Herts Middx League
Under 18 As
A very wet Sunday morning saw OA’s Colts make their way up to Hertford for their first League outing of the season. With numerous unavailabilities, through illness, injury and College commitments this morning presented a fantastic opportunity for a number of players to come up from the B team and play a really significant role in a full on Division 1 league game.
Due to wet weather we spent more time in the changing room than normal, which gave Dave the phizz a chance to strap ankles, KT tape and keep the wounded walking. Many thanks to him for coming down and helping.
Sir checked studs in changing room and we are out for a condensed 40 Min match prep. Into warm up with Hayden. Team runs and pads, all fast; intensity rising. With the rain coming down, we have the slope end, always difficult to work your way out of; wind/rain/slope all against us, we knew we had a tough half ahead of us.
Before we left the changing rooms we talked about the nonnegotiable parts of our game: physicality, especially in opening exchanges and flexibility to best cope with the conditions.
The opening exchanges were indeed physical with both sides putting in some very firm tackles, no quarter given or expected. Some good rangy kicking from the Hertford 15 pushed OA’s deep into their 22. This is the position we knew would be difficult for us to get out of but credit to OA’s we always worked our way out of this position very effectively, JJ Jarvis’s positional kicking was of the highest order, rangy accurate and difficult to field. We started picking up knock-ons and gaining good field position. As we started to build pressure Olly on a barracking carry, off loads to Jac, but is tackled as he passes. Jac takes ball into contact we are awarded a penalty at the ruck, but Olly remains on the floor. As a precaution he is taken off and plays no further part in the game. A tough way to end a morning’s rugby. JJ lines up the ball from just shy of the halfway line. He gives the ball a mighty thump, he is only denied by the upright. We now pressurise with vigor, Hertford try to clear their lines Jude charges down the kick but we knock on, at the ensuing Hertford scrum the ball squirts out and Miles pounces. Try. JJ Converts and we are 7-0 to the good.
We are now generating good momentum, but a mixture of good defense by Hertford and our lack of support for the ball carrier means we are unable to convert any of our good pressure into points before half time.
Second half and have the best of the elements, we know we can kick deep into the far corners and now Hertford will have to play out. In this division with teams that have played each other since childhood there is never an easy game and Hertford’s defense was strong and determined. Pressure eventually told and JJ lined up an other penalty, 10-0 to OA’s.
Frustration got the better of the Hertford full back who was shown a red card for stamping. With the Hertford Captain off the pitch, OA’s gained momentum. Firstly another penalty from JJ. Then the highlight of the game, a great break from Max, off load to DC, Marc B in the mix, off load to Jed, last pass just doesn’t make it, but great endeavor that could easily resulted in a try.
A final try wasn’t far off, good OA’s pressure resulted in a hack on, was that you Martin Sexton? And a chaise to the line, won by Jaidan who touched down for a try, converted by JJ 20-0 to OA’s.
As starting League games go, this was a good start. As Ash rightly said, for all the years you have played very competitive games against Hertford it was a great way to end league games against them. But beware the cup, they might well be back!
Throughout the squad you could identify good performances. Hayden always committed, running the warm up, and moving position to accommodate Wilson, who played nearly the whole game, good work! Bam, we are now winning our line out and taking some of the oppo’s. In many ways down to you. Second rows Lofty and Jac, great carries great defense, uncompromising.
Back row all, on their game, Miles, Sol, Jed. Great work. Olly strong until forced off. Half backs, Jude and JJ, good game management, box and wiper all working well.
Good distribution. Centers Max, always breaking and looking sharp, always thought one of your breaks would result in a try, it will come. DC, simply a massive shift. Asked to play out of position, tackles, breaks and support, finishes off the game back at prop. Back 3: Marc, looking more confident with every game. Tom, very solid display on the wing, good defense. Jaidan, safe and composed under the high ball, kick returns good, and a try in first full game for the A’s, good lad. What was most pleasing was the way the bench committed fully to the game and acquitted themselves well. Joe Pate, James Newby-Ritchie, Martin Sexton all stepped up when called upon.
If I had one work on: Lets concentrate on supporting the ball carrier. Too many times we let him get isolated. Yes they had a lad who was very strong over the ball but too many times we lost momentum or gave away a penalty at breakdown. We can work on this Thursday.
U18b/U17 had a very productive training game, lots of good work at the breakdown and great interaction between the lads, well done.
See you at training Thursday night 7-8.30 and Sunday 30th September 10am-12pm
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