 9-a-side to 12-a-side rugby. Fielding a team consisting of many players playing Cup level rugby for the first time ever, the Sharks registered good wins against Chess Valley and Harpenden B, before going down by a few scores to a quality Hitchin side, and losing a key player to a nasty injury. Despite the loss, the try difference from the first 2 matches was enough for the Sharks to sneak into the semi-finals as best placed runner up, just shading the unfortunate Hemel and Bishops Stortford sides.
In the semi-finals, the Lions eased past Hitchin; however the Sharks went down to a Harpenden A by a few scores, but kept battling to the end. In the final, the Lions maintained their great form to run out convincing winners against Harpenden by 5 scores to nil, and won the County Cup for OAs for the 6th time.
The Sharks put their disappointment behind them, to play a 3rd place final against Hitchin once more, and nicked a late equalising try. Common sense between coaches prevailed and hands were shaken on a draw, rather than make 2 exhausted teams play out extra time.
A high quality Cup competition resulted in a large Vase competition consisting of lots of strong A teams, and into this entered our OA Chiefs, a side also containing players making a step up in the level of rugby they played. The Chiefs started off with a 2 tries to nil win against our great rival at Harpenden, however defeats to high quality A teams from Datchworth and Fullerians, and a frustrating narrow loss to Barnet B would limit the Chiefs progression in the competition. The Chiefs put in a huge effort in their final match against Watford A, competing ferociously, but unfortunately going down 1-0 in a performance that brought compliments of referees and opponents alike.
The OA Stormers played in a 5 team round robin competition, with a number of players in their first ever festival. After a frustrating performance in their first match against Hertford B, the Stormers squeaked past Hitchin C in their second game, but with everyone agreeing they could raise their performance still further. Inconsistency would again raise its head against Bishops Stortford C, but the Stormers finished the day with one of the best performances of their season, focussing on getting back to doing the basics well to overcome Harpenden D 5 scores to 2.
So a great day had by all, and well done to Dave Martin, Chris Topping and Dean Edwards at Hemel Camelot for a fitting finale to mini rugby in Hertfordshire for all the players. We look forward to continuing friendship and rivalry in Junior rugby next season!!!