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2014/15 Season

Chess Valley Match Report – 7/12

Chess Valley 7 – 38 OA’s B

The torrential rain that landed on Croxley Green 30 minutes before the game kicked off had us all worried about a repeat of the Barnet game.  The mighty Bs are not physically built to deal with heavy, wintry conditions.

Thankfully the weather cleared and most of the game was played in sunshine.  It also helped to get off to a good start- with Reecey Boy sprinting literally the length of the pitch to score from their kick off. It became apparent that out wide was where we had the advantage as Jazer jinked his way through to score under the posts shortly afterwards too.  Charlie slotted the conversion.

Credit to Chess they came back hard.  Their 10 kicked for territory well down a deceptively steep slope and their forwards backed this up with some keen rucking.  It was clear they did not think the result was as much of a foregone conclusion as our lads did.  The boys in pink eventually blasted round the side of a ruck to score and converted it.  By now Wagbo at full back was head to toe in mud which was not helping him deal with the aerial bombardment.  It was difficult to gain any distance up the slope with clearance kicks from anyone, so pressure remained.  Whenever we ran the ball out we tended to lose it in contact- a combination of slippery conditions and soft rucking.  Our tackling, though, was top notch.

At half time the talk was about our forwards improving their clearing out and the backs returning the aerial presents to the opposition.  A big well done to the lads as they couldn’t have executed the plan much better.  Possession was now maintained for several phases and our kicks were gaining much more ground.  You have to feel for the opposition winger- when a slippery ball comes out of the sky there are few worse things to see out of the corner of your eye than Coxy in full flight.  Eventually he scored a hat-trick and came very close to getting an excellent fourth from an angled run as the whistle went.  On the other wing Sam Austen had a cracking stint away from his usual position- showing plenty of pace and swerve.  Charlie dummied and stepped his way to a try in the middle which was just reward for a big shift in defence from him.  Robbie converted 3 of them.  Everyone had a good day on the tackling front, with special mention to Westy who played his best game yet at flanker.  Considering the conditions the handling was also more than acceptable from all.

Final score 38-7.

 

2013/14 Season 

Barnet Match Report – 12/1

OA’s B 10 – Barnet 0

By the time we kicked off this was a perfect day for rugby at Woollams.

The game had a lot of familiar themes to it-  OAs pack of forwards looked distinctly under-nourished compared to their opponents leading to some difficulties at scrum time.  Also like most games this season, we kicked off and barely saw the ball for 10 minutes.  Never mind- it gave the team an opportunity to show what a great defensive unit they have become.  It’s wonderful progress since allowing Wasps to walk through in the first game of the season.  Notable contributors were Max with his usual bone crunchers,  Tom Sherwood with his faultless display at 7 and a tip of the hat to Sam Austen for chopping their big prop down.

Barnet came with a threat-  their 10 was a lively playmaker with a good boot.  He varied play well and looked to spread the ball which is good to see at this age.  Despite making great yards their St Albans school lad on the flank often found he was too quick for his support…but found Powdrell in very close attendance limpetting onto the ball.

Eventually the guests were good enough to share the ball and our potent backs went from 22 to 22 in a flash.  This became the theme- trying to make a meal out of scraps.  The hands weren’t quite as sharp as usual which led to far more scrums than we’d like.  That’s forgivable after such a long break.  Spurning a number of 4 on 2 overlaps is less forgivable.  A try finally came-  Winfield cutting back in to crash over.  Unusually West’s radar was a little off so 5-0 at half time.

As Barnet’s big forwards tired, more space was forthcoming.  Still our defence refused to let them near our line.  Barnet’s left winger must have tired of getting the ball as he was regularly clattered by Reece.  The second and final try was a bit of  a peach.  The ball was turned over on our 22 and quickly shifted away from the contact area to the right wing.  Ground was made and the ball was recycled in their 22.  Having sucked in the defence it was spread left for Jazer to crash over on the opposite side of the pitch.

And that was it.  The team was just getting into the groove as the final whistle went.

The result is likely to leave a winner-takes-all encounter against London Scottish for promotion…just like season.

Bring it on.

Wasps Match Report – 29/9

OA’s B 22 – Wasps 31

The worst possible start allowed their biggest player space to run from the kick off avoiding 6-7 poor tackles to score in the corner.Our Achilles heel; we give too much respect to larger opposition, tackle them very poorly and are slow to group up against them. Something we need to address.

