Herts Middx League
Under 13 A
Man of the match:
The visitors from Teddington were welcomed by dry and calm conditions for the first game of the season in division 1 of the Herts and Middlesex league.
The pacey OA backs were keen to get their hands on the ball but some fine early distribution was thwarted by good work in the contact area by Teddington. It didn’t take too long for Freddie Ford to be put into space on the right and he raced over in the corner for the opening try.
The scrum proved problematic for OA. Each of the front row resorted to changing position in a bid to confuse the opposition. Teddington had clearly done their homework in this area and had good technique.
The oppressive defence of OA and good ball retention meant that the tries did start to come. Seb, a catalyst for much of the aggressive defence and turnover ball, scored twice before half time, his second a delightful chip and chase after some rapid footwork from Charlie. Seb’s second was punctuated by a well worked try by Ossie; following good work by the roving wing, and match day captain, Max Lach. Swift passing led to a second try for the flying Freddie Ford. That made the score 5 tries to nil at half time.
The second half saw OA continue to pressure their opponents with their hard pressing defence. A gliding run from Max Lach, beating numerous defenders, led to a fine individual score from near half way. OA now started to be more competitive at scrum time. A solid scrum, followed by some simple, but effective passing down the line, opened up some space for Freddie Ford. He flew down the wing for the team’s sixth try and Freddie’s hat-trick. A day to remember for Freddie, but only made possible by the graft of the tight forwards and the craft of the half backs, who really did control the game impressively.
A great OA training ground move from a penalty saw the ball move across the line before Ossie cut a line through the visitors defence and across the whitewash. This moved the score on to 7-0.
Teddington, with their fine rugby traditions were not going to take this lying down. They fought back manfully and started applying real pressure in the OA half. A series of penalties followed before one of their wingers broke through the defence showing good strength and pace to score. Score 7-1. Fred Hunter then put his mark on the game with some direct running and a nicely taken try. Score 8-1. Teddington were not done, and deservedly scored 2 further tries through their winger and their hard running full back to give a final score of 8-3 to OA.
Although the OA backs dominated the scoring, the OA forwards, many of whom were playing out of position, put in a strong shift. There is no lack of commitment and none of them are prepared to take a backward step. Their tackling and contact area stats would make impressive reading. As we say in Wales, they have got some “dog”. They will need to continue to exhibit this through the season.
There were many candidates for Man of the Match, but it was justly awarded to Seb for a fine all-round display. Fingers crossed that the unfortunate injury picked up towards the end of the game repairs quickly.
Overall an impressive start to league rugby under favourable conditions, but there will be stern tests over the coming months. It was also great to see so many of the visiting team in the bar for lunch after the game.
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There are no previous fixtures between these teams.