Under 13s
Sun 24 Mar 2024
Harrow 10s Festival
Hampstead RFC
Under 13s
Adding to the silverware at Harrow

Adding to the silverware at Harrow

Bee de Soto24 Mar - 22:22
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26 tries from 5 matches secures the plate.

It was great this morning to wake up to sun, as the Hampstead u13s headed up to Harrow to play in a 10s tournament, a real highlight of the run in of the season. Though the hills of north London had a pretty fierce wind, even that helped to dry out pitches that have been waterlogged too often, hopefully giving the boys an opportunity to really express themselves. 10s today was a derivative of sevens, but even more focused on playing with the ball - no scrums, no lineouts, and ten players on full-size pitches. Very intense nonetheless, with five 8 min each matches, against in some cases very large teams.

The team started out strong against Barnet, bending but not breaking in defence and starting the ball movement that was going to be the hallmark of the day. The first half saw four tries, combining really good passing with taking the full advantage of the speed we have on the pitch to score real 7s tries: moving the ball and striking from distance. That continued in the second, marred only by one intercept try for the opposition, to end up winning comfortably with a 6-1 score line

The second match was against the touring team from Yorkshire, Old Brodleians, who definitely provided some evidence that a more rural upbringing can grow some very large 13 year olds. Combined with a couple of very speedy backs, this definitely set up to be a challenge. That played out in the match , with the first half seeing Hampstead struggling to control the big runners (as well as some particularly borderline tackling from the other side) and conceding three tries. The second half was one of the most impressive efforts of the morning though: picking their heads up, improving the tackling and really starting to move the bigger bodies around the pitch. Scoring two and conceding one was a much improved effort, though unfortunately left us short. Would probably have given the boys a good shot at getting all the way back with more time however.

The matches were coming thick and fast by now, with the next seeing Old Verulamiums from St Albans. This was another battle, but the pace and movement that Hampstead was putting on the ball was really starting to tell. Relatively complete control of possession and territory allowed the boys to both shut OV out, and score five very good tries, in a match that started slowly but built consistently. That put the team in a good position going into the last couple of matches — maybe competing for silverware with Camelot and Harrow to come.

Camelot were next, and despite the size of some of the players, the intensity of tens was starting to tell, with the Hampstead speed and skill persisting much more under the pressure. The tries came relatively quickly and often, forwards scoring on the wings, interplay running from distance, and a really good performance from the team. Eight tries in total, with one slip up leaving the final score at 8-1. Now for the final match - Harrow. Close on the tail of Hampstead for second, this match was going to be the difference between either 1st or 2nd, or falling to 3rd. The hosts were not going to be an easy match.

Suddenly jumping into play as the hosts tried to catch up some time, the boys had to adjust pretty quickly. Two quick tries settled the nerves, and the boys settled in for their last match. Harrow played well though, and kept creeping back, with two tries of their own. Hampstead held the nerve though (especially post a halftime ref change) and though the match finished 5-2, would have said that the extra chances were on the Hampstead side.

Overall a great day for the boys, though couldn’t quite win the whole thing after the first half against the very large Yorkshire boys. Being complimented by the organisers for the handling and try scoring were a great compliment for them, and the second place plate (and first in London) was a great day for them. We’re very proud of the effort. One special mention for Folahan, for whom this was the last match with Hampstead - our missile of a tackler, he has made a great contribution in his intro to rugby. Very much hope he keeps it up - maybe can host a tour at a new club.

Author: Andrew Honan, U13 Coach

Match details

Match date

Sun 24 Mar 2024




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