5 points down after 40 seconds looked highly ominous, but OA’s came back strong, ran several phases releasing Reece to score in the corner, 5 all after 5 minutes.Reece scored again after 9 minutes from a double dummy and wide ball from Robbie, converted for 12-5. OA’s looked great with the ball, solid in the break down and scrum and definitely in the ascendency until the other big center got the ball. A decent Wasps move saw their 13 break from an clever dummy run by their big #12 to level the score at 12 all after 17 minutes. 8 minutes of very even well contested rugby then resulted in Sam W backing himself to take OA’s into half time up 17-12.

5 minutes into the second half and again at 15 minutes the big center blasted through the middle to score under the posts to take the score to 26-17. A crippling 14 points against us. Alex P took a quick free kick to score on 22 minutes giving us a possible chance at 22-26, only to see the big #12 score from a close penalty 10 metres out just on full time, game over. We were the better side, played the better rugby, scored 4 tries to capture a bonus point, but could not address our Achilles well enough. We allowed their big guys too much space and time to get up speed and tackled poorly. Final score 22 – 31 in a game most of us will have felt we could have won.

Negatives

– tackling the big guys; everyone was guilty, but he was huge and quite quick too. Something we really need to work on – ganging up – we drifted a bit too much in the backs and were often caught running sideways in the forwards too. Nothing too damaging but a waste of energy. Easily fixed

– our ball handling let us down under pressure on 4 occasions and we wasted some really good ball. That will settle with experience. Easily fixed.

Positives

– the scrum was solid against a much heavier pack. Eddie had a great game hooking, Andrew Kelly worked incredibly effectively at prop and there were our usual decent runs, rucking and jackaling all round.

– The backs ran some great wide ball and used a few of their moves well. Noticing the wide running overlap in both of Reece’s tries was text book and great to see.

Unfortunately this game was lost to 4 tries coming from one player, their big #12, two of which we really should have prevented. Back to the training ground for some more tackle practice!

 

2012/13 Season

Hemel Hempsted Cup Game – Match Report – 10/3

Freezing cold.  Snow in the air.  A big division 3 side.  It felt like Letchworth all over again.

That’s where the similarities ended unfortunately.  Hemel had power through the middle, pace outside and a lovely off-loading game. The cause was not helped by a lack of urgency at the breakdown by OAs.  That was due in large part to the ferocity of Hemel’s game- mucking our rucks. By the 15th minute the game was effectively over.  Hemel had run in 4 tries.

For the remainder of the game the mighty Bs kept going, but could not force a score.  Testimony to the effort was a very lengthy injury list at the end.  The bounce from a nice chip was not favourable for Jazer.  Mahendra got close on his old stomping ground.  There were certainly some positives to be taken from the game.  Charlie was outstanding in defence- his best game yet for the club.  Sam’s pass was excellent throughout, despite some messy breakdowns.  The way the boys dealt with their first loss of the season was to be commended too.

We do have some work before next week’s league decider.  Urgency and effort at the breakdown is certainly something that needs improvement.  We also need to fix Naylor’s shorts…they seemed to fall down at inappropriate moments today…  The coaching team are still proud of the lads- lets finish the league with a bang next week.

 

Letchworth Cup Game – Match Report – 10/2

Letchworth 10 – 29  Old Albanians B

Spirit of the cup

A wet and blustery day at Letchworth gave the Mighty Bs their first taste of cup rugby.

As has now become normal, the warm-up was a bit half-hearted and did more to worry the coaches than prepare for the game.  Once on the pitch though, Captain Morgan (why have I only just spotted that play on words?!) roused the troops and they set off with a bang.

Pinning Letchworth in their half with some controlled play, it wasn’t long before the first score.  Powdrell, off the back of a scrum, going blind.  Try time.  The conversion was a little too far in the heavy conditions.  The cheers had barely died down when Joe stepped, swerved and broke away from the cover to score under the posts.  Converted it put the boys 12-0 up.  Even better was to come as Reece received the ball out wide to outpace the cover and score.  The conversion made it 19-0 after 10 minutes.  The boys in blue were in dreamland.

