Unfortunately the weather didn't quite deliver what was promised but I think the rugby more than made up for it.
The U10's travelled to Redditch for their Festival (along with the U7's and U8's), for what turned out to be an entertaining and enthralling series of encounters against Redditch, Kings Norton, Woodrush and Old Eds.
It was good to see almost a full team out following weeks of bad weather and school holidays. Seems a lot of excess energy needed to be expended.
Our team this week consisted of;
Dan Hayes, Oliver Dickson, Josh Hull, Ethan Hart, Oliver Lonie, Jake Lowe, Josh Tallis and the welcome return of Toby Good. Toby came off second best after a session of extreme BMXing.
Special thanks must also go to our honary Old Yardleians who helped make up the magic 9. These were Jacob and Liam from Old Eds (how they manage to get a squad of 15, I'll never know), Louis +1 from Kings Norton and Squirt from Redditch.
With 5 teams playing we ended up with four games of 8 minutes per half, although at times it seamed that not a lot of attention was being paid to the clock.
Our first game was against Woodrush. We have enjoyed a number of close games against them but have managed to come out on top in our recent games. It was a good start to our Festival with an 8 tries to 2 win for Old Yards. Not having played together as a team for some time, it was a good game to start the day. Our scrum was dominant with Ollie Lonie, Dan and Ethan combining well to win most of the oppositions put in as well as our own. We tackled well and obviously ran well with most of the team participating in the scoring.
Our second game against Kings Norton was always going to be a very different matter. They are a very physical team and you could see the impact of that in our team at half time and at the end of the game. The boys had to do a lot of tackling and put a lot of work into the rucks and mauls which were noticiably more intense. The boys took it in their stride and went about their work and only just went down by 3 tries to 1 in what was a tense battle between two good teams.
Redditch were our next opponents and the return of the largest 10 year old we have ever seen. He was certainly a test for our tackling and it took a few collisions leaving the tackler sprawled out on the ground before the boys started to go for the legs. Well done to Ethan for pulling off a number of great front on tackles on him which showed the way for the rest of the team. The boys also combined well to save a certain try after a prolonged Redditch attack on the Old Y's try line. Great deterrmination. Lots of good mauling and again young Jake proved that strength and technique will almost always win over size. He even came close to winning in a one on one contest for the ball with the giant Redditch player. Josh Hull put his body on the line a number of times and at the end of the day learnt a very important lesson in not leading with your head. Both Josh's made some great runs in all games and were rewarded with tries. Redditch were leading 2 tries to 1 going into the last 2 minutes and it looked as if we were going to score after a number of attacking phases close to their line. Unfortunately a turnover in the very last play of the game saw a breakaway try against the run of play resulting in a 3 tries to 1 win for Redditch. The boys were naturally very dissapointed after this game as they had stuck with it right to the end and had the belief that they would score and tie the game. A fantastic effort on our part and it was great to see the determination right to the end.
The final game saw us take on our local rivals Old Eds. The last time we played them we scored 15 tries. Thanks to Liam from Ed's who backed up for his second game and he seemed to really enjoy his time playing in the scrum against his own team. The game proved considerably tighter than the last time we met and we did put together some good passages on play passing well in attack and tackling with enthusiasm. Toby played one of his best games and used his strength in running with the ball but more importantly in his contribution in the mauls. Again our scrums were very dominat with Ollie Lonie, Ethan and honarary Old Y, Liam timing their push just right with the put in to win most of the scrums. A good end to the day with a 4 tries to 0 win. Unfortunately we needed Redditch to beat Kings Norton in order for Old Y's to play in the final. This didn't happen so that was the end of the road for boys for the day.
Redditch played Kings Norton in the final which I was asked to referee and predictably, a strong Kings Norton team ran out winners by 4 tries to 1.
All in all a great day of rugby played by the whole team with everyone contributing. Ollie Dickson scored some great running tries and threw himself into tackles and even managed to get straight back up after an attempted tackle which didn't quite work the way he had intended. Dan also did well again with a good alround performance showing great intelligence with the highlight being a well timed final pass resulting in an Old Y's try.
A very pleasing day from my perspective and irrespective of the fact that we didn't make the final, a great series of performances against 4 different teams having different styles of play. We have previously beaten Redditch and we are more than capable of beating Kings Norton. I think it is more than apparent that the boys are starting to play for each other and are turning into a team rather than a group of individuals.
Thanks to the boys for their efforts and of course the very loyal band of parents supporting the team.
Training this week (unless things change before Sunday) so let consolidate on a strong performance.