Under 15s Match Report
|Farnham U15s B
Sunday 1st December 2013
Staines hosted Farnham B (Farnham) on Sunday. This was a reverse of the planned fixture, but Farnham had overbooked and they were willing and able to come to Staines.
The Staines 15 had a completely new look from the one last week. Sadly both second row forwards have sustained serious injuries and they will be out for several weeks. Captain and prop Harry G was also absent and two other forwards were not available due to sickness. Despite this the Staines squad was 18 in number. Yet again, Staines players were willing to play out of their normal positions for the Staines U15s cause. Jamie made a guest appearance at full back as Bailey who normally plays there agreed to play second row. As the game progressed we welcomed Matthew, Ricardo and Ashton into the Staines scrum. All hands to the pumps. We also had Dax returning from injury. Injured players Jack, Joes S and Joe T were among the supporters to cheer the lads on. Farnham also brought 18 players.
Captain Harry V began the match. His superb kick was caught by Farnham on the cusp of the ten-metre line and Staines managed to keep the player upright and so was awarded the scrum. Farnham’s front row was a throw-back to a different era, which may now be returning with two stocky props and a short squat hooker. This was in contrast Staines’ front row who were tall and slimmer in comparison. As soon as the scrum engaged it was clear that the Staines forwards were going to have a tough day at the office. A well-drilled Farnham pack was putting great pressure on the comparatively inexperienced Staines scrum.
Competition was also fierce at the breakdown. Farnham seemed to have the edge. Staines players were not getting there quickly enough nor in sufficient numbers to prevent some excellent jackling by Farnham. So Staines had to rely on their attacking defence. Each time Farnham got the ball they were attended in close proximity by Staines players who were pushing forward, into the Farnham line. Whether it was Sam C or Andrew or Josh VD P or the excellent centres, Alex and Robert, every Farnham player was harried. The Farnham players were either dumped on the floor in tackles or panicked and threw the ball onto the ground. And so despite winning their fair share of the ball, Farnham were going nowhere.
Staines, when in possession on the other hand did manage to go forward. Josh G and Freddie and Calum all made inroads. The Staines back row took advantage of these initial breaks and Craig fed Sam C and Andrew who always seemed to break the gain line. Sometimes these runs would have been more productive if they were aimed away form an efficient Farnham pack.
This first third of the game seemed to be a stalemate. However, about 18 minutes had gone when Staines won a lineout 30 metres from the Farnham line. A catch and drive saw a great sequence of driving. As Staines slowly encroached upon the Farnham line with about 2 metres to go Freddie tried to do his usual trick of rolling off the side to score. Unfortunately Freddie was unluckily denied what seemed to be a reasonable shout as he placed the ball over the try line. But the referee had adjudged that the ball had been held up and the chance was gone.
The scrums were becoming a problem. Several had to be reset. There was wheeling and the ball coming out of the tunnel. The initial hook by Staines seemed to win the ball. But Farnham had a better co-ordinated push and often re-took possession. This was not surprising given the mass changes in the Staines scrum. So Farnham were winning plenty of ball.
After falling backward onto his leg, Harry V was removed from the field with a leg injury. This necessitated another reshuffle for Staines. Alex, who had been playing so well at inside centre and leading the line and tackling the Bracknell backs moved inside to Fly Half.
Twenty minutes in and still no score, could this be a scoreless first half? Staines were occupying Farnham territory. But it always seemed to be between the 22metre line and half way. Farnham could not get any further, neither could Staines. Sam C has been making some dynamic breaks this season, often piercing opposition defences, sometimes getting slightly isolated. Again at the 50metre line, Sam C took ball at pace and crashed into the Farnham tacklers. He emerged the other side of the melee. With 45 metres to go it appeared that the full-back had gone missing. Sam set off in what seemed like slow-motion towards the Farnham line, roared on by the home supporters. The Farnham backs were in pursuit. Would he make it? Running as fast as he could Sam C flopped over the line to score, another brilliant try, his 17th of the season.
Staines 5:0 Farnham B (T Sam C).
At the restart, Staines allowed the ball to bounce, which gave heart to the charging Farnham forwards. Luckily for Staines Luke rescued the situation and Staines gathered possession and drove forward. As the game was nearing half-time the Staines forwards were just in the Farnham half. A pop pass was made to Andrew on the blind side. Andrew did not need a second invitation. He sprinted clear of the initial flailing tackle and again, with no full-back anywhere to be seen Andrew ran under the posts and scored a try to put breathing space between the two sides. Alex, who had taken over the kicking duties scored his first points for the Club with the conversion. Staines 12:0 Farnham B (T Andrew, C Alex). Half-time followed soon afterwards.