The Letchworth team met under the posts and decided that some drastic action was needed.  Great credit to them,  they came out fighting for their lives.  Their big back row carried them close to the line, then it was a bit of a one man show.  Letchworth’s number 13 is without doubt the strongest opponent I have seen at this age.  The fact that he has pace to match makes him a very difficult customer to stop.  Jack the Axe had to come off with a bloodied nose-  the result of the ferocious tackling work he was doing as always.  Joe, fired up in defence was deemed to have tip-tackled his opposite number.  10 minutes in the bin.  We now had a fly-half at hooker, and three ex-backs in the pack in total.  Add to this the missing person in the backs-  I think it’s fair to say we were under the cosh.  The big centre scored again-  once up to speed he’s almost impossible to stop.  19-10 and and we crawled into half time.

The first 15 minutes of the second half is where this game was won.  No points were scored by either team.  Our front row of Naylor, Mags and Mahendra put in a mighty shift.  Solid in the set-piece,  tackling demons in the loose.  Most of the action was in our 22.  Andrew Oliver made countless tackles-  fearless in the face of bigger opponents.  Meanwhile the back line held firm in a great display of unit defending.  In attack we were also learning that running into their 13 was a mistake!

Having secured our own ball at the scrum throughout the game Magnus, playing his first game at hooker, stole their ball at a scrum on our own 5 metre line.  Sam Austen, whose pass had been faultless all day despite the conditions, fed Joe.  He put in a mighty clearing kick, which the ball-hungry centres chased down.  Wagbo, a cross-country runner of some ability, got there first.  His toughest race could not have sapped energy as much as the 60 metre run in.  Uphill, in the mud, chased by the Letchworth team- he scored.  Robbie inexplicably hit the bar with his conversion.  24-10.

The tackles were flying in now.  Their centre’s charge down the field was brought to a shuddering halt by Mahendra’s bone-crushing tackle.  This intensity in defence led to dropped passes, one of which Wagbo latched onto for his second try.  The game was won 29-10, a tremendous effort from the team who had to respond to a big step up in physicality from their league games.

Bishops Stortford Match Report – 3/2

Bishop’s Stortford B 14-50 Old Albanians B

A dry morning with a chilly and biting breeze meant we had to keep moving throughout the warm up, not much time for our usual fancy talk. A proper old style rugby club with fairly decent pitches .

Thanks to the arrival of some new warm kit the coaches and subs were able to stay very much warmer than some of the parents.

A much larger BS side dominated the first few minutes from our kick off. Re-cycling the ball down the middle for at least 5 phases their forwards looked very much in control of the ball and we were thinking how / when might we see some possession. Fortunately for us BS decided to spin the ball out, dropped it in the three quarters, allowing a quick pick from Charlie to feed Joe who simply flew round the field showing what a real winger looks like.

Try from Joe after 4 minutes , converted by CR. 7-0

DSC_0024 (1228x1280)Our second try after 7 minutes was well worked, Joe down the right, cut back in, pass to Alex who set well for Sam to find Charlie and Reece, giving Reece some sprinting work and a fine finish.

Try by Reece after 7m, converted by CR . 14-0.

Working almost straight from the re-start with a couple of good phases saw the ball through the hands via Jazer and Alex to Joe who waltzed in with ease.

10m. Converted by CR – 21-0.

Now with tails up the team were sailing and running from deep re-starts, the oppo defence was in a state of confusion by the re-cycles, offloads and speedy attacks. A tremendous right wing run from Joe saw him beat three tacklers with deft hand offs and powerful running to score out right.

16m . Kick missed by CR 26-0

18m. 2 phases and sharp dummy from Jazer saw him on the score board. Kicked by Robbie. 33-0.

25m. An amazing move, we had been working on a move where the 8 picks up from the back of the scrum, charges the oppo 10-12 gap, sets for re-cycle, 3 more forwards drive tight off the 9, quick ball to the backs to score. Normally we run this move in the final third. Alex P, our marauding, lightning 8, took off on part one from our own 22, blasted through the 10-12, weaved and confused their full back to score a brilliant solo try. Converted by Robbie for half time 40-0.

As with our Teddington game, the second half was less impressive and we lost it 14-10. The game in the bag, we dropped our discipline and forgot our formation, weren’t clinical enough tackling and gave BS too may penalties allowing their much larger forwards into the game. Their first try came through chunking moves right down the middle which we only woke up to once they were on our line. Then some highly admirable defence in the final 5 metres from all our forwards took place but they were too big from close range. We all agreed some earlier poor tackling allowed them that close and we will deal with that on the training ground. 40-7.

