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Barry Robinson

We are very sorry to advise that Barry has passed away after a long illness.

Barry was an Old Lutonian who went on to play many games for the Club 1st XV both as Old Lutonians RFC and as Stockwood Park RFC.  He was a very talented and skilful Halfback. Playing mainly as a Scrum Half but often moving to Fly Half when required by the team.  He was 1st XV captain for 3 seasons from 1959 – 61 and 1963-64. He was also Club Chairman from 1970 -73. He remained a long serving Vice President and a stalwart supporter of the Club.

Barry was an exceptional sportsman and in addition to his rugby achievements he was also a very good cricketer for Luton Town CC where he was Captain for many seasons as well as playing for the Bedfordshire County side.  He was County Under 18 Tennis Champion.

There is no doubt that Barry played a major part in the in the evolving history of Stockwood Park. Not only was he a talented player and committed team member, he was also a leader with an infectious sense of humour and with many friends. He will be greatly missed.

We extend our deepest sympathy to his widow Christine and to all his family and there will be a minutes silence before the home fixture with Bedford Queens on Saturday 26th January.

Stockwood Park v Birstall

Stockwood Park followed up on their excellent victories over league front runners Northampton Casuals and Leicester Forest in their previous two league fixtures with an important bonus point victory away at mid table Birstall.

This was not the impressive performance of the two previous games, but it was a hard-earned victory against resilient opposition where Park, despite some frail defence in the first half stuck gamely to their task and eventually ran out as worthy winners. Outstanding for Park were their two lock forwards, Will Varnalls and Jack Wharton, who as well as winning some quality lineout ball also contributed to the forward effort with some strong running, particularly from man of the match Jack Wharton who also scored a try.  Behind the forwards, scrum half Alex Lovell mixed his options well and kept the side going forward.

Park were soon 7-0 behind as they made a slow start after a long coach journey.  However, some good forward interplay saw Full Back, Frank Daly, lively throughout, dive over to score with Fly Half Brandon Lewsey adding the extras.  Further pressure from the home side saw them take a 14-7 lead before Brandon Lewsey scored a try following considerable Park forward pressure.

Turning round 12-14 down and with the elements in their favour Park now took hold of the game and although Birstall worked hard until the end, Park scored further tries through Prop Dom Barnes and lock Jack Wharton, both after forward pressure. Lewsey converted one to take the score to 24-14 in Park’s favour before left wing, Kieron Ryan, took an interception and sped in from the halfway line. Lewsey added the extras to take his personal points contribution to 11 and the final score to 31 – 14.

Park’s next league fixture is at home to Bedford Queens RFC on Saturday January 26th 2.15pm

Ladies v Hampstead Ladies

On a nigh on perfect day for Rugby .. soft underfoot and not to cold or to hot … the New Year started with a bang at London Road .

Stockwoods Ladies were entertaining Hampstead in the return fixture in what is the Business end of the season …. Having defeated Hampstead by a final second try earlier in the season they were here for revenge.

Park had been playing really well just before Xmas and it was feared that perhaps the break might stop that momentum now we were going to see.

The early exchanges were fierce and Parks scrum was put under pressure but with Amy and Abbie ,Freya and P .. tackling and counter rucking despite not having much possession we were keeping Hampstead at bay …

Both teams were playing with a good structure clearly this was going to be a tough game with two evenly matched sides and it was Hampstead that struck the first blow ,having won possession in our 22 we were just starting to exert pressure of our own when Hampstead intercepted a pass and ran in to score under the posts ..with the conversion made after 10 mins it was 0-7 …

Parks response was swift winning the ball creating a platform finally managing to go through hands out to Sophie on the wing to run past 3 or 4 Hampstead players to score also under the posts .. to tie the scores up …

Katie our normal Captain and scrum half was injured and Daisy had taken up the reigns of Captain for the day with Sophie King playing at scrum half for the first time ever and her first full game for a year or so these 2 in particular were having influential games.

Hampstead however continued with their intensity and after a kick over the top Annie collected and retuned to be met by Hampsteads impressive and solid 12 who hit her hard in the tackle … Annie had to be replaced .. Lisa for the second match in a row dropped to fullback duties and the returning Debs came on at outside Centre … Sophie (winger) also had to have a break as a dead leg meant she was suffering a bit. Chloe replaced her on the wing.

The squad was being tested .. with the terrible twosome ably supported by Emma and now Lee-anne and Hannah – Park were starting to get some ascendancy .

