Brackley 7 – 52 Stockwood u16’s
Match report by Robert Coupland
On a grey mild January afternoon at Brackley rugby club we were treated to a very pleasing performance by the under 16’s, especially in the first half were the team surprisingly appeared to have retained what they had been taught in training during the week. They were quick to the rucks and winning the ball, they moved up as a line and showed good game awareness.
From the very onset they dominated the opposition, starting with a powerful run from the captain Dan Loft who unselfishly passed the ball on the try line to the player outside him who unfortunately dropped it, however, he did make amends immediately afterwards from a very well set up and worked move the ball was switched from the open side to Kieran on the blind side. Kieran then passed to Max who then gave it back on the inside to Reece who was in full flight and burst over the line for the first score. Shortly afterwards they kept the pressure on with Max and Kieran breaking free, Max drawing the full back in and releasing Kieran to score. A few minutes later Kieran returned the favour and passed the ball to put Max over for Stockwood third try. At this point the backs were relishing good ball from a hardworking pack. When Brackley had the ball Dan “the destroyer” Loft, throughout the entire match, persistently harassed and spoiled it and the backs added to Brackley’s woe with great line speed and moving up together as a line was most impressive.
Stockwoods fourth try was again good forward work leading to good ball out to the backs which led to Steven breaking through the Brackley defence to score the first of his two first half tries. The other tries in the first half came from two great individual runs from Jordan and Calum G. Kieran “the boot” converted five out of the seven first half tries.
The first half was rugby played as it should be forwards getting stuck in doing the dirty work and backs creating opportunities and supporting one another and converting pressure into points.
The half finally finished 45- 0 to Stockwood it was a one-sided half but that was due to Stockwood not allowing Brackley to play, with some much-improved rucking from the forwards and some great back support and finishing and plenty of bruising hits from all.
The second half started very differently with Brackley not down beaten but showing lots of grit and character and scoring from a good well working running maul they added the conversion to make the score 45:7 to Stockwood.
At this point a few Stockwood players changed into alternate positions and a bit of over complacency confidence kicked in. However, when put under any further pressure from Brackley they defended ferociously and were under instructions not to let in anymore scores.
One of the above positional changes made by the coach was to move Joe “the juggernaut” Ladley from no8 to outside centre along with Mark “masher” Smith onto the right wing, both boys now playing in their preferred positions! This was to prove a great tactical move when Kieran passed the ball out to Max who drew the defence in and offloaded the ball to Joe in the 13 position who had Mark outside him on the wing, but Joe stepped on the gas and had the pace to score himself. Kieran converted to make the score 52:7 to Stockwood. No more points were scored in the second half but Brackley didn’t throw in the towel and pressed hard at times and Stockwood were guilty of one of their consistent errors this season giving far too many penalties away.
It was at one of these penalties that the Brackley forwards took the ball running, as a pack hard and aggressively at the Stockwood boys who were defending close to their own line. This certainly was an intimidating sight however far from intimidated “sturdy” Spain and “rhino” Reece ran and met them like a two-man wrecking ball. This was my personal highlight of an experimental second half which was not played at the physical and mental intensity of the first half – but then 35 minutes mental intensity from teenagers is half an hour more than usual.
The game ended 52:7 to Stockwood in a well played match by all the players and the greatest accolade of all was the compliments paid by the Brackley coaches and the crowd that came out to watch from the clubhouse to see ‘some champagne festival rugby’.
Playing like this, improving weekly, I don’t believe there is a team we have played this or last season that can beat us on this performance!