30m, a clean line out and a well timed floating pass behind their defence from Charlie to Wagbo, who fed Joe for his fourth try of the day. A really tidy piece of backs play enabled by some quick forwards work. 45-7.

DSC_0037 (1280x851)36m. Their kick off into our corner gave them a strong territorial position that they worked well to score through the forwards again. Beginning to wake up to this threat our line defence was awesome. Everyone was involved in some really good work by tackling and rucking ferociously, but once you let big fellas like theirs near enough its almost impossible to stop. Jack the Axe smashed his man on the line enough to disrupt the ball inches from touchdown, but a now generous ref was probably being a little favourable towards the defeated home side. 45-14.

Both sides, tired from battering one another, saw a gap in scoring before Alex scored another to finish the game 50-14 after 50 minutes.

High fives:

The front row-  Naylor’s superman hand-offs,  Mahendra’s amazing turn of pace down the wing and Tommy for stealing the giant’s ball twice.

The Andrew’s (Oliver and Kelly)- great tackling showing that size doesn’t matter if you have technique.

Powdrell- not many out have the strength to enter a maul, rip the ball off the forwards then the pace to strip the back-line with it.

Joe ‘Tigger’ Hall-  Pace.  Step.  Hand-off.  Horrible day for his opposite number.

Teddington Match Report – 13/1

OAs 29 – Teddington 15

The toughest challenge yet:

This was a long awaited test we knew was coming and were wishing for. Pre match warm up on the pitch started the nerves tingling as the lads (and coaches) couldn’t help themselves look across at some tall bulky lads in well organised warm up formation. Lots of noise, well co-ordinated exercises, plenty of movement – crikey we thought, or perhaps something less old fashioned. This a wonderfully psychological and very important part of the game we have worked on –  think gainline, no missed tackles, moves, aggression, calls, penalties, patience and general warm up, before the final last 5-10 minutes before kick off in our mini pre-game where the lads get a full contact, nothing held back in the hits and recycling,  fire in their bellies. The oppo must have been bricking it by now too!

The game: 29-15 victorious. 5 tries, 2 converted to 3 unconverted.

Robbie’s short kick off (not 10, scrum given) and screaming Dad was celebrated by Tom T taking a beautiful strike against the head and we were off into the fray, a couple of hits, good recycling and no bother about the seemingly larger opposition. This set the theme and confidence throughout the whole game. A few back moves later we needed a quick fix because they were too tight, a step too many on the ball and not giving themselves space. Once sorted we saw fast hands and space releasing Joe ( aka bouncer or soon to be ‘Quady’  (Cooper)) off down the right, beating all the cover easily to score under the posts for Robbie to put over with his blindfold on. 7-0 after 7 minutes. A great start.

The next 5 minutes saw Teddington show us their force by attacking through their 2 runners; one tall forward, one bushy haired centre. Both made rumbling ground and challenged our tackle confidence. No bother in the end thanks to some magnificent hits from Andrew O lifting the whole backline (no nick name yet, but we need one – smiling hitman?).

Regaining ball down the left saw Jack ‘the axe’ cutting back infield towards the posts smashing through about 5 layers of defence to score just outside the posts for Robbie to slot again. 14-0 after 1230 mins. If the line wasn’t there Jack was off to Welwyn and no one was stopping him!

No more than 3 mins later Robbie took a nice pass from Alex to squeeze in on the right hand side, too far out to covert. Sorry Robbie, I cant remember the build up, but the finish was magnificent. 19-0 after 16 minutes, and sailing. A bad time to relax – noted by the coaches!!oau13btedd130113 024a

Teddington regrouped, had a good talking to themselves and kept the ball for longer than the previously, showing some serious aggression down the middle with the 2 key runners. We let them rumble on too far, didn’t finish our tackles, sat back a bit, complained about the lack of ball release on the floor, allowed them back to their feet, but it highlighted a good old fashioned forwards ref who simply cant stop watching that wonderful rumble down the middle they love. This resulted in our boys transgressing the law (hands in the ruck) to offer a penalty on the 22 between the posts , halting the run illegally with poor offside line discipline, allowing the ref to give another pen only 10 mtrs out. Having met Jack the Axe, Alex, Mags and the boys to no avail earlier Teddington set off crabbing left  managing to muscle over and miss the kick – 19-5 after 23 mins and the same to half time. Boys, the only reason we let this try in was because our re-set was over cautious having been pinged – get it right the first time and we are confident you would not have let this one in.

