Kenilworth Colts 25 – 15 Sutton Coldfield Colts – AWAY
Sun 29th Sept 13 - National Colts Cup
Kenilworth Colts, after their reverse to Barker Butts last week in the Warwickshire Under 18 Colts League, turned their attentions to the National Colts Cup 1st Round game away against Sutton Coldfield. As the rules of the competition allow, the home teams dictates which day of the weekend the game is going to be played and as Sutton play their games on a Sunday, a Sunday lie-in was to be denied for the boys. Playing at 11:00 on a Sunday certainly had a funny feel about it – Colts rugby is all about Saturday afternoons.
The visitors travelled over with just 17 players after a series of injuries and non-availabilities, primarily down to the fact that some boys have moved work patterns to accommodate Saturday rugby. The sun shone and the game was played on the 1st XV pitch at Sutton, which was in perfect condition for a good running game of rugby.
During the warm-up before the game started, there was a degree of weighing-up the opposition by both sides and it certainly appeared that the hosts seemed to be far larger than our lads. Well the game started and this myth was quickly dispelled as our lads tore into the hosts with an enthusiasm we certainly hadn’t witnessed in the warm-up. If any parent could offer some advice on how to wake up their offsprings before a game, please let me know!! An 11:00 start was a bit early.
The early exchanges were positive and both sides tried to move the ball. Kenilworth eventually found themselves in their 22 following a penalty against them for “squeezeball”, which is illegal in Colts rugby and from a loose tapped ball from a lineout, the hosts pounced on the ball to score an unconverted try to go 0-5 into the lead.
A string of silly penalties allowed Sutton to further stamp their authority on the game and quick ball out to the right wing allowed their lightening fast winger to round his man and the covering defence to score under the posts. The conversion should have been a certainty, but Stuart Budd managed to charge the kick down, so the score became 0-10.
Romee Akhtar, made immediate amends for his missed tackle on their winger, by making a fantastic break through the middle and this was taken on by the ever-present Cory Joy. Captain Dan Rink was next to take the ball virtually to the line, but a foot in touch saved the day for the hosts.
Kenilworth continued to pressurize the Sutton defences, with Ben Bosworth winning most of the game’s lineout ball and some wonderful pick’n driving and excellent support play from Matt Slater, James Ray, Max Wiggins, Jason Ford and Dan Rink. From a great drive by Matt Slater, we quickly send the ball to the right and a perfectly timed pass from Tom Clitherow put winger Will Field over for an unconverted try – 5-10.
Sutton certainly seemed rattled by the constant series of close-in drives and the pressure their front row were under from the superb scrummaging from the visitor’s front row of Henry Cook, Jason Ford and Dan Rink.
Cory Joy and Max Wiggins were making life very uncomfortable for their scrum-half, whether he was trying to get the ball out from a scrum or a ruck and this gave their backline and excellent right wing limited opportunities.
A series of inside passes from fly-half Stuart Budd gained a huge amount of ground and ball won at a lineout inside the vistor’s 22 was taken and driven and although Dan Rink was held up short, he managed to recycle it for Cory Joy to take the ball and squeeze over the line for another unconverted try, which leveled the score at 10-10 at half time.
Another very positive aspect of this game was the solid defensive effort and tackling that Kenilworth showed against much bigger opponents. Certainly James Ray and Cory Joy put in more than their fair share of big hits, but the team as a whole with Hector Smith and Tom Clitherow in the backs making a number of telling hits which seemed to knock the hosts out of their rhythm.
Following a series of wonderful pick and drives taking play into the hosts 22, Kenilworth eventually concede a penalty and Sutton move the ball to their fast winger, who rounds the whole team and scores under the posts from about 70 yards out – amazingly, the try goes unconverted – 10-15.
From a line out, Matt Slater took the ball and drove through the Sutton defence and Dan Rink continued the momentum and eventually Max Wiggins went over for another unconverted score to level the scores at 15-15.
Kenilworth immediately took the kick-off from Sutton and another series of pick and drives with great support from all forwards including Sam McKinnon. Jason Ford eventually latched onto the ball to drive over in the corner for another unconverted try to put Kenilworth into the lead for the first time – 20-15.
With a kickable penalty on the hosts 22, the decision was taken to kick into the corner and from a great two handed take by Ben Bosworth, the ball was initially driven forward and when recycled, the ball was popped to Matt Slater, who smashed his way over the line for the final unconverted try to take the score to 25-15.
Kenilworth brought on Darius Seyfollahi and Josh Schram in the last 10 minutes and both made their presence felt with some excellent tackling to snuff out a Sutton revival.
Without getting carried away with the win, this was a remarkable performance from a team that had showed potential the week previous, but certainly had looked out of sorts in the initial exchanges. The team spirit grew visibly during the game, as a belief in themselves and a confidence in what they were doing developed. Everyone contributed to the win and with better discipline (we gave away far too many penalties and a good kicker would have punished us), we will do even better still.
The forwards in both the tight scrums and lineouts, especially Ben Bosworth, performed admirably against far bigger lads and the backs defence proved resolute, apart from two amazing tries by the Sutton speed merchant.
The teamwork displayed by the forwards and Cory Joy at scrum-half, in their pick and drives and support play will stay long in the memories of some very proud coaches and parents on the touchline.