Under 14s Match Report
|Staines U14s 8 (8)||St.Austell U14s 14 (0)|
Friday 29th March 2013
Staines welcomed Pancho Villa and his compadres to Staines RFC on Good Friday. Sombreros and bandoliers were in evidence early on, as were pints of beer. They were also accompanied by several smaller super-heroes, Roman centurions and several other delightfully attired members. This was the touring side of St. Austell U14s who had arrived to play the first match of their Easter Tour 2013.
The weather was cold and cloudy, the sombreros superfluous. Before the 4pm kick-off the Mexican bandidos preferred lager and beer to their usual tequila. This reporter felt obliged to join them, just to be sociable, you understand. A good crowd had gathered to watch the game.
The match got off to noisy cheers from the friendly crowd. Staines caught the ball but did not seem totally at the races today. St. Austell prevented Staines’ progress with some effective tackling. Staines support was slow and it appeared that they were running too much as individuals rather than the more supportive team seen this season. Staines have usually been fairly comfortable at the scrum this season. This was far from the case today and St. Austell demonstrated great power in the front row. This battle of wills was evidenced by the resetting of many of these scrums. Wheeling and the occasional loss of binds and footing meant that this area of the game reflected some of the recent International matches.
It was a real contest. But even at this early stage it was apparent that Staines had the upper hand in strength and possession. Rarely did St, Austell encroach into the Staines half. But Staines were their own worst enemies. Their usual precision at the breakdown was not present. Scrappy ball ensued. Even when the ball got out to the backs the usual forceful running was not present. Despite this Staines was still putting pressure on St. Austell. Eventually it paid off when St, Austell were penalised after about 15 minutes play. St. Austell had a tendency to go over at the ruck, sealing off the ball. The referee lost patience and awarded Staines a kickable penalty. Harry V stepped up and slotted the ball home.
Staines 3 St. Austell 0. This was what Staines deserved.
Despite messing up the restart, a feature of Staines’ play this season, Staines managed to establish some authority. A fine kick from Harry V and subsequent knock-on at the lineout saw a scrum to the visitors close to St. Austell’s line, 12 metres out. The pressure on St, Austell was immense. Although St. Austell won the scrum it was not clean, controlled ball. As the ball shot out behind their open side flanker, Sam, the Staines No. 7 saw his opportunity. He broke from the scrum and chased the ball which was bobbling towards the line. His strength and determination saw him scoop up the ball and power his way over the line to score the first try. A magnificent example of opportunist back row play. Harry V missed the conversion attempt.
Staines 8 St. Austell 0. Staines finished the half still pressing the St, Austell line.
Half time: Staines 8 St. Austell 0.
It was more of the same in the second half. Staines seemed to be getting their act together. The pack started playing a little better with their efficient pick and go tactic, putting St. Austell on the back foot. Staines were awarded a penalty about 15 metres out. But lack of imagination saw the ball carrier stripped of the ball and a weak clearance kick was followed by hopeful St. Austell players. A knock-on allowed St. Austell the advantage and their winger streaked 80 metres for a try under the post which was converted. Staines 8 St. Austell 7.
Another disaster struck half-way through the second half. Faithe, the First Aider watched in horror as her medicinal pint of cider was struck and knocked off the fence from a kick direct in to touch. The glass shattered in a thousand pieces and Faithe’s tears mingled with the amber liquid on the floor.
With just five minutes to go St. Austell made the best of a break. The Staines defence was caught out and the speedy player who had scored the first try went on a 60 metre run to score once again under the posts, making the conversion easy. Staines 8 St. Austell 14. Heartbreak for Staines.
Could Staines fight their way back to snatch victory? Staines came charging at the St. Austell team. Andrew had a great bursting run only to be snagged about 10 metres out. St. Austell were in disarray as Staines piled on the pressure. A real Grandstand finish for the crowd.
Three metres from the try line and with St. Austell flying over the ruck the referee blew the whistle for full time. Victory for the visiting tourists.
Full time: Staines 8 St. Austell 14.
In summary, Staines were not quite on top form. Despite this, St. Austell were limited to just two attacking plays and they scored from each. Again it was the same old story: long-range tries. We must learn to go forward and prevent fast runners getting up to speed. More importantly we must take responsibility and not shirk in the tackle. This is the only way to win close-fought games. In a game in which Staines dominated territory and possession we succumbed to two sucker punches. Staines were in a generous mood today. It must be said however that Staines had put in a great performance the previous Sunday. Perhaps today they were thinking too much about their Easter eggs. The result was perfect for the visitors who had contributed much colour to a grey afternoon.
After the traditional photo, fun and games ensued with lots of raw eggs flying about as Andrew and Bailey fought out a Deer Hunter challenge before retiring to the changing rooms. Both teams emerged clean and looking very smart in white shirts and Club ties. They were treated to some great home cooking by Angus, Dan and Jennifer. Silly games followed which involved players and coaches eating and drinking silly things.
The Staines players presented their opponents each with an Easter egg. A Staines Club Tie and Staines Shield was presented to Jules, the Head Coach, who reciprocated by presenting a St. Austell shield.
Great banter and bonhomie followed as both sets of teams mingled in the true rugby spirit.