3 mins into the second half a revitalised Teddington (facing a cautious OAs) scored again with a marauding series of plays, which we must learn to kill off. 19-10 after 29 mins and now we were too nervous to remember much more detail, so if anyone has some nice moments to add, please do.

Minute 31:  Luke takes from Robbie down the left, seems quite well covered but puts that polo horse low centre of gravity lean on that makes him hard to tackle. Nice finish Luke. Phew! 24-10, too far out to kick.

Minute 39: Now we have the game in our hands – the forwards are smashing and ripping, Tom Barrett is running brilliantly, Mahendra is unstoppable, Jack and Alex have broken the oppo, Charlie (debut flanker) and Andrew at flanker (both previously centres) are tackling and cleaning up ball everywhere, Naylor is showing fitness and power like superman and Tom T is silently knocking down all the pins he can see. Captain Mags as ever, is solid and making things happen. The best move of the game!! Several phases down the middle, clean ball, heads up, an obvious overlap through both forwards and backs hands to see a lively Sam take a well deserved 5 points out on the left to go 29-10 up with 6 to go.

Gas off the pedal, we let Teddington in for 5 more – final score 29-15 after 49 mins.

Analysis: everyone was brilliant in some way, everyone now knows their job and executes well, pressure sometimes tells and we make loose passes in tight spaces, we bunch, but all in all this is a lovely  side developing well together and we learn from our mistakes. We never dwell on mistakes, we take them in and move on. A new lesson this week – figure out your ref early. ‘Scrappy’ was brilliant- fair, communicative and a forward. A hooker with an obvious nick name- he was red hot on high tackles and hands in the ruck and we gave away about 8 penalties to 3. In a tighter game in our half of the pitch this could have been disastrous. Also a couple of off sides from over eager backs which we will work on when training next.

High fives:

11, 14, 15 Luke, Reece, Oli, JBA,  solid and reliable in defence with some great running.

9. Sam was asked to make 2 or 3 runs, he chose to take 3 corkers, got on the score board and passed beautifully. He also seemed to get his leg four deep into the rucks to retrieve ball – brilliant. Extra pocket money for you dude!

10-13, Robbie, Jazer, Quady and the Hitman bossed the the game. Nice hands.

1,2,3 – Mahendra, TT and Naylor – once again out-sized.  It mattered not.  Several scrums stolen.  All our own ball kept.  Great runs in the loose by all.

4,5,8 – Mags, Alex, Tommy B and Jack – so good was their defence, it led to Teddington moving ball away from their bigger forwards.  Timely offloads in attack.

6,7 – Andrew and Charlie – these backs make great forwards!  What they lack in size they more than make up for in support play and technique.

Player of the Year is turning into a hell of a competition.

Ealing Match Report – 9/12

U13 B team 81 – 0 Earling B team at Woollams

Before kick-off the signs were not good for the mighty Bs in the changing room. Jazer was there…with his shoulder in a sling.  Sean turned up clutching his ribs.  School rugby sucks!

As we ventured into the bitterly cold wind, shoulders were hunched and hands were in pockets. The warm-up that followed was subdued with several players looking like they’d just got out of bed.

What followed was a bit of a surprise-then!

From the whistle OAs simply overwhelmed Ealing with a magnificent display of off-loading rugby. Within a couple of minutes the ball had found its way to Reece on the wing.  He rounded his opposite number but was stopped just short of the line by the cover. In come the forwards, with Powdrell picking up and being shoved over the line by his support.  Wind in face there was no danger of Robbie converting from out there.

Robbie makes a break

The next score came shortly afterwards.  JBA starting it with a great run from deep.  The ball swiftly moved through the hands of Deano and Mags to find Jack.  The big fella has a fair turn of pace and left the defence for dead to score under the posts.  Charlie converted.  OAs were then awarded their first line-out in 3 games- a remarkable fact in itself.  Finally, an opportunity to try the 2 man line.  The result was a resounding success with Powdrell galloping in from 40 metres to finish with a swan dive.  Though coming second in the loose exchanges, Ealing were strong in the scrum.  Naylor, Tom and Mahendra did very well to hold their own there.