Hampstead were still dangerous though and the 9 and 12 combined to create an overload .. Ellen was about to tackle the Hampstead player when she accidentally collided with Cath … and this left a 2 on 1 with Lisa and a dummy pass from the Hampstead girl sent her over under the posts again to go 14-7 up ..

We talked about needing another 10% if possible ..we were starting to get more possession in the forwards and Debs was getting line breaks and Daisy made several forages forward needing 4 or 5 of the opposition to stop her .

We were putting some phases together … from a penalty 5 mtrs out first Abbie then Amy then Daisy all tried to break the line ..the good thing was we kept the ball alive and recycled brilliantly … finally Tracey dived for the line to score as the ref had somehow tripped over and whilst doing a magnificent summersault still blew his whistle for the score … quite impressive … missing the conversion it was 12-14 with 6 mins or so to go to half time …

At half-time we talked about being patient as we were now getting more and more possession and they were starting to drop back off our intensity .. keep playing don’t panic game isn’t won at half-time … with Sophie (winger) returning to the fold pretty much everybody had been involved .. Ally was still due a run out …with Annie not being able to return there was a good chance she might be needed. Anyway, we made a couple of handling errors early and found ourselves defending again but managed to snuff anything out without too much difficulty ..we started to get some real go forward and with some good hands from Tracey , Fresh and Debs put Sophie away once more and she finished it well as she still had some work to do .. in the corner.

With our noses in front 17-14 .. we started to dominate the game a bit more with Freya returning our SQUAD was really making a difference especially as Hampstead started to lose some ….. however they were not giving up and possibly one of the moments of the game when from good field position Hampsteads 12 darted for the line getting past 2 defenders ….I didn’t see who did tackle her as she dived to score but whoever it was did enough to dislodge the ball from her grasp and she knocked on …. From this moment on Park pushed Hampstead back and from a break from Daisy the offloads kept the ball

Alive pretty much everybody at some stage offloaded FAY , P , Fresh and with Debs crashing onto it at the end to score was a truly sensational score … at 22-14 this gave us some breathing space … We really did dominate possession from here Sophie and Ellen looked like they had combined to score again but some desperate defending kept us out …

However we were not to be denied another score and with another great team move Fresh found the space she always does and slid through under the posts and with the conversion being made 29-14 … with Sophie King needing a break … Ally got to run out albeit 6 mins or so and Chloe with her textbook set back from a tackle ..made sure that all the squad got some minutes …

The most impressive thing about this result is the growing mental strength of these girls and the patience to trust in their skill set to see them through … we didn’t look panicked or stressed at any stage there was a clear inside belief we can win this game whatever they throw at us and so this proved …..

Home again next week … Oh when the Park !!

Defence work
Good forward work and then sooooooo close!
good attempt at break out play
try!
try!
try!
try!
and for good measure!

Stockwood Park v Northampton Casuals

Stockwood Park started 2019 in the same way that they finished 2018, with a storming victory over one of the promotion hopefuls, on this occasion Northampton Casuals, who arrived unbeaten at London Road with 11 wins out of 11 and with a 10 point advantage at the top of the league.

In their present form reputations have come to mean little for Park who played with intensity and commitment and more than matched their opponents in nearly all aspects of the game. The key to their success was that most important foundation in any success, their defence. What looked flaky in October / November has been stiffened by the return to form and fitness of Flanker Michael Powell, outstanding throughout and rightly judged the man of the match.

A mistake from the kick off put Park under immediate pressure and they were soon defending their line. However, five minutes of pressure from the visitors was firmly held by the Park defence with their “pocket dynamo“ Full back, Frank Daly,  making a crucial try saving tackle to eventually relieve the pressure.  Daly tackled bravely throughout as all Park defenders rose to the challenge.

With Park now forcing their way into the visitors half, despite losing No 8 Ben Griffin with further injury problems, it was loose head prop, Justin Harkin, prominent throughout, who opened the scoring with a strong run to the line. Casuals came straight back with a try of their own before flanker Jack Brooks, with another powerful performance on the back row, burst onto a pass following some excellent team interplay to score a try which Centre Steve Pollock adding the extras.  Park led 12-5 at halftime.

