By Helen Willingham
A fantastic day with some excellent rugby
Upminster vs Hampstead = 4 - 4 Draw
Southend vs Hampstead = 3 - 5 Win
Canvey vs Hampstead = 4 - 6 Win
Westcliff vs Hampstead = 5 - 6 Win
Wiltam vs Hampstead = 2 - 4 Win
After some initial hiccups with fixtures and a last minute cancellation of our first match, we had a fantastic day with some excellent rugby.
From our first match our players encountered illegal high tackles and ball ripping, which would carry on throughout the day. Nevertheless, they kept their heads cool and their focus on the play at hand. Will made his mark as try scorer of the day, with Harry, Anthony, and Rudy all producing several great tries. In fact, I believe everyone on the team scored a try at some point throughout the day.
There were also some excellent runs with the ball made by Lyric and Harrison, and an excellent running pop pass from Anthony to Edward, who went on to score and had the whole crowd cheering.
In our first played match of the day against Upminster, notable tries came from Will, Harry, and Anthony. In our second match against Southend, Rudy, Anthony, and Will all scored some excellent tries. In our third game of the morning against Canvey, William made an excellent try, with another notable try coming from Lyric who had a great run with the ball before scoring. Conor, Anthony and Will all scored tries in this match, however this is when things start to become a bit fuzzy as this was the first of our three back to back matches and with a huge number of high tackles/minor injuries/substitutions, my notes fizzled out. I do know that Edward's excellent try came in our fourth match against Westcliff, and I know Gabriel made an excellent try in either this game, or in our last game against Witham. However, I do know that our matches were exciting to the last play, and our players should be very proud of themselves!
In fact, from our first match until our last we had random parents, coaches, and spectators coming up to us and commending us on how skilled and well drilled our players are.
We've done a lot in training to work on our defence, tackle technique, and communication, and you could really see the evidence of all their hard work paying off at this festival. The whole team really came together to demonstrate their skills in defence. They were really taking charge of their defensive line, calling out to each other to fill gaps, and certain players were looking after particular parts of the pitch. There were some excellent tackles made by Rudy, Gabriel, William, Lyric and Conor. In fact, I can also say that Harry, Will, Anthony, and Edward all made some excellent tackles too. Notably, ours was probably the only team who wasn't repeatedly making high tackles. In our last match, the referee actually gave up counting the number of high against us and just called "another...and another high tackle". Our players were going in low, others were binding on to assist, and for the most part taking down the opposition. There were obviously a few who got past them, but not many.
I think the most evenly matched team of the day, both in terms of offence and defence was Westcliff, and they changed their whole team halfway through the match.
All of in all we had an excellent day, with lots of good rugby and a lot of team bonding! Southend definitely made us feel welcome. Festivals are a great way to build friendships with other teams. In fact, several teams were asking if they can come visit us one Saturday to join us for training. If anything, I'd say that these festivals are an excellent way for a team to bond, both on and off the pitch, and they are a great day out for the family! I look forward to our next club visit at Eton Manor on he 18th, they always make us feel welcome!
A big thank you to our U9's players for all their had work! You all made us very proud!
Our player of the day was Gabriel for his excellent efforts in tackling and defence throughout the day!