Sean came on to make his OA debut and ran riot with ball in hand.  The crowd were surprised to see some would be tacklers get up after a particularly forceful run.

It was open season for runners-  the back row were everywhere and Jack was having  great game with ball in hand.  Alex scored again (following an remarkable 30 metre drive by Mags and Sean) and Sam Austen was rewarded for an excellent game with a score under the posts.  Reece then finished off a move that started on the other wing- it would have been unusual for him to go through a game without scoring.  Several hands moved the ball simply but effectively-  there was some unspectacular but vital work done by Andrew Kelly and Andrew Oliver throughout the game to find space for runners.  Charlie used the wind beautifully to curl that conversion in.  To finish the half off there was another move through the hands before Sean released Charlie with a well-timed pass to dummy out and step in for a score.  Robbie’s conversion hit the post.  41-0 at half time.

The coaches urged calm at half time and made several changes.  The result was a pretty patchy start to the second half.  Lots of dropped ball.  Lots of going alone and ignoring over-laps.

The ranks had a nasty dose of white-line fever.  It took another try from Reece to calm things down.  After that they set about playing the patterns, the best example of which was a penalty thundered up by the impressive Mahendra, the ball was recycled and passed to Sean to smash over.  That proved to be too much for his sore ribs and off he came- an impressive start to his OAs career.

Tom with the ball

The scoring continued.  Luke scored out wide- also finishing with a swan dive.  From a 22m restart Mahendra and Magnus got the ball to Tom Barrett, who cut in beautifully to score under the posts.  Having set up so many of his team-mates, Magnus finally scored himself.  Driven over from 5 metres by his support.

The final try was a magical run from Wagbo-  catching the restart he set off from his own 22 metre line.  He ran wide to skirt the forwards. As he ran out of pitch, he cut back in field and his lengthy stride took him clear to score under the posts.  Robbie converted to make it 4 each for him and Charlie on the day.  Not a bad return in wind that barely let the ball stand up on the tee.  81-0 the final score.

It’s hard to be critical after a victory, but I think the boys will know they wasted a few chances.  The conditions certainly led to some dropped passes, which is understandable.  The desire to personally get on the score-sheet which murdered a few over-laps is less forgivable.  Ealing are to be commended- several teams of lesser spirit would have given up earlier in the day.  They did not, and a particularly good tackle to deny Deano a try in the 75th minute proved their resolve.  I would be proud if we reacted in the same way under the circumstances.

 

Saracens Match Report – 25/11

Saracen B team 0 – 51 U13 B team at Bramley Road

A quick inspection of the pitch originally allocated left us in no doubt it was unsuitable.  The boys would have had difficulty choosing whether to ruck or swim breast stroke on it.  We therefore had to wait for Saracens’ A team to thrash Harpenden before following them onto the first team pitch .  The thing about first team pitches is that they’re generally quite big.  Reecey Boy and Lambo eyed the wide expanses and licked their lips.  Mahendra, Naylor and Topping looked a little less enthused.

Deano makes a break

The opening 10 minutes were all spent in the Saracens half, but it proved difficult to string phases together due to slack rucking and lenient reffing of the breakdown.  The crowd was tense- a try was needed to settle the nerves.  It came on 12 minutes in the form of the galloping Powdrell- a fine solo effort having stolen their lineout.  Despite the wind Ringland converted neatly.  It took another 8 minutes of pressing before Reece sped in down the left- a little too wide for Charlie to convert this time.  Now the confidence of the OAs was up.  Despite being greatly out-sized James, Tommy and Mahendra did sterling work in the scrums all day, and now the rucking was coming good.  Jack was winning a lot of their lineout ball as well.  Bizzarely this would be the second game in a row where the OAs did not get to throw into their own lineout.

Just before half time the rush defence paid dividends with Sam “Wagbo” Wilbraham intercepting a pass and trotting in under the posts.  Ringland converted.  19-0 and Saracens’ spirit was broken.  There wasn’t much the OA coaches could suggest at half-time.  A case of keep up the good work.

