LANDROVER CUP - U12's SUCCESS AGAIN
Having ended up in the 'Group of Death' with Grove (Wantage) and Oxford Harlequins we knew we had our work cut out.
The rules were 10 minute games with no break so full on rugby and no chance to coach players at half time.
Our first match was against Oxford Harlequin's, one of the favourites for the competition. It was a tight affair with the defensive side of both teams shining through there were very few chances and after 10 minutes (of a bit less by our watches) the game finished in stalemate with no tries. At this point the coaches knew the group would be decided on tries scored as Grove surprisingly lost their opening match, another tight game, be one try to nil.
K's had the advantage of playing last, so like England yesterday would know what was required. Our second game was played back to back with the Harlequins game and saw us take on Supermarine from Swindon. The boys were fired up and ready for the challenge and aware that a high try count was required. While we defended well it was our attacking flair that impressed spectators and we ran our winners with four tries to nil, not a bad score for a 10 minute game. The pressure was piled on by Harlequins who beat Grove 5-0 and then went on to play Supermarine. We watched the match closely as Supermarine defended well while not really threatening Harlequins line. Harlequins dominated the game and ran our winners by 4 tries.
So the task for the boys was simple, win by a margin of 6 tries in our last game and progress to the Semi Final, win by a margin of five tries and rely on the toss of a coin to see who progressed. We had a dream start and scored directly from their kick-off, and in a sporting fashion that dictated the tempo of the game sprinted back to the half way line with the ball to speed up the restart. K's quickly ran in a second try and again returned the ball to the centre for the opposition, following a third try Supermarine made a few tactical substitutions and the game slowed, the most vocal parents at this point were those from Harlequins who cheered every Grove tackle before K's got back in their stride and scored a forth try. To say this was the most exciting game I've ever watched us play in is an understatement and when the fifth try was scored parents were dancing on the touch line. Could we get the all important sixth try, the answer was yes and at this point Harlequins parents knowing the game was up started to applaud our boys which was very sporting. Not content with scoring six the boys pushed on and managed two more tries, the last preceded by the final whistle. After a quick apology to Grove coaches and a 'well done' hand shake with Harlequins coaches we were through to the semi's and a march with Oxford RFC.
We were faced with another side who could defend as well as us, we pushed them back to their try line but couldn't get over, the backs nearly got in at the corner but were thwarted by a great try saving tackle and we repelled their attacks effectively. Then the final whistle blew, we all wondered what the next step would be, toss of a coin, tries score in the group stage (no one knew how many Oxford had scored) or something else. The answer was something else, three minutes of extra time, we finally crossed the line and scored the all important try and a minute later the ref called last play, we turned over the ball and it was promptly kicked into touch, we were in the final. the Oxford team were highly complimentary about our forwards, they said they had never suffered so many turnovers, their parting comment was we were to play the top side in Oxfordshire in the final Cumnor.
So the scene was set and we awaited a gripping final.
Cumnor were a strong and 'big' team and tested our defence repeatedly but we held firm before scoring our first try, the boys were fired up and determined to hold our lead and stepped up their intensity even further, this resulted in a second try and the Land Rover cup was won!
We ended up scoring 15 tries, didn't concede one and were worthy winners. The try count plays testament to the opposition, last year we scored 24 tries without conceding.
The boys collected their medals, picked up the cup and had photo's before heading home.
Well done to all the boys, you were magnificent!!
They now appear, like last year, at the RFU Premiership final in May.
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