U13s Tour report
By Adam Faherty
Successful first youth tour for the team
This weekend marked our first Youth tour, and as part of this event, we had arranged a game at Sudbury. The boys were feeling a little bit jaded after the usual first night tour festivities, and as for the parents, it is probably fair to say that shares in Anadin rose sharply in the morning!
After an interesting route, we arrived at the impressive Sudbury ground and all credit to the boys for sensing that the coaches were a little delicate took it upon themselves to organise their own warm ups and drills. Thanks also to Kai and Noah’s parents for making the long journey up to allow their boys to participate in the game.
Rochford kicked off in blustery conditions but were soon on the defensive as Sudbury made an impressive start and only several well timed tackles from Ben, Max, Kai and Barney prevented an early score. At one point when Kieran kicked the clear the lines he only succeeded in clearing a space between Bananaman ( aka Steve) and Claire!
Just as Rochford were starting to get a foothold into the game after some good drives from Connor, Oakley, Harri and George, Sudbury moved the ball well across the pitch and broke through to take the lead. It has been arranged before the start that the time would kick conversion, but these wouldn’t count.
The first attempt failed as the first Sudbury kicker had the ball placed on the sidelines, and due to the conditions even Owen Farrell or Elliot Daly would have struggled to make. Rochford pressed for an equalizer but were unable to find a breakthrough before the first break.
In the second period, Sudbury continued to press and despite some fierce tackles notably from Ethan, extended their lead through a smart pick and go from a ruck close to the Rochford line, though were again unable to convert. However, Rochford managed to strike back straight away after a good catch and run from Christian, passed to Luca who showing no signs of his recent injury burst through to score with the ( much easier) conversion slotted over confidently by Kieran. Soon after there was a wonderful piece of Rugby by Rochford, with the ball moving through several pairs of hands across the pitch to Jack to score from the wing to level the scores, with the subsequent conversion popped over by Max. The game swung from end to end with Oakley, Luke C and Freddie made some good runs but neither side could take a lead into the second break.
At this point the excellent Sudbury coach/ref had to leave, much to his disappointment as the game was a great example of U13 Rugby, however, Russ took up the mantle with aplomb although he caused some confusion as he was wearing his tour shirt and nearly took a pass from Christian and a tackle from Sudbury! Sudbury soon struck again to take the lead though again were unable to convert but Rochford replied through Max powering through with Kieran making the conversion. The forward line of Connor, George, Barney, Oakley and Luke C kept putting in some great tackles to keep the score at 15-15, until the Sudbury full back broke through to score and this time it was successfully converted. Rochford kept looking for an opening and with the last play of the game, Max broke through to level the score at 20-20, Luke C took the conversion without waiting for the tee, ( probably because he was getting hungry) and just failed to make it 4 out of 4 for Rochford.
The match was a great advert for youth rugby between two well matched sides and was played in a great spirit and our thanks go out to Sudbury for hosting us and putting out a strong side when they had another game scheduled for the following day. After the match the team tucked into an excellent lunch of lasagne, salad and garlic bread ( though there wasn’t much of this left after Sam got to it!!)
Huge thanks also go to Lydia, Russ, Rob and Andy for arranging what was an excellent and incredibly fun tour, though I am prohibited from sharing further details as ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’, though am sure that details will be shared over a pint at the club.
Final Score Sudbury 20 – Rochford 20
Tries : Luca, Jack, Max (2)
Conversions : Kieran (2), Max – however, these as noted were not counted