The season so far across the has been very positive and we have seen some really good competitive games. Across the age groups there have been multiple enhanced coaching sessions including coaching for the coaches, technical game areas and age group specific focus sessions. These have been well received and have been great steps forward largely due to the effort Eddie Panting has been putting in, in his youth development role. Eddie has also teamed up with Garth Hatherly-Hurford, the first team attack coach and RFU coach; having Garth run session has been a wonderful addition to our junior coaching set up. The efforts of Eddie and Garth have been greatly appreciated and is just one example of interaction between the Senior and Junior sections of the club.
We are very pleased to say OAs are hosting the Junior County Cup final on the 23rd April. The event has been superbly organized by a team of seasoned coaches and a few fantastic supporters. A very big thank you Steve Pope for leading the organization and for the great support given by Mike Fisher and James Hathaway. Thank you all!
We have a number of Junior teams competing in the final, so please come and join us in on the day to support our teams.
Juniors a few highlights in the season so far by age group:
Junior Saints squads (Female Juniors)
The junior Saints are fortunate enough to be enjoying another successful season and across the age groups have developed well throughout the season and are progressing well within their leagues.
The U12s are growing with confidence and playing good open rugby, winning more than not.
U14 & U16s
The U14 & 16s are at the top of their Buckinghamshire & Hertfordshire League Pools and are very excited playing in the final on the 16thApril.
The U18s have had a great season so far and have won their Hampshire/Oxfordshire/Berkshire League and have progressed to the National Cup quarter final
U16’s had 9 players represent Herts County DPP, U18’s had 11 represent Herts U18 County and 2 East Midlands u18 county, 7 in the Saracens centre of excellence (CoE), 1 in the Loughborough CoE and 1 in the Sale CoE. We are very excited to announce Amelia MacDougall has been selected to represent England in the U18 squad for their upcoming 6 Nations next month. ex 2019 Jnr Saints Captain Kelsey Clifford has been included in the England womens Roses squad for their upcoming 6 Nations.
Male Juniors squads
The Colts have had a mixed season with a 2nd Round exit from the National Cup and struggling to field two sides on the same week due to numbers, but the standard of rugby has been almighty.
The A team are eyeing up the league title, which they currently lead, following monumental wins over Ampthill and Bishops Stortford away. A top of the table clash beckons on 26th March vs Hertford will be the championship decider.
Player development has remained paramount and a number of boys have run out for the senior sides, a handful becoming regulars in the 2XV and the Grizzlies, which has added to their game. This will be something the coaches are to maintain in future Colts sides, linking the juniors to the seniors.
U16s are pleased to still be running an A and B squad with good strength in depth and have recruited 3 new players for the second half of the season
Like all age groups the weather before Christmas has meant a congested second half to the season
The A team narrowly lost their County Cup quarterfinal to Fullerians, the B team had a bye in the quarterfinal and won their semi-final away at Hemel. A reverse result from the same fixture last season. The team now look forward to a final at Woollams on 23rd April
Due to the league schedule and lost games due to weather the A team have only played one league game in Division 1 losing narrowly by 3 points to Hertford. 5 leagues are to be played over the next few weeks
The B team currently lie mid table in Division 4, having played 3 and won 2 but have games in hand on the teams above them. The team is targeting a top 3 finish which would be a great achievement having been promoted after winning Division 5 last season.
The U15’s have a playing squad of 55 with at least 5 new joiners. This allows us to field two strong and competitive sides each week with midweek training is consistently north of 25 players.
The A team is undefeated in the league and joint top with two games to go and a cup final to look forward to whilst the B team have grown exponentially and closed the gap on all 1st team clubs they play in their league finishing 3rd and making the semi-final of the plate. Our B team is the highest ranked B team in Hertfordshire, competing with a lot of other club’s A teams. One player continues his journey through Wales Exiles, playing one year up!
The U14B side beat Bishop’s Stortford B in the semi-final of the County Cup Shield, winning a physical and eventful encounter 49 points to 20. They will meet either Letchworth or Hitchin B in the final at Woollams.
And are looking forward to an exciting tour to the South of France in April, playing host side Vignes de Thau and neighbours Montpellier.
This our first season playing in the leagues and as well as the players having more set positions. Which has been exciting as well as being a good learning curve for both the payers and the coaches. We’ve had new players join us and they have quickly settled into the squad
The two teams have played well and have certainly won more than we’ve lost, and have played some good teams. The players are starting recognise how to play in areas of the field as well as in various situations, which is a really positive step forwards.
Some of the key focus areas we continue to develop our fast rucking game, decent distribution of the ball and the skills needed to achieve that.
The most rewarding achievement so far this season is seeing the players really come together to support one another and also enjoy the overall experience of junior rugby.