U18 Loughborough Tour

U18’s Tour Leceistershire

After a season of fundraising including the Whisky Night and Cocktail Night the u18’s headed south on their tour which included matches against Hinckley, who claim Robin Bennie as a former player, and Loughborough.  In a busy weekend they also squeezed in a trip to Alton Towers.

The match against Hinckley was abandoned after 45 minutes due to injury with the score 29 – 21 in favour of the hosts.  Their second game against Loughborough, playing in unseasonably hot weather finished with a victory for the tourists.

Many thanks to our hosts and those who helped ensure the Tour was a success.

Friday 7th April

After numerous fundraising events and parents contributing in return for a weekend of peace and quiet the u18 squad headed south to Leicestershire.

Hinckley v Linlithgow

The first game of the tour was an evening kick off against Hinckley on a bright warm Friday evening following the journey south by the squad.

Hinckley started quickly and grabbed the first converted try.  Linlithgow soon hit back with good work by the forwards gave Kyle the opportunity to burst through a couple of tackles and score wideout. Gregor adding the extras to level the game.  Hinckley then went on a scoring spree scoring four tries without reply in a twenty-minute period. Two of the scores were controversial but despite this with lots of time still left on the clock and despite being 29 to 7 down the feeling on the side-line and pitch was still positive. Ross grabbed a crucial score just before half time when good hands across the pitch put him into space and he finished well with Gregor adding the extras.

Half time:  Hinkley 29 – 14 Linlithgow

At half time the squad talked about upping the work rate and cutting out the errors and within five minutes of the start of the second half a crucial score arrived for the young reds.  Some good running moved the reds down the pitch and the ball worked its way out to Cameron who picked the ball up off the floor cleanly and beat a couple of defenders to cross wide out.  Gregor added the extras to close the gap to eight points.

At this point in the game and with Linlithgow making good ground and starting to off load the ball very well it looked like the young Reds would complete a memorable comeback.  A tackle in mid field on one of our players resulted in the game being halted and then abandoned with twenty minutes still left.  The decision was the right one on the evening to ensure the player was allowed to receive attention but at that point the Reds were looking by far the stronger team.

Match Abandoned: Hinckley 29 – 21  Linlithgow

YouTube video of match

Coaches View

Great comeback from the guys who even at 29 to 7 behind still battled hard and it was unfortunate that having got back in the game they could not complete the task. We were looking well placed to win the game and this would have been an excellent opening to the tour on the pitch.  Many thanks to the Physio for his help with the injury, which thankfully wasn’t asserious as initially thought.

Saturday 8th April

After an early night the whole tour party were up early and set of of Alton Towers.  The park was fairly quite so there were plenty of opportunity for the party, including coaches, to go on the rides.  The weather was kind and some ended up catching the sun.  After a quick freshen up dinner was in Loughborough, followed by another early night as they had a game the next day.

Sunday 9th April

Loughborough v Linlithgow 

The second game of the tour was a lunch time kick off on a warm clear Sunday. The hosts opened strongly and Linlithgow struggled to gain field position or hold on to the ball for any length of time.  Loughborough soon opened the scoring with a well worked maul which despite the reds best efforts could not be defended and so the first try was conceded they added the extras to take a 7 to 0 lead.

Linlithgow then started to hold the ball better and a good run from Shaun gained valuable yards down the pitch.  The home defence was proving strong and from a turnover in midfield the hosts scored their second try wide out after some some good hands across the pitch.

Half time: Loughborough 12 – 0 Linlithgow

The half time chat between the guys was animated and positive and the young Reds started the second half strongly.  Nathan crashed over from a scrum taking a number of defenders with him and this galvanised the team to even more effort in the second half. The visitors now had possession and field position and some sharp passing along the back line allowed Gregor to find some space and he crossed wide out for a vital score.

With ten minutes left the hosts were struggling to get out of their own half and had to kick the ball to gain ground.  Once such kick was fielded by Shaun and some good hands in the backs put Scott into space and he finished out wide for what was the final score in the game.

Final score:  Loughborough 12 – 15 Linlithgow

Coaches view

A game of two halves played in very hot conditions. It was great to see how the whole squad rallied at half time and to a man put in extra effort in the second half. This extra effort paid off as the match was won but above all it showed great spirit for the guys to keep the hosts scoreless in the second half to allow the match to be won.

After a free afternoon the touring party assembled for Pizza and Quiz – then another earlier night!

Many thanks to our hosts at Hinckley and Loughborough,  and those involved in organising the Tour.