Evenly match teams - good game
By John McGuinness
A lot of firsts, real progression from training and a good if close home win
First off, a huge thank you to parents, again. You got the lads out of bed (a challenging task on its own), and with the help of our excellent team managers you setup the pitch, did poo patrol (yeuch!), cheered and supported from the sidelines, and as always provided an amazing spread of food and drinks for our visitors and our lads. It is great as a rugby team, coaching team and a club to get such amazing support and we really appreciate it. Thank You!!!
- We had our first 15-a-side game
- Our first game with an 8 man scrum
- We had out first game with 5 subs
- We had another 2 successful rugby debutants, Harry A & Amir
- We had a team who are starting to show confidence in the strategy and patterns of play
- Tobi arrived on time ready to play
The lads have worked hard in training, and as in every game so far, it is showing on the pitch.
- The back line was very successful in running the ball, with better accuracy and pace
- There were some great line breaks from the backs as well, showing some great heads up ability, turning the oppo. on more than one occassion
- The forwards' scrummaging is getting stronger with each game, and with the smaller pack in the game I felt that Hampstead probably edged the scrummaging battle overall
- The forwards did some excellent hard yard work direct from the training pitch, taking one-up crash balls successfully, supporting and clearing out well and making the opposition work hard
- Rucking across the whole team was really good
- There was some excellent Jackal work with some good steals before a ruck was formed
- Our defence and tackles are improving by leaps and bounds with each game
The first half was a real mid-field battle, with both teams playing some good rugby, tackling well. Hertford had the wind and kick-off and were a well drilled team who executed skilfully, especially with their back line passing, at times finding space out on our wings. Only one try in the first half, by Hertford. A Hampstead lineout 10 metres from their try line and Hampstead decided to attempt to run an exit. Hertford saw the opportunity and intercepted a pass a metre out and dabbed down for a try near the posts, with the successful conversion completing the half.
At half time the lads were understandably a little down on themselves, so the half time chat reminded them of a few key points. The score was from a mistake by us and good opportunity taking from the oppo, not from any particular thing the oppo did. The half was 25-30 minutes of good solid rugby by both teams, and there is another half to come. Move on decide how they want to attack the second half. Half-time oranges work some wonders.
The lads took this on board, and with the fresh orange juice coursing through their veins, started the second half with gusto, putting significant pressure on Hertford in their half. Some good hard direct runs, some good backline passing and running always making the oppo. have to guess where we're coming from next. After pressure in the oppo. 22, Hampstead coughed up a turnover and Hertford kicked just beyond their 22. Ball was picked up by Hampstead full-back (Aurellien) who ran and passed right to the winger (Toby), who did a hard charge through some defenders to score. After running hard all game and doing some excellent carrying, the next 2 tries came in quick succession from the second rower (Harry C). Hampstead putting on too much pressure, Harry breaks through the line after phases and scores two tries under the posts.
Hertford hadn't given up, and on the last play of the game Hampstead struggled with an exit again from a line-out. Charged down ball was touched back to give a 22 drop out. Using an unorthodox technique (chesting the dropout ball so no knockon) the Hertford winger recollected and recycled the ball. Hertford went wide and back again, drove a few phases and eventually went over for a well deserved try.
Overall I recall some great play by all players on the team. Every forward took responsibility for the crash balls and amazingly held onto them in contact (where we were losing them before). Every back played some excellent heads-up rugby, running some good lines and every one of them made line breaks throughout the game. The international teams would do well to be able to say that. We still have a great journey ahead, but from where we were as a team last year, there has been some excellent progress.
A good game amongst well matched teams, played in good spirits
So again the coaching team are very proud of the lads performance here. Every game shows a step up in ability, understanding and teamwork and it's great to see. We are not focussing on the results in these games, win or lose, we're focussing on the lads enjoying their rugby and getting better at it. So far we are still moving in the right direction and that is great to see, and a credit to the lads.
We need to work on all the things we've been working on to date, running, passing, rucking, tackling. It's obvious now though that we need to pay attention to some more progressive areas of the game to improve, including our exits from our own half, our kicking ball in hand, restarts, developing our set plays, understanding patterns of play and individual responsibility... This is a big step forward in the training and we're looking forward to it.
Finally, as we are now doing better with our numbers both at training and games we asked the lads if they would like some more friendlies organised on the condition that we would only do so if 18+ lads would show up. There was a unanimously positive response and committment to being there. Given that, our hard working Team Managers will work hard to get some more fixtures into the schedule and we will keep you updated on Pitchero.
PoM - Tobi (Harry C 2nd nomination) | DoD - Martin (Oisin 2nd nomination) | 1st games Harry A & Amir