U9’s Middlesex Festival 2019 Team 1 Match Report
By Christina Sanchez de Beggs
A great day, with good friends, playing some excellent rugby
U9’s Middlesex Festival 2019 Team 1 Match Report
Team 1 Players:
Ava, Conor, Brandon, Edward, Elliot, Gabriel, Huxley, Johnny, and Megan.
Team 1 played five matches in total. We lost 1, won 3, and lost track of the score in 1.
Match 1: London Scottish 2 vs Hampstead 1: Final Score: 6 – 5 Loss.
Match 2: Hammersmith & Fulham 5 vs Hampstead 1: Final Score: 2 – 9 Win.
Match 3: Wasps 5 vs Hampstead 1: Final Score: Unsure as lost track in second half.
Match 4: Hampstead 1 vs Ruislip 1: Final Score: 7 – 3 Win.
Match 5: Hampstead 1 vs Finchley 3: Final Score: 7 – 5 Win.
It was an extremely windy morning, and although it had been pouring down earlier in the morning and the pitch was very wet, the rain managed to hold off for the rest of the day, so the players managed to stay warm and dry throughout their matches.
Our First match of the day was against London Scottish Team 2: it was great to start the day against a team we know well and have a good relationship with. The atmosphere was good, and the players on both sides were fairly evenly matched. Elliot, who was new to both rugby and the team this season, managed to score 3 tries in this opening match, with Brandon and Edward both scoring a try each as well. That said, none of those tries would have been possible without the efforts and support of the whole team. When on the pitch, Conor and Huxley were particularly good at quickly popping the ball off to teammates who were in space, making those tries all the more exciting. There were some excellent tackles made by Ava, Megan, and Gabriel, which was a theme that was to carry on throughout the day with these particular players. At full time the final score was LS 6 – HRFC 5, but with such an exciting match, no one was disheartened by this loss, and all left the field looking forward to the next time we face each other.
Our Second match of the day was against Hammersmith and Fulham Team 5. Here the teams were not as evenly matched, nor was their referee up to par. Our players clearly worked better as a team, communicated well with each other, and made tackle, after tackle, after tackle, but with little reward for their brilliant efforts. Players, parents, and coaches from our team quickly realised that the H&F ref was not counting or calling tackles (as had been agreed in the refs briefing that morning), and I sought to correct this, only to be met with hostility. However, this did not stop our team from scoring, again, and again, and again. My player notes are a little sketchy here, but I do know that Brandon, Edward, Elliot and Huxley all scored, and I believe that Ava and Johnny scored in the second half, along with various other players throughout the match. What really stood out in this match was the defence. Once again, Ava was a tackling machine, with lots of great tackles coming from Johnny, Conor, Edward, and Brandon. In the second half of the match (with myself as the referee) there was better clarity on the number of tackles made, instruction for when to release from a hold, and some guidance was given by me to the H&F players on how they could improve their hold in the tackle. If anything, I was stricter with my own team given the obvious difference in ability. With this, players from both teams started to see some success from their tackling, and both teams managed to win a turnover at some point. H&F even managed to score twice. The score at full time was H&F 2 – HRFC 9.
Match number 3 was against our old friends from Wasps (Team 5). They certainly made us work hard, both in attack and in defence, and they took full advantage of any gaps in that defence. Once again, Ava and Huxley stood out as try scorers, but there were other. Megan continued to prove she is a driving force to be reckoned with when carrying the ball. She would drive it forward, then pop the ball off to a support player who would score. Conor, Edward, Elliot, Gabriel, Johnny, and Brandon all worked particularly hard to both support the ball carrier, pop the ball off to a player in space, and generally gain ground in attack. But they also worked hard in defence to try and stop the opposition gaining ground. This game was particularly fast paced and exciting, and at half time we were down 4-3, but unfortunately I lost track of keeping score whilst refereeing the second half. My notes say the final score was 6-5, but I was sure that we came back to win that match as we really seemed to up our game and switch on in the second half. It’s not a big deal, we could just call it a draw. Either way, it was a very exciting match.
Our fourth match of the day was against another old friend, Ruislip (Team 1). I believe we played against them last year at the Middlesex festival, and it was nice to see how the team has come along since then. This was another exciting match, filled with many tries, and many excellent tackles. Ava, Johnny, Megan, and Gabriel kept to form with their relentless tackling when in defence, and Edward made a particularly excellent tackle. Brandon scored after a fantastic run, with an equally brilliant try scored by Huxley after another great run down the pitch. Elliot continued his excellent record of the day by scoring another great try. By this point we were winning 7 – 3. However, with a minute to go until full time, there was a nasty collision at speed between one of our players and one of the Ruislip players, which resulted in a sore leg for the Ruislip player, and a mild concussion for our player. Both sides agreed to end the match early as we rightly tended to the injured players. Although the Hampstead player did not lose consciousness, and was able to answer all my pitch side head assessment questions, myself and his father felt that it was best that they head off to get him checked over by the paramedics on site, who after assessment concluded that he did indeed have a mild concussion. We wish him a speedy full recovery!
It is the responsibility of all parents, players, and coaches to put the welfare of the player first. As such, all head injuries (however small), whether sustained at home, at school, or anywhere else, MUST be reported to their coach. All parents, players, and coaches should take the online Headcase course so we can work together to prevent and manage any suspected concussion cases. For more information, and to take the online course, please follow this link:
Our final match of the day was against one of our North London Neighbours, Finchley (team 3). This was another exciting match, with lots of tries from both teams. Finchley were relentless with their tackling, looking to fill their gaps and prevent us from gaining ground, but our attack power was greater. This match saw another excellent run and try from Elliot. Shortly followed by the same from Huxley. Megan battled her way forward through 6 defenders to score an excellent try. Then another try from Huxley, followed by an excellent try by Johnny, who only narrowly avoided being pushed into touch and then when on to score. The second half of the match was as exciting as the first. There was an excellent run and subsequent try scored by Ava, and possibly another try by Johnny. In defence, Conor, Gabriel, Brandon and Megan all worked extremely hard. Our team ended the day on a high with a winning score of 7-5.
All in all, this was an excellent day for the team! The team played lots of matches, scored lots of tries, made some excellent tackles, and had heaps of fun. This is definitely one of the best festivals of the season, and it is certainly a good gauge to see how far the team has come since the beginning of the season. As always, festivals really bring the team together in a way that doesn’t happen at training because of the competitive nature of a festival. Training is a more light hearted affair; it’s more like a group of friends who meet up to mess about and play together (in the wind, rain, or shine), as opposed to festivals where they really gel together as a team to play against other teams. There is still a light heartedness at festivals, the team doesn’t get overly upset if they lose a match, but there is a great deal of important bonding done. You can also see players starting to take on certain roles. My own son didn’t score a single try all day, but he wasn’t bothered by this. He understands that he played a vital role in the action in every match. Relentlessly tackling, gaining ground when carrying the ball, acting as scrumhalf when another player was brought to ground, supporting the ball carrier, and popping the ball off to supporting players. These things are all just as important as to try scoring as placing the ball down over the try-line. I was certainly very proud of him, and the whole team for all their hard work, both on the day, and every single Saturday when they turn to training (in the wind, rain, and shine).
Hopefully the team will look back at days/festivals like this and smile with fondness. I know I certainly will.