The second half was an exhibition of attacking rugby.  Statistics do not lie, and Charlie at fly-half did not kick once from hand during the game.  Instead, when under pressure in his own 22, he called an attacking move.  Swiftly through the hands of Jarman and on the loop he released Reece a good 70 metres out.  Just far enough to lose all tracking defenders and score out wide.  Too wide to convert.  This enthused the forwards to get involved.  Kelly, Dean and especially Barrett came raining down on the Saracens. They tired of tackling and Powdrell ran in another lengthy effort which was converted just before he left the pitch for the day-  job done.

Sam on a run

The next try was your author’s favourite.  Saracens won a penalty on the half way and sent their biggest forward hurtling towards the OAs defence.  Jack the Axe chopped him in half and Magnus jackled the ball away- a good old Verulam School one-two.  He shipped it to Alex, who bounced off a few Sarries before moving the ball wide through Luke and JBA’s hands for Reece to finish off his hat-trick.  Converted.  38-0.  There was time for a try by Ollie after a quick tap penalty from the sharp looking Magnus (converted) and another masterpiece by Reece which started on the left and finished way over on the right wing for a bit of variety (unconverted).  Final score 50-0.

It’s easy to forget how nervy the first 10 minutes of this game were.  This OAs team will often be outsized by their opponents, but they will seldom be out-tackled.  That’s two consecutive nils against.  What’s also developing nicely is their attacking sense.  Sam Austen at scrum half figured out pretty quickly that the ball needed to move away from their big forwards.  From that accurate supply the backs had a field day.  Were it not for a few dropped passes the score could have been a lot more.  All the forwards carried the ball well and the support was always there on their shoulder.

Bring on Ealing at Woollams on the 9th of December!

 

Amersham & Chiltern Match Report – 18/11

The mighty Bs faced Amersham on a perfect autumn’s day at Woollams.  They performed magnificently- scoring a resounding 52-0 victory.  That’s 8 glorious tries, 6 converted.

They lined up like this:

1)         Naylor-  James’ boundless enthusiasm is infectious.  His power in the scrum and ball-carrying today was impressive.  Kindly let Mahendra use his neck as a stepping stone for his try.

2)         Topping- Tommy is settling into the hooker role nicely.  Today he stole two against the head and kept our ball despite coming under heavy pressure at times.

3)         Leonard- One of Mahendra’s best games.  Had three or four mega-rumbles, one of which gained half the field.  When he got the ball 5 metres out, no one was going to stop him scoring.

4)         Shepherd- Superb support gave him a try.  He’s always there on the shoulder.  “Jack the Axe” once again missed no tackles.

5)         Powdrell- What a performance.  Alex covered more ground than anyone, and found his support well.  Pleasing to see was his much improved defensive work too.  Fully deserved his try.

6)         Kelly- First time at flanker, and on this performance it won’t be Andrew’s last.  Tackled solidly, jackled well.  Part of a highly effective back row.

7)         Dean- Adam’s most switched on performance of the season, reminding us what a great player he is.  Ran and distributed like a centre.  Tackled like a tank.

8)         Morgan- The smartest player we’ve got.  Magnus links play well and supports others very effectively.  Leads by example.

9)         Austen- His pass never failed to hit the target and was vital to unleashing our hot backs.  Sam’s growing in stature this season.

Scoring another try

10)       Ringland-  There was a delightful step, jackling and timely passes.  Charlie’s part in the miserly defensive line was his biggest role though.

11)       ONeill-  Reece had to retire early due to a knock on the head.  No wonder really.  He’d put his body on the line to win possession so many times.  Put his speed to good use in attack too.

12)       Jarman-  Amersham’s inside centre will see James hurtling towards him in his sleep tonight.  He was brutal in defence.  Showed slick hands to get the ball out wide many a time.

13)       Cavanna-  Luke was rewarded for his great support work with a late try.  Didn’t put a foot wrong all day and was part of a defensive wall that didn’t give.

14)       Pasinawako- Felt like apologising to the Amersham coach about Munya.  It feels a bit rude having his speed in the Bs.  Four tries today.  Still, his most impressive piece of work was an astonishing burst of speed to stop a certain try in the first half.

15)       Burgess-Adams-  James didn’t get any ball kicked to him today.  Instead he got to show us what a useful addition he is coming into the line.  There was his usual solid defensive work to admire too.

