An early morning pitch inspection gave the go-ahead for the games against Boroughmuir and West of Scotland, although the conditions were far from ideal. After so many sessions inside it was good to get out for a game even though the cold and rain didn’t help. It did show the boys what to expect at times and they all reacted well to it, in between shivers and fingers that didn’t work.
The squads were split evenly and team x had their first game against Boroughmuir. It was evident early on what Boroughmuir’s strategy would be – give it to the big girl and watch her march her way through the opponents! It’s not often you get to say that Lewis is a “mini” anything of his peers, but today this was certainly the case, given the size and strength of her! At one point she had three of our players hanging off her, trying to put her into touch, while she stormed down the line! It really brought home to the boys the need to tackle low with ‘bands of steel.’
Having said that, the whole team worked together to make the tackles and win the ball in the rucks. Boroughmuir coaches all commented on how far on with rucking we are, and this showed in the way we fought for the ball at all times. We now need to work on getting the ball wide after the ruck, as the opponents get better at slowing down our big guys. Tries were scored when our faster runners got the ball out wide and ran through into space. The first game ended in a thrilling 7-7 draw. Special mention should be made of Tyler who came on for his first game and, having run through most of the opposing team, nearly got a try with his first touch of the ball.
The second game against West of Scotland was not as tough, as West have not really started rucking training as yet. The cold was getting the better of both teams and by the end we had a full 8 vs 8 just to get some heat into all the boys. They acquitted themselves very well and ran out comfortable winners 8-2. They were able to put into practice a bit more of the passing out of the tackle and the game finished with a great offload from Jamie to Jake as the last score of the game.
Now team y we shall call them had their games the other way round being up against West for the first game with big Jack running in tries for fun. As with the other team we were asked to adjust the boys game style by not pushing in the ruck to gain turnover balls that way, which did speed up the play a bit with more loose balls being collected for turnover. In this team we had our other new player Reece who got his start in the second half and played well, assisting at the breakdown and carrying through.
There were good runs from both Caiden and Fraser, at times from in our own half and adding to Jacks tally. Ruan, Adam, Johnny and Oscar made up the rest of the team all getting involved and assisting to bring the score up to a final 8-5 win after West spotted some gaps appear in our defence and bringing in most of their tries second half.
The second game saw the boys all face a harder game, but with the allowance of counter attacking in the rucks saw us win more turnover ball this game, but fewer dropped balls out the tackles. Speaking of tackles the boys had the same job as the other team on bringing the big girl down with some fine wrapping tackles from Fraser, Johnny, Jack and Caiden being made.
There were some Scotlandesque bouts to the game with the Reds and Boroughmuir both being held up almost on the goal line on a few occasions, Boroughmuir winning a bit more of these challenges. Some long runs being made by Oscar and Ruan in this game and Adam and Reece lending to the yards gained. We managed a one up on team x in this game though with a final score of 7-6 to the Reds after a string of one for us one for them and player changes almost every 2 minutes as each of the boys began to freeze up.
All in, another great performance by all our players and some promising play from Reece & Tyler.
Items to watch and work on are the support play of following the ball carrier from the start not just when they get into trouble and getting wrapped up by the opposing team and on maintaining players out wide to pass out to from the ruck.
Thanks for all those parents that also braved the weather to stay out and cheer the boys on and Sean (big Jacks dad) for helping convince the boys waiting to sub on to keep warm.