Another weekend for the underdog!!

Stockwood Park RFC U16’s 19:12 Towcestrians RFC U16’s
Match report by Robert Coupland
Today the visitors to Stockwood Park were Towcestrians U16’s. They came with a big reputation currently being the top team in the top league of the East Midlands League One having beaten Bedford Blues and Kettering already this season.
After the first ten minutes it was evident why this team were the best in the East Midlands, they were fast to the rucks, confident with the ball in hand, supported each other not just in attack but in defence as well and their game awareness was equally as good.
However, the score after 10 minutes was 0:0 and Stockwood were doing well to be hanging in but it looked only a matter of time before you felt the Towcestrians would score (or so I thought)
Well the boys had a different idea I don’t know if it was the last few weeks intense training in the cold wet mud that kicked in or the frustration of GCSE revision but they lifted their game not only to match the opposition but to surpass them. They were quicker to the breakdowns, stronger in the tackle and confident with the ball in hand. The work rate of the Stockwood players was off the scale and I was sure a few of our players were going to burn themselves out, how wrong I was, as they all carried on giving their hearts and souls for the whole game with no drop in intensity. It was Towcestrians who came off the pitch at the end of the match blowing the hardest. Our players came off the pitch physically hurting because this was the best opposition they have played against as a team and they were made to work for every second of the seventy minutes.
Now to the small matter of the score. It was midway through the first half when Stockwood were awarded a scrum 10 metres from the opposition line. Connor fed the ball in, which quickly went to the number 8’s feet and the scene was set. The scrum was steady and controlled Connor was waiting at the back and the backs line was set to attack. At this point in the game I felt confident the ball was going out through the backs (well how many times can I get it wrong?!!) Raf had a different idea, he picked the ball up at the base of the scrum playing his first game as number 8 and went for the line like an exorcet missile diving over for the first try of the game which was duly converted by Kieran and against all expectations The Park were 7:0 in front.
Towards the end of the first half the ball had travelled through the hands of several players (not sure which ones, sorry). Max had the ball with two men on him and managed to offload to Joe Ladley who ran strongly before passing out to old Jordan who does what he does best run fast and strong to score the second try of the game and the reliable boot of Kieran converted. There were no more scores in the first half which ended 14:0 to Stockwood. Now you might think I am a pessimist but as impressed as I was with the boys I knew Towcestrians would come back hard in the second half and I questioned how much we had left in the tank.
The second half started as I predicted the opposition scoring one converted try followed by a second unconverted try. I certainly won’t be buying a lottery ticket in the near future because the rest of my prediction was not for the first, second or third time wrong! The boys did have more left in the tank and one of those boys took the ball from the ruck and forced his way over to get his well deserved first try of the season and the winning try of the match in the biggest game of the season ( well done Callum McIntyre). Kieran missed the conversion but this was due to the fact the ball still had some of his face on it from an earlier heroic charge down which was the epitome of the effort and courage the boys gave all day. The final score was 19:12 to Stockwood and in my opinion the best result in the three years I have watched this team. Ironically the captain Dan Loft walked off the pitch with a small shirt on his back but I am sure he wore it with a big heart because he should be very proud of his team today and himself for a great performance.

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