16)       Richards-  Like a lot of his team-mates, one of Robbie’s better games.  Made breaks and fed the line well.  It’s his defence that will make or break performances though, and today he fancied it.  A lot of that comes from the confidence of the back line as a unit.

 

Tring Match Report – 14/10

OA 13B 33 v 10 Tring U13B

A perfect morning for rugby at Woollams saw the visit of Tring’s U13B side.
OA’s mighty Bs came with a compact squad.  The warm-up went well, with intensity building from hands through moves to a tight rucking game.
Tring’s warm-up was obviously more impressive as the referee informed us that they looked useful and he would stop the game at a 45 point advantage!

OA B v Tring B

We started with Swift and Leonard propping, Topping at hooker,  Sheperd and Naylor were at lock followed by a feisty looking back row of Barrett, Dean and Morgan.  Half-backs were the familiar pairing of Austen and Richards.  Jarman and Cavanna made up the centres with Kelly, ONeill  and BA forming the back three.  On the bench, Pasinawako made his welcome return from injury and was joined by Oliver and McKinnon (fresh from an hour’s training with the Cs).

The toss went well with Tring receiving the OAs kick facing the autumn sun.  The kick landed right on the ten, and a period of OAs pressure began.  It became apparent that the yellow and blacks had the upper hand in the rucks, but their backs could not get out of their half due to terrific defensive pressure from the OA line.  3 weeks of defensive drills were paying dividends.  Whenever OAs got the ball they looked dangerous.  Mahendra was sealing possession well at the breakdown, and enjoying a few rumbles of his own.  Sam’s pass was accurate, and the hands were crisp down the line.  This eventually bore fruit with Reece crossing on the right.  The conversion was evidently at the edge of Robbie’s reach as he bounced it in off the cross-bar (7-0).  Tring replied through their most potent weapon-  bullocking runs from forwards.  Their size eventually told as they scored an uncoverted try (7-5).   The back 3 had their work cut out-  BA returning a multitude of kicks with pace and guile.  Reece and Andrew Kelly tackled their hearts out-  there’s no lack of technique or desire in those two.

Midway through the half Munya was brought into the action and scored pretty quickly down the left side.  Pure speed is hard to beat.  Robbie converted from under the posts (14-5).
With Kaj helping the As, our scrum was unfamiliar and struggled against the bigger Tring pack.  Despite this we seldom lost our ball (though it was sloppy at times) and Tom even stole a couple of their put-ins.  In the last few plays of the half, this forward power hurt us.  The first few attacks were thwarted by some excellent tackling from Mags and Sam right on our line.  Eventually their 8 picked up and drove over from a 5m scrum.  The conversion was missed (14-10).

At half time we spoke about using our strengths-  get the ball wide to use Munya’s pace and get Matt to punch holes through the centre.  We brought Joel on to rest some tired forward legs.  Eagerness to get the ball wide led to wayward passing to start the half, and the pressure was back on.  It was at this point that the victory was truly earned.  The defence held strong with some sturdy tackling from all concerned- especially Jack the Axe and Deano.  Joel did really well to turn over possession a few times.

Jack in the Lineout

We weathered the storm then cut loose through two trained moves off a scrum that set Munya free.  Pure coincidence that the move called Lambo releases the U13 rugby equivalent of the Gallardo down the wing.  Both were really well executed by Sam and Mags.  The first was from close range on the touchline-  too far to convert (19-10).  The second was from distance and converted under the posts (26-10).  We were clear.

By now Tommy Barrett was rampant down the blindside-  making hard yards to convert defence into attack.  Naylor was back on, refreshed, and using his physicality to good effect on the flank.  Andrew Oliver was also on and showing us why noone at Beaumont tries to run through him in training.  Matty Swift was doing the most damage though- hammering their midfield time and again.  He eventually broke through but risked expulsion from the front row union by galloping in from the halfway to score, converted, under the posts (33-10).

There were a lot of very eye-catching performances on the day-  particularly Munya and Swifty.  Keeping hold of those boys in the transfer window could be hard.  I think the victory is down in no small part to the unseen work in midfield by Jazer and Luke though.  They made their tackles when they were asked to, but the number of times they pressurised Tring into dropping the ball was far more telling.  Also telling was the fact that Tring were held up over our line twice during the game.  That’s great commitment.

Well done lads!

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