A hard fought victory for the U16’s

Stockwood Park U16’s 14:7 Oundle U16’s
Match report by Robert Coupland

A hard fought victory for the U16’s leaving us top of the table in East Midlands League with one game to go!!

Today the visitors to the Park were Oundle RFC. This was our third match in the East Midlands league having won the previous two. The boys confidence and self belief was high coming into this encounter after winning all our previous league matches this season!

From the very beginning the Stockwood boys put instant pressure on Oundle camping in their half however, unlike previous teams this season Oundle didn’t buckle under the pressure in fact some of the defending on the their own line was quite admirable, powerful runs from both props, Kye and Mark were rebuked on the line as well as a strong trademark runs by Reece at No.8 and Jordan F down the wing only to be well tackled by the Oundle fullback.

The first half was dominated both territorially and possession wise by Stockwood and whilst I have given credit to the Oundle defence I also thought Stockwood did have several opportunities to score and unfortunately they made a lot of unforced errors at crucial times spilling the ball. It’s also only fair to say in the boys defence it was not the best conditions for handling with a strong bitter wind driving diagonally across the pitch.

Eventually the lads converted the pressure into points with a try from Reece who started and finished the move, with Max tackled short in the middle and Will giving the final pass. Kieran converted what was a very difficult kick from a few metres infield into a cross wind and the Park broke what seemed like at the time an eternal deadlock to go 7:0 ahead.

However, rather than the floodgates opening the old cliche about been at your weakest straight after scoring came true. Within seconds of the kick off the boys were guilty of ball watching and letting Oundle help themselves to easy uncontested possession. A few minutes later trying to clear our lines, a kick by Kieran was well charged down and chased to the line by one of the Oundle players who touched it down to score which was successfully converted making the scores 7:7 at half time.

Some substitutions were made at half time and entering the game was the baby of the team little Jordan. Instantly into the battle he ran with passion and power at the opposition who struggled to put him down, he fiercely contended for the ball in and around the ruck and brought something extra to the game and this was exemplified when one of the Oundle players made a strong run and was tackled well by Dan L from behind and rather than waiting for the player to hit the ground, Little Jordan hit him full on with his formidable frame – “Ouch!”

Eventually the deadlock was broken by an offload from Anset to Arnold who went over to score and Kieran converted to make the score 14:7. We have been so spoilt to a try fest the last few weeks I again like the first half was expecting the floodgates to open. But all credit to the resilience of the Oundle boys they lay seige to the Stockwood half. This time Stockwood showed their defensive prowess with some great tackles and commitment by all the team not to allow the opposition in.

They call Tarik Mr Tickle for obvious reasons however ask any of the Oundle boys and I think they would not have been laughing when he tackled them! Time after time he made big hits one after another to halt the Oundle attack. His performance in the second half was nothing short of astounding until unfortunately he had to come off with a head injury – we all wish you a speedy recovery Tarik!

After what seemed like the longest half of rugby ever, the final whistle blew and the relief and excitement at grinding out a deserved win was apparent on the faces of all the boys and those on the sidelines.

In summation , we tackled well, played with passion, a few too many handling errors and gave away far too many penalties but the league statistics show Stockwood under 16’s played 3 won 3 and we have deserved all three wins. We have been playing as a team many years less than our opposition have which probably explains the numerous penalties we gave away and our naivety at times in how to break down a strong defence.

Again like previous weeks players and parents not playing in today’s game came to give their support on a bitterly cold day showing great club/team spirit.

Well done boys!

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