Half time: Staines 12:0 Farnham B
Further injuries meant that scrum half Craig had to leave the field. Versatile Alex took his place. Bailey too had a rest after a tough shift in second row. Ashton was drafted in to the back row. Early on in the second half Farnham were penalised. Harry V, who had returned to action decided to try to kick the penalty which would then mean that Farnham would have to score three times. Unfortunately, the kick just went wide.
The messy scrums that had become a feature of the first half continued to be problematic. This resulted in several resets. This lack of momentum did neither side any favours. But as in the first half, Staines were the team dominating territory, if not possession. Farnham did not seem to have any players such as Ashton, who could make dents into the Farnham defence and put Staines on the front foot.
Staines were trying to pass the ball down the line. Robert made some lovely runs. More often than not however either the wrong line was chosen or a pass went astray. Farnham did not seem to have anyone capable of turning the game in their favour. Suddenly Staines had a chance, Five metres out and virtually under the Farnham posts the ball was passed back inside to Dax, who on reaching out could not quite manage to hang on. Had he done so, surely he would have scored.
The frustration of the Farnham coaches was evident. Arms were being thown up in the air and appeals to the onlooking crowd were made, to no avail. Their ire was directed at the referee as some coaches even encroached upon the field of play. Not a pretty sight. In fairness it was the Farnham players on the pitch who were causing the problems. Their inability to listen to the referee’s instructions had made a rod for the team’s own back. Whether it was failing to control the push, or handling in the scrum or the tackler not allowing a player on the floor to get up before tackling, all were advised by the referee. When the players chose to ignore the referee’s instruction, Farnham were penalised. These set-backs ensured that Farnham could not get into Staines territory. It was one such penalty that led to Staines’ third try.
Staines were pressing but lost control of the ball. Farnham tried to relieve their lines by kicking out of their 22. But the referee spotted a Farnham player in front of the ball and advised him not to go forward. Despite the warning the player continued his chase. Farnham were penalised and Harry V deftly kicked into the corner to secure an attacking lineout, 5 metres from the Farnham line. The ball was thrown in. Josh G was first to react. As the ball was knocked upwards in the line he leapt and seized the ball in one motion and powered over the line to score. Staines 17:0 Farnham B (T Josh G).
Some complacency by Staines might have been the cause of a slight revival in Farnham’s fortunes. They did have some encouraging phases of play. One Farnham player made a bullocking run and got through the Staines line and now only faced Jamie. Jamie was initially flattened by the strong running forward but he bounced straight back up and man-handled him to the floor, so determined was he that they should not score. This effort was typical of Staines as they continually managed to disrupt any possible threat from Farnham. When Jamie went off, Bailey resumed his more usual role at full back and he made some great runs as Farnham realised that the only way to get past Staines tacklers was to kick and chase. But Bailey caused them great problems as he made inroads deep into Farnham territory every time they kicked the ball. As Farnham toiled in vain, Staines gradually increased their strangle-hold on the game. Both sides were relieved to hear the final whistle.
Final score: Staines 17:0 Farnham B.
The quality of the Staines performance was not of the highest order. Staines were second best in the scrum against a tough, well-drilled Farnham pack. But the Staines forwards had put everything into this performance, under unusual circumstances and all looked exhausted. In a crucial area of the game, Farnham won lots of ball, against the head. And yet not once in the entire match did Farnham look like scoring. So despite conceding a lot of possession, Staines made up for it in pressing and tackling. Staines disrupted Farnham’s ball so completely that they resorted to kicking the ball away. Jamie, and then later on Bailey both excelled at full-back, coping with everything that Farnham threw at them.
The composition of this team was completely different from the league game, a week before. And yet a clean sheet was recorded. It does not seem to matter what 15 boys are on the pitch, they all seem to put in a lot of effort. Admittedly, this was not Staines best performance and they could have improved in many areas of the game. Yet this is what good teams do, what good squads do. They may play below par but they still win convincingly. Well done boys for recording your tenth victory in a row!
After the game the boys sat together to enjoy a meal prepared and Dan & Phil. Many thanks to Ros and Katie who lead the washing detail, many thanks to all who helped out. Next week Staines are scheduled to be at home to play their fourth league match of the season against Teddington B.
Calum, Josh VD P, Freddie, Josh G, Bailey, Andrew, Sam C, Ricardo, Craig, Harry V, Alex, Robert, Luke, Jamie, Aaron, Dax, Ashton, Matthew Scorers:
Tries: Sam C, Andrew, Josh G
Conv: Alex (1)