17th November 2016
Thanks to Mr Green for this report from the recent Rugby Festival at Winchester House.
It was a cold, wet and miserable November lunchtime as we arrived at the Winchester House Rugby festival. The Under 9A team boys were an unknown quantity to me having not worked with them on the Rugby field before and I really did not know what to expect. Within the first few seconds of the opening match against Moulsford, BG lost possession and the opposition simply ran the ball back and scored. This happened another six times throughout the game – things were looking pretty grim, although John M began to show his strength on the ball.
In the next encounter, BG were up against The Croft. Trailing by two tries, BG progressed into the opposition’s half. Then, into the 22 towards the try line – things were looking up as BG looked like they might score. The referee awarded a penalty try as The Croft were persistently offside but the Croft scored another two tries to make it a four-to-one defeat. The boys were losing possession too quickly, not tackling and did not hold any shape in attack and defence.
The third match was against Beachborough – who generally are a well drilled set-up. We worked on the defensive ‘wall’ whilst waiting for our next fixture and, with some ‘psyching up’ before we started, the boys entered the arena with a more adrenalin fuelled mind set and this paid off. There were some big tackles being put in from Fergus and Willoughby. Nithin held on to a player for dear life to stop him scoring a certain try and Henry M was beginning to find his feet in attack. The end result was two tries each. Things were looking up – had we peaked?
The next match was against the mighty Dragon A team. Traditionally, these have always been a giant, impenetrable thorn in our side – this was going to be tough! However, the ‘St George and the Dragon’ pep talk, and a new found confidence from the previous match, saw the BG team really pull together. They smashed their opponents to the ground and ran with much greater purpose than ever before. It was close. It was tense. It was real, nail-biting stuff. However, BG stuck to their task and beat their opponents two tries to one. Wow, what a performance! Calvin really raised his game for this one, as did Harry B and Zak, as they showed their worth in attack.
There was a bit of a break before our penultimate match – would the boys impetus wane? We were up against the hosts, Winchester House. Once again, the BG squad played out of their skins and this was by far their toughest game. Every player gave it their all and there literally was blood, sweat and tears in this bout. Unfortunately, BG came off second best – losing two tries to one.
The final round was against a depleted Swanbourne B team. Due to injury, they were down to six players. In the spirit off the game, we adjusted our team to match their numbers. However, would playing six-a-side upset BG’s progress? The boys answer to this was a definite NO! Each and every player dug deep – using every single ounce of energy to contest everything. It was a super final match and BG came out victorious; winning two tries to one.
Although every boy worked hard and improved as the matches were played, there were two players who really stood out. Fergus was the first – he put his body on the line every time he tackled. However, our man of steel was Willoughby. He played fifty seven of the sixty minutes of Rugby with passion, heart and sheer determination. The referee commented on his work rate and he scored some well-deserved tries.
It sounds clichéd, but the real winner this afternoon was sport. Winchester House were fantastic hosts and, despite the weather, it was brilliant to see so many young boys enjoying some really competitive matches. Furthermore, it is always pleasing to receive the positive support of our parents. Thank you to all involved and well done, boys!