Casuals started the second half powerfully, but a combination of handling errors and powerful Park defence kept the visitors at bay before Park moved to a 19-10 lead when Flankers Brooks and Powell latched onto a visitors handling error for Michael Powell to drive over for the score. Steve Pollock converted the try with an excellent kick. Casuals now attacked again but Park held firm. The visitors kicked a penalty on the final whistle to secure a losing bonus point but this was Park’s day and they were able to celebrate a fine team performance and an excellent victory in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.

Next week Park travel to Birstall RFC near Leicester.

Stockwood Park 22 Leicester Forest 5

In near zero temperatures and driving rain for most of the game, Stockwood Park produced their most complete performance of the season to comprehensively defeat high flying Leicester Forest by 22 points to 5, scoring four tries in the process and securing themselves a valuable bonus point.

Park won the match because their no-nonsense game plan set out by their Coaching team, led by head Coach Tom Edmunds, entirely suited the artic conditions and with an outstanding team performance, particularly by their forward pack, and led from the front by their skipper and hooker Tom Childs, they executed the plan with great skill and total commitment.  Childs deservedly was named man of the match.  Park’s forwards were relentless, none more so than the back row of Michael Powell, Jack Brooks and number 8 Ben Griffin. Behind the forwards Park’s half backs, Alex Lovell and Brandon Lewsey kicked with intelligence and risked nothing in the difficult conditions.

Park got off to a perfect start when after five minutes, a short break down the blind side by Powell released Park’s speedy left-wing Kieron Ryan. Ryan rounded both his opposite number and the visitors full back to score a fine try. Park now grew in confidence, maintaining pressure on the visitors and maximising on their errors, fly half Brandon Lewsey sold a neat dummy to go over for a try which he converted.  Forest then scored a good try of their own before, on the stroke of halftime, Park’s No 8 Ben Griffin, a constant threat to the visitors, crashed over for a try which gave Park a 17-5 lead at the break.

With playing conditions worsening Park started the second half as they had finished the first. Some relentless pressure on the visitors’ defence saw Lewsey complete a fine team move to score his own second try and give Park a 22-5 lead which they did not relinquish.

Park now have a two week break before they entertain the unbeaten league leaders Northampton Casuals at home on January 5th.

LADIES JUST FALL SHORT AT HITCHIN

Stockwood ladies showed yet again how much improvement they have made in the last couple of season by narrowly being defeated away at unbeaten league leaders Hitchin on Sunday.

In a wonderful advert for ladies rugby the game ebbed and flowed with Stockwood at first having to defend their line for the majority of the first half. Some wonderful defending from front row pair Abbie and Amy and the true never say die Stockwood spirit, shown especially by the excellent Hannah, they kept the hosts at bay and gradually Stockwood confidence grew and they were able to turn defence into attack.

A Hitchin chip over the top very nearly resulted in a score, especially when the ball rebounded off the post, thankfully full back Annie was cool enough not to panic and touch the ball down, before the on rushing Hitchin attack could get there.

Our hosts began to get more and more frustrated as they were unable to turn possession into scores and a succession of Stockwood turnovers form Shania, Abbie and Amy allowed Danni, Daisy and Freya to get us going forward and put doubt into Hitchin’s play.

With good clearances from fly half Tracey, especially as we were playing into a strong breeze, Stockwood began to get some authority of their own on proceedings. With our captain, Katie, having to go off with a knee injury midway through the half, some teams may have panicked, however Charli, playing her first game as Scrum Half, really stepped up and we were able to build some quality play of our own.

The last 15 minutes of the half really belonged to us, the hard work of our defence now bearing fruit as we were now getting to see more and more of the ball. Stockwood now had the platform to attack and Fresh, Sophie Ellen and Lil were able to get us going forward and at times get behind our opponents, who were now on the back foot, however their defence was also equal to ours.

On the stroke of half time all of Stockwood hard work paid off, a great platform built by the forwards allowed Tracey and Fresh to link up, gain 10 meter’s and get outside centre Sophie into a small amount of space. From the half way line she was able to weave her way around the outside of three despairing tackles to touch down in the corner and give Park 5-0 lead at half time. A memorable moment for all of us involved, but credit to Sophie who was coolness personified, every time it looked like she had been caught she changed her angle and found that vital space, that she adores so much. 

Hitchin are an excellent side and are not unbeaten for a reason and Park were fully aware that the second half was going to be difficult and ten minutes into the half our defences were broken for the first time.  This gave Hitchin more confidence and Stockwood were struggling to get any clear possession of the ball and wave after wave of attacks were repelled by some truly remarkable defending by Faye, Hannah and Abbie. On at least four occasions Hitchin crossed our whitewash only to be denied points, by players getting underneath the ball or holding our opponents up. It really was a remarkable passage of play, where sheer determination and will power was evident in everyone of Stockwood’s players.

Unfortunately the lack of being able to get the ball from our opponents in this period of the game resulted in one too many attacks and as a result midway through the half Hitchin got their noses in front.

As expected due to such a tough and physical game some of the Stockwood players were now feeling the strain, however the squad we have is outstanding. Hazel was able to come off the bench twice to give players a breather for two good shifts and Pariese also came on 

A mark of how far this team has come however was their reaction to going behind, as the whole team were somehow able to increase their levels of performance and determination, with the remainder of the game seeing Hitchin defences being probed and tested time and time again.

Stockwood began to vary their play, Tracey putting in a lovely kick in over the top for Sophie to catch and just get caught. Fresh seeing more of the ball was now punching her way through, our support play was also allowing Hannah, Pariese, Amy and Daisy to get us going forward and the general structure of our play by all the players was excellent.

Ellen looked like she had managed to break through only to be thwarted by a superb tackle at her feet. Then there was a succession of scrums, Cathy who had been in excellent form all day rallied the forwards and time after time Stockwood drove the league leaders back.

The last few minutes were really nip and tuck, Kiera and Cath were now on the wings and were able to contribute and then Sophie received an awful high tackle that resulted in a yellow card for the opposition player.

Unfortunately for Park with time running out they were unable to take advantage of their numerical advantage and could not break the white wash, for what would have been a deserved equalising score.

So Hitchin continue their unbeaten run with a 10-5 win, but Stockwood should now look to maintain this level of performance for the rest of the season. The team spirit showed today, by the whole squad, from the moment we arrived at Hitchin to when we left the bar following the speeches, was excellent and if we maintain this level of commitment in training and match days there is no limit to how far this team could go.

We must not concentrate on what happened at the end of the match as this will only take away from an excellent display by the team. Truly excellent performances from every member of the squad with Hannah and Charli excelling, however this level of performance must now be repeated until the end of the season.Special mention to a great turn out from Stockwood Park supporters, which  was really appreciated from everyone associated with the team. OWTP!

Ladies vs Kilburn Cosmos

This Sunday saw the visit of Kilburn to London Road a team who have experienced a lot of bad luck over recent seasons with injuries leaving them with a bare squad

However what you cannot take away from them is the spirit and determination they have to continue to play Rugby at all costs.

They arrived with 11 and after discussions surrounding potentially lending them players as we had a squad of 20 … Kilburn wanted to play with just their team as they are training to

Play 10s ….

For us it is a bit foreign and these smaller sided games we don’t like as we just aren’t very good at it …. However having been prepared for the potential we had trained on Thursday for this specific occurrence

so hopefully it will bear some fruit.

The other issue with a big squad is ensuring everybody gets game time especially in a small sided game .. and if we were making constant changes that effects the flow of our game … albeit a better problem to have .

We decided as the scrums were uncontested to pair up second rows for 10 min spells .. Freya and Danni , Hannah and Fran , Faye and P and Leeanne rotating with Fran and Hannah …. With Abbi driving from Bristol and hadn’t arrived Hazel started in the front row with Cath and Shania…

With Katie , Tracey , Fresh , Sophie and Ellen .. making up the starting 10 .. let’s see what happens. …

As a coach one of the best things that can happen is that your side listen to your instructions and implement the plan you think will work … We have been fortunate enough to have Ellen and Sophie in the squad and they are quick and with the width that would be available we must look to use them …. The early skirmishes were Kilburn pushing us back .. but suddenly Freya and Danni ,Cath Hazel and Shania started to counter ruck and turned over possession the ball as requested was moved fast and out to Sophie .. who fixed the last defender and released Ellen to run into the corner … 5-0 and a great start exactly how we wanted it … there was quite a strong wind behind us and we had also talked about popping the ball over for chasers as there would be no full back and tons of space … from the re-start we had a scrum just in our half .. we pop the ball to Tracey who dinks it over the upcoming defence Sophie is on it steadies herself and accelerates away to score under the posts and with Tracey making the conversion it 12-0 in no-time and when Sophie is released again with good hands at 17-0 very quickly allowed us to make a few quick changes with a different second row and Fran going on at prop because Hazel needed a break . We needed also to try the opportunity of mixing things up and Charlie came on and Tracey took a break as she was going to try out scrum half so we have cover should there be any issue with Katie .

As mentioned at the start Kilburn always came hard and were very good at keeping the ball moving ..taking advantage of the slight drop in intensity as the changes settled into the game moved the ball well to create an overlap and their 14 had enough gas to get around the defence and score under the posts and with the conversion made 17-7 … and showed we couldn’t relax as Kilburn were good players …

This woke us up again and for the rest of the half we dominated even making changes with second row constantly changing every 10 mins and all the girls passing the ball and going wide Sophie scored a further 3 tries and Ellen added to her tally and with Hannah converting one and Tracey 2 ..the score was now 43-7 .. However we had to work for everything as Kilburn were slightly quicker to the breakdown. on one occasion turned the ball over and again put a good phase together to score before the half time whistle and at 43-12 .. we turned around …

Abbie had now arrived and we rotated again with Keara going on and Chloe staying on and Annie also that was everybody in the game … Ellen and Sophie were having a rest and so let’s see what might happen … With the girls maintaining the pressure albeit a less experienced back line .. we were good at covering and both Annie and Keara making great tackles to thwart some breaks … the forwards decided to get in on the act a bit now and with Shania making a clean break from a ruck she looked for all the world she was going to score but was caught and Kilburn defended well to keep us out … from a penalty 10 mtrs out Abbie got on the ball and crashed over to score a fine try .

Kilburn came straight back at us and again were very good at keeping the ball alive and again managed to get over the whitewash for what turned out to be their final score ….

Understandably Kilburn were tiring and with Sophie and Ellen retuning on rotation Sophie managed to score 3 more times from distance and with Fran adding her , burst out of the ruck score, maintaining here feat of scoring against Kilburn .. Tracey converting 3 out of 4 the game came to an end at 74-9

For us it turned out to be a comfortable score but to be fair to Kilburn .. it was anything but comfortable if we hadn’t stuck to the game plan it would have become an arm wrestle which we normally do in these situations .. looking at Harlow in particular if we had played like today we would have won that game comfortably instead of the nervy tense finish we actually had …

Everybody played . everybody was really good and we made few mistakes really hence the score line … take some confidence and if we can combine the back play of this week with the forward play against Haringey… we will be a very difficult proposition for any team …

Final note on Kilburn .. you cannot fail to be impressed with the attitude and commitment they show and they clearly enjoy playing Rugby … if you live in North London .. I suggest you give Kilburn a ring a fantastic club that need some Ladies …

For us next up is Hitchin .. always a tough encounter … the training in the last few weeks has been really good and the performances are starting to show it …. Final note of the day .. I believe that Sophie’s tally maybe a club record for the Senior section in one game ….. and right now I think she is the leading try scorer in the club with her 14 at Senior Level …. Considering she has only played 6 games of Rugby ever ..this is truly phenomenal ….. ……. come on the Park …..

Another tough game for the ladies

On yet another perfect day for Rugby the next instalment of our journey was to take place in Haringey as we had yet another away game.

Feeling a little more buoyed from the previous week after finding out that the Lady that caused us all the problems was an ex semi –professional and one time Saracens player ..that really is too good for this level …

We again had a squad of 20 and with a lot of travelling support arrived with perhaps our strongest team this year .. Hitchin game apart, We were still without a couple of regulars due to injury but none-the less a solid squad .

A lot of discussion prior to ko was around trying to be a bit more assertive and to play our game whilst stopping the opposition from playing theirs .. it was always going to be a close / tough encounter as Haringey have had a good start to the season having lost only once and that was to

Hitchin who now sit top of the table … but clearly they would be confident and well structured .

Having chosen to kick up hill and into the sun ,as we felt the slope and the dipping sun would help us in the second half, the game started at a pace .. our intensity was good and we were making the tackles and competing at the rucks … however Haringey were very good at offloading in the tackle .. keeping the ball alive .. with good hands they attacked out wide and despite tackles being made kept the ball moving to score in the corner.. .conversion missed 5 mins in 5-0 down ….

Potentially not deserved but none the less a good score .. important not to drop off we continued with Fran and Fay getting to the breakdowns . the terrible twosome of Amy and Abbie ..giving some good impetus .. Daisy , Hannah and Cath getting around the park well .. if anything when we had possession we were a little flat with our back line allowing Haringey to disrupt our attempts to get it out to Sophie and Ellen … Charlie on the other wing was having a good game holding her position and making her tackles … and when she did bite in it was the right call and she stopped several forays by Haringey …

Getting little change out of our forwards ..the scrum was dominant all day and the line out good as well … we were getting plenty of possession but not quite clicking with the attack … Haringey managed again to keep the ball moving and scored again in the corner to take them out to 10-0 after 20 mins or so ..

With the depth of squad we changed up a bit with Freya replacing Daisy .. Emma for Fay .. P for Shania and Amber for Ellen … this had a good effect as the fresh legs in the forwards gave a real boost , we started to really get the upper hand and with the backs starting to click we were looking dangerous .. however from an error in midfield Haringey managed to pounce and once again had enough to get over in the corner to go 15-0 up …. With 10 minutes left we felt that the score wasn’t reflective of the play and continued to play as we had … we then found ourselves in clear ascendancy as we pushed to try and get a score before half time .. with both Fresh and Sophie making clear line breaks only the excellent Haringey full back kept us out .. and with an attacking lineout on Haringey’s 5 metre line had a real opportunity .. completing the catch and setting for a driving maul sent Haringey backwards at a rate only for the ref to blow and say they weren’t competing therefore the maul was never formed .. whilst they hadn’t competed for the jump I did feel they engaged at the maul .. a fine call that didn’t go our way … and with a final push from the restart Haringey kept us out 15-0 at half-time.

It felt not right I think 10-5 would have been a fairer reflection as the forwards had dominated from 20 mins on and a few 50-50s didn’t go with us …. The second half we talked about patience and continuing how we were because we would have to create chances … Our intensity was excellent Katie and Tracy were linking well and we were pushing Haringey back .. Our intensity was beginning to have an effect as Haringey were not maintaining theirs .we started to turn some ball over and the counter rucking had been excellent all day .. Amy and Freya / Daisy and Fran making excellent breaks pushing us forward .. Haringey were tackling a bit high and the ref was warning them as we started to ramp up the pressure again the full back stopped 2 clean line breaks … and she was to prove a real thorn in our sides … from another penalty in the centre we got some real go forward and Amy decided she was going to score .. with 3 or 4 Haringey players hanging off her she drove to the line and scored under the posts … missing the conversion .. because we rushed it ?? …. We restarted … the game was now very much about us .. on the front foot with everybody contributing from the bench and then returning to keep things fresh .. Haringey managed to get a break from midfield and went up the line managing to keep the ball live … and when they finally got to score in the corner again .. there was a little murmuring as the girl had gone someway into touch and not been flagged … now previously this would have caused a meltdown .. but we refocussed and just played even better …. At 20-5 with 20 mins or so left we had time and the ascendancy … the full back managed to stop another of our clean breaks ..and this was getting on my nerves a bit to be honest … from a penalty Katie moved the ball Tracey to Fresh and we had moved Sophie to inside centre and she had enough room this time to accelerate away and score behind the posts and with Tracey making the conversion 20-12 with a good 10 minutes or so left ..Haringey were losing players to our intensity and they had received a yellow card for repeated high tackling we really did have the bit between our teeth but just could not get past the fullback who had a terrific game … when finally the ref blew for the end … whilst it had been a really good game and fiercely contested by both sides it felt like we could have won the game …

However for us it shows you Ladies you can compete with the top teams in this league .. we need to show more confidence and the effort of yesterday all the time every game and we will be right in there ….

Well done to you all .. can’t really separate anybody as stand out .. Abbie and Amy are a force and when supported by the rest of the forwards it’s an irresistible force… Ellen and Sophie are pocket rockets if we can get the ball to them … Katie had a good game at scrum half and and and … everybody was truly excellent… too difficult to separate out … which is a massive positive … this team if it can play together more than once will go places …..

It didn’t feel like a loss because of the great rugby played .. and to be honest if we played with that heart and determination every time and lost every time it wouldn’t matter …. But let me assure you if we play like that every time we will win more than we lose ……. Final note we had a young referee yesterday who was extremely good ….. think he should get a mention ….

SPRFC U17 versus Watford U17

We welcomed an old adversary in Watford U17s to an unusually sunny November day in Luton for a friendly encounter!!

For the second weekend in a row Stockwood started the stronger of the two sides and having secured a couple of breakdowns on the right the ball was passed through the hands of the backs to allow Connor to run in his first try of the season. A second try followed shortly after as Kieran put a kick over the top of Watford’s defence and although they managed to clear their lines with a box kick of their own they only managed to find Steven who ran the ball back and scythed through their defence. After a couple of phases the ball found its way back to Steven on the right wing for him to score the first of his four tries.

The next try not only caught Watford out but also me on the camera! Watford were caught offside on their 22 meter line and a quick tap and pass by Will from the resulting penalty led to Steven scoring his second try and Kieran making his first conversion with an excellent kick from the wing. Stockwood switched off temporarily and allowed Watford to score their first try of the day.

A breakaway run from Steven on the right led to a ruck won by Stockwood and a feed to Luke meant Stockwood once again were camped in Watford’s half. Another sequence of quick balls across the back line resulted in a strong run from Jordan to get Stockwood’s fourth try. Unfortunately, with some stroppy play and a number of missed tackles, Watford were gifted their second try under the posts, which was duly converted – making the score 22 points to 12.

Stockwood once again came back strongly and having absorbed a period of pressure Watford again conceded a penalty and once again Will caught everyone out with another bit of quick thinking which culminated in Mark running through the oppositions defence to score on the right. Kieran made the second of his four conversions with another strong kick from the righthand side.

Stockwood now found themselves totally in charge and another good passage of play resulted in Olly scoring between the sticks, a try that was converted by Kieran. This was to be the last score of the first half as the match took a slightly dark turn. As Steven ran the ball out of defence two of the Watford players pushed him into a post to which he took offence and as a result we had 29 teenagers all facing up to each other with Riz in the middle to restore some order. From the resulting penalty Stockwood once again put our visitors under pressure and from one of the resulting breakdowns tempers once again flared and it was at this point that Riz quite rightly decided to diffuse the situation and ended the first half early.

Both sets of coaches must have had words with their teams to calm down in the second half, with the score at 36 points to 12 in Stockwood’s favour.

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first with Steven scoring his third try. Again, this was a good team try with our forwards securing a well executed line out ball with a good interchange between Kieran and Joe L and strong run and offload from Kieran allowed Steven to score in the corner. To be fair to Watford they once again came back strongly and scored their third try of the day.

Not to be outdone Stockwood’s reply was instant and after some controlled play our very own ‘battering ram’ – Mark collected a ball from Will and again ran through Watford’s defence to score his second try of the day. All of the tries we scored today were really good but the next try was probably my favourite – Stockwood won the put in at a scrum on Watford’s 10 meters line. Will played a quick ball out to Kieran who in turn passed to Steven who took the ball at pace and once again was too strong for the Watford defence and ran in his fourth try of the day and Kieran successfully converted it to pick up his fourth conversion of the day. Olly scored Stockwood’s tenth and final try of the day off the back of another line out won by the forwards and a strong drive leading to Olly putting the ball down. By reckoning that made the final score 58 points to 22 in our favour.

I thought every single player today was immense and we thoroughly deserved our victory. The forwards put Watford under pressure from the start and were quicker to the breakdowns than their counterparts with big hits from Kye, Joe and Dan to name but a few. The backs used the ball intelligently and passed it accurately. Will once again delivered a promise to Rob, executing a box kick in the second half to relieve pressure that Stockwood were under and allowed us to gain valuable distance. If anything it could be said that sometimes we are too nice and this was shown when Kieran flattened one of the Watford forwards and stopped to check his was okay – not something their players did!

2xv draw to Bedford Athletic

After a last minute fixture drop out by Rushden, Park 2XV were given a tough replacement fixture against Beds Ath 2XV. Park 2XV struggling with a make shift front row with Aaron Beattie returning from a long lay off and Tadgh O Conchobhair stepping in to play as props with game day captain Iain McGregor.

Park showed resolute defence and quick line breaks through guidance of Frank Daly at fly half. Park continued to dominate in the pack with stand in flanker Matt Jones who continued to also gain territory with boot to camp Ath in their own half. However with the solid defence from Park, Beds Ath made a quick break from the back of their scrum and scored in the corner which was also converted just before the stroke of half time.

Park continued their game plan in the second half with dominant scrums and fast line breaks which resulted in a quick move through the hands of the back line to Tom Anderson on the wing with a try under the posts and converted by Matt Jones.

Park continued to press for the winning try but, were unsuccessful. A really solid performance from a really strong resolute Park which had their back up against the wall even before the game.

Result Stockwood Park 2XV 7 Bedford Athletic 2XV 7.