Category: U16 Match Report

Finchley RFC versus Stockwood Park U16

Finchley RFC 20:33 Stockwood Park U16’s

Match report by Robert Coupland

Today it was London Calling for the Stockwood boys who were away at Finchley. It was excellent conditions for a game of rugby although a little cold. Going into this game both teams had some good wins under their belts and I was anticipating a good clash.

Initially the boys were put under pressure resulting in an early try for Finchley who missed the conversion to go 5:0 up. Finchley continued with the pressure which the Stockwood lads defended well against and some great defence exemplified by Max holding the opposition up over the line. But unfortunately he wasn’t going to last much longer due to a pre match injury and Reece Sweeney was waiting to get the call up following the EMRU cancellation.

The next points came from a Stockwood penalty deep in the Finchley half. The forwards lined up ready to drive the ball forward from the tap but the ball went swiftly through the back line instead fooling the Finchley defence leading to G.I. Joe Ladley going over for the first of his two tries. Kieran failing to convert but hitting the post. The next two scores in the first half were by some great back play culminating in Steve Missen and Reece Sweeney both scoring with Kieran converting both, making the half time score 5:19 to Stockwood. This set the tone for the second half and early on Finchley had the put in on the scrum in their own 10 metre line. A scrum half should always be testing the referee and scrum halves should know your rights. Will was asking the question should I stay or should I go. He decided to go and pounce on the opposition scrum half who spilled the ball for the ever present Dan Loft to pick up and score, again Kieran converting. Later in the game Will was unlucky not to repeat his sacking of the opposition scrum half at the scrummage and it was a case of he fought the law and the law won. The referee blowing up for offside.

The following points went to Finchley and the score was 10:26 to Stockwood. The main threat from Finchley was their large pack not the Brixton guns but big guns all the same, time after time their big runners were stopped in their tracks by some great and tenacious defence. In fact we had our own one man battering ram Mark ‘tommy gun’ Smith. You could see non of our boys train in vain and subsequently reaped the rewards for all the hard weeks work. Today’s match was probably the best team display of well supported unselfish back play ( Joe and Reece both playing their preferred roles in the backs) they were the magnificent seven which was epitomised by Stockwoods last try scored by G.I. Joe who danced past Ivan to support Kieran doing well to stay free which enabled Kieran to off load beautifully for him to score his second try and nicely converted by Kieran to make the score 33:10

Finchley did get two late consolation tries it was hardly death or glory making the final score a comfortable 20:33 win for Stockwood u16’s. Who travelled back up the m1 proudly smiling to themselves that Londons Burning after their dazzling performance.

As mentioned earlier the backs ran well for each other, supported well, took the ball at pace and found support if needed. I thought Steven Missen was outstanding and was closely followed by all the backs in a great team performance.

After the final whistle I was surprised considering this is England to hear the three coaches talking about Spain. Well actually it turned out to be Dan Spain and it’s not often you will hear all three coaches agree on anything but their overall consensus was what a excellent contribution Dan Spain made today and makes week in week out landing those hard tackles (Spanish bombs) never getting the accolades or glory of others or man of the match but definitely a real contender for player of the season due to his consistent high standard of hard forward graft every game. A well earned and truly deserved tribute.

Great game still improving every week, excellent performance as a team. The team are in their GCSE year and looking at career opportunities and this discipline committed team effort will bode them well for the future.

My only criticism at the risk of being told to go straight to hell after such a good performance. Is the boys when winning comfortably need to take complete control be more ruthless and finish the opposition off. Clampdown on unforced errors and be sharper at penalties.

It was a shame the captain’s Dad was not here to watch but he was hitting the waves in Manchester although I did hear Charlie don’t surf.

Another Strong Performance by the U16’s

Stockwood U16’s 65 v. 10 St. Neots.

Match Report by Robert Coupland.

Today the boys travelled to St. Neots, a team they have not played before but a good team which was bolstered by some of their colts since the collapse of the St.Neots colts team.

The game, however, was one sided with Alin, Mark and Dan Loft getting 1 try each; Jordan Fadajou and Max getting 2 each and Steven getting four. Max also got 5 conversions.

The important thing which the boys need to remember is not the try scorers names above but that all points are team points and all of the tries scored today were created by the team.

Today’s game had lots of positives, the highlights of those for me were seeing players reaching new heights and some new faces coming to the forefront. This is very refreshing and reassuring for the future.

Mark Smith is running with greater power, faster speed and more confidence than before – bumping the opposition off like skittles. I doubt if there is any prop better in the county with the skills in open play which he has in the locker as well as his power, speed and fitness which improves week in week out with his commitment to a hard training regime. It is a shame he doesn’t have the same commitment to looking after his boots which he neglected to dry and consequently shrunk resulting in him been sidelined due to aching feet. He obviously didn’t learn from the tour to the war museum, where we were informed that soldiers who neglected their feet were put on a charge for self neglect. Maybe the coaches can think of an apt punishment?

Carter Bowes last game ended in him been taken off injured after receiving a heavy blow knocking him to the ground. That certainly wasn’t on his mind today because he came off the bench with a new found confidence . The highlight being an outstanding catch at full back on the run, several good tackles and cameo runs – great contribution.

Connor Nash a new player to the team impressed me with his confidence and ability to take charge and direct the backs. He was at the centre of all the moves put on by Stockwood – obviously going to be a big asset to the team.

I Never knew what a good runner and pair of hands Luke Notman had until today. He played in a different role directed by the coach to run out wide and he was an added threat joining in the back line and assisted in at least a couple of the Stockwood tries.

My favourite moment of the game was a fantastic ankle tap by Raf who showed great desire in preventing an almost certain try.

Like all games there also were plenty