U16s made the trip today to St.Neots RFC for their first league game of the season. Even though we had 4 boys out injured and 1 unavailable we still managed to take a squad of 21 across the border to Cambridgeshire and the larger squad made a telling difference later in the game. Last seasons game at the same venue proved to be a tough one and we were expecting much the same again today, indeed St. Neots started well and utilised a well worked overlap to score early first. Stockwood though responded well and replied just a few minutes later. Stockwood forwards then started to impose themselves in the ruck and contact area, putting into practice much of the work we have been concentrating on in training. However, St. Neots managed to work another overlap to score again in an almost identical way to their earlier try. The defensive lessons of being drawn inside and leaving large areas of grass for Saints to run in to were quickly learnt with the pressure the forwards were creating on the Saints defence soon started to tell and by half time we were 20-10 up. Kieran Taylor having hit the upright 3 times in a row while attempting conversions, an unlucky set of kicks, the likes of which I doubt he will ever manage again in his rugby career, even if he tried.
The half time team talk was possibly one of the easiest we have had to give, basically more of the same.
The second half followed the pattern of the last 20 minutes of the first, with replacements all making contributions and enabling us to keep the on pitch team fresh by rotating them around. As I mentioned earlier this gave us a major advantage over Saints who were not able to do the same and fatigue in their side became a deciding factor as our boys continued to capitalise on the platform created by the forwards. Romario Pelle completed a hat trick in his first game on the wing, with Luke Corsie, Sam Tenny, Michael Keady Wallis, Josh Hempsall and Louis Palmer all scoring in the game and Kieran Taylor hitting 3 conversions. To my eyes I think this was probably the most complete game of rugby I think I have seen this group play with hard running, quickly won rucks, good counter-rucking, and nice hands from the backs to finish the moves. If I were to be picky we have some work to do in the line out, scrum, offload decision making and passing the ball into the right areas for an easier catch but that is to be overly negative, it was a fine performance of which the coaches were very proud and the boys should be too for both their individual and collective efforts.
Final score 10-46