Under 13s
Fri 03 May 2024
Club Tour to Yorkshire
Hampstead RFC
Under 13s
The Yorkshire Tour finishes on a high

The Yorkshire Tour finishes on a high

Bee de Soto6 May - 21:18
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A fitting end to a successful season

The final matches of the year on our tour to Harrogate.

Not the usual start to the day - the boys sharing two rooms, and getting up at 6am after 4-5 hours of sleep. Definitely the preparation of champions, and the cherry on the cake was that it was capped off with bacon sandwiches. Then a long coach ride (construction as always on the M1), but arriving as a team was great. Harrogate has a hugely impressive facility and teams were there from all over the country - Scarborough, Nottingham, Wales - it was all set up for a great day of rugby.

The first match saw the boys take on one of Newark’s two teams for the first 20-minute straight-through blast of a match. The boys started well, though a little sloppiness with the ball meant that some good play wasn’t getting its full reward. The boys did manage to score one try to take the lead, before Newark came back into it. The boys probably not having quite woken up yet led to some errors, and let Newark in to score a couple of tries to take the lead. Hampstead continued to press though, scoring to equalise with a power run, setting up a tense final few minutes. Unfortunately this time the boys couldn’t quite find their way in, and Newark scored another slightly sloppy try to leave Hampstead needing one to tie. Unfortunately as they lined up for the kickoff, a Newark player went down injured, and the horn for the end of the match sounded, leaving the boys ruing an opening loss. Probably one that got away, with the run of play favouring Hampstead (despite not being at their best) and left the team highly motivated for the next.

A relatively rationally scheduled day saw 40-minute plus breaks, and time for the boys to relax and refocus for the next match. This was against a big physical Scarborough team that slightly intimidated the boys watching their previous match, but the warmup had seen the Hampstead boys truly hit their stride. Pretty soon after kickoff the boys were showing off their physical courage in stopping some big runners and taking advantage of their speed and hands to move the ball wide. The tries started coming regularly, and spread around the team: speed on the outside and power through the middle. The score ended up being about 5 tries, with Scarborough finally breaking away on the last play for a consolation score after the horn. Much improved performance and a much happier huddle than after the first match.

Another break, and then into the third match versus Ashby, another midlands team. The opposition definitely won the prize for the most unique kit - with the caveman theme followed through with dinosaur costumes and inflatable clubs. The paraphernalia didn’t help them with the Hampstead team though, who now had their tails up and started going through the gears. The tries came thick and fast, with props bursting through tackles to score from thirty yards and wingers scoring in the corner. Some great team play mixed in and the score mounted pretty quickly. The boys if anything took their collective feet off the gas and started experimenting, probably costing themselves an extra try or two, but still finished 6-0, quite a result for a 20-minute match.

That set us up for the final match, taking on Dinnington, the Yorkshire team that had been the class of the group in the matches so far. A number of very big fast runners and an abrasive style had given them three convincing wins (though to be fair some of the other teams weren’t left with a great impression of them). The boys had done their research, nearly all of them watching the previous match, and there was some trepidation, but still set up to play our game and focus on getting up tight on the halfbacks before they could unlock the powerful runners lined up outside. Following the kickoff, this match was obviously going to be different- the intensity clearly up a notch, and the Dinnington boys were clearly flustered as Hampstead had come to play. That was only the start though, as it was followed with a brilliant try with the signature Hampstead passing going up a gear, 4 perfect passes at full pace sending our winger up the line to score and putting Dinnington down for the first time of the day. One of the Newark coaches even ran up to say it was the best try he had seen all year. The adrenaline shot raised the game even more, becoming a pretty captivating watch. The boys came close a couple of times to replicating the score up the left, with a heel in touch costing one, and some confusion on support one or two more. Dinnington were also getting flustered, with some of their star players starting to just kick the ball down the middle, which the boys handled well. The bigger issue was that they were starting to get more and more physical, definitely skirting the boundaries of legality, and the ref was broadly letting the teams play. The sheer physicality started to allow Dinnington to play more in Hampstead territory, resulting in first an equalising try, and continued pressure. In that type of match the boys stood up well, defending the line with real tenacity, but they got unlucky with some referee decisions. Dinnington tapped free kicks on the 5-10m line, and though Hampstead managed to shut off the middle, twice the speed of a Dinnington player managed to get them around the outside to score. 3-1, and was all to do. A final penalty at midfield, and as the boys rushed to take it, the horn sounded. Dinnigton celebrated like they knew how close it had been, and another day the boys could clearly have taken that match. One of their best performances of the season, and despite the loss, a fitting way to end the year for a great group of boys. Incredibly proud of the work they’ve put in and the progress they’ve made this year.

Author: Andrew Honan

Match details

Match date

Fri 03 May 2024


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