Old Albanians versus Stockwood RFC
14th January 2018
For the first time this season, with help from the U17’s, we were able to just about field two teams. A team made up of players from the U16 were joined by the U17s as Stockwood sent a team of 16 players up to play Brackley in a friendly.
The rest of the available U16 squad went to Old Albanians to play in the Herts & Middlesex league. Although we were supposed to have 15 players one pulled out at the last minute, so we were left with a team of 14! As the OAs had a squad of 22 players it was agreed that one of their players would play for us.
It was obvious from watching our opponents warming up that they were taking the game seriously having found themselves on the wrong end of results against us in recent matches.
There are a lot of positives to take out of todays game and I feel the result did not reflect the effort and spirit the boys showed throughout the game. The OAs started the game the stronger and ran in a couple of scores early on because of several missed tackles and poor decision making by Stockwood. Unfortunately, this pattern of play continued throughout the first half although I have to say the boys’ heads did not drop at any time.
I am not sure what was said at halftime but if our opponents they were going to have much of the same in the second half they were in for a shock. Old Albanians again started the stronger but whereas in the first half they scored early Stockwood dug in and gave as good as they got! In fact, for the first 23 minutes of the second half they took on board and OAs were unable to breach our line, the ref commented that it was the best counter rucking he had witnessed form this age group this season! The boys should be proud of the resilience they showed but as the OAs introduced fresh legs you could see our boys tiring.
Not to be outdone though we had a few breakaways ourselves and had it not been for a combination of last ditch defending and some dubious tackling by our opponents Stockwood would have scored!
I think the boys that played today should ignore the score as it was not a true reflection of the game. They need to take the positives out of the match: all 14 of our players played the full game whereas their opponents were able to use substitutions and put on fresh legs when needed; they didn’t let their heads drop at any stage and they showed strength and resilience in their counter rucking.
The boys need to remember that when playing opponents who are physically bigger then you trying to tackle around their chests does not work they need to tackle round the legs. If they could have cut out the missed tackles and passed the ball though the hands more often I am sure they would have got the rewards they deserved in the match. That said as said before they should take all positives forward and just remember how they stopped a strong physical side from Old Albanians for large parts of the games.
Well done lads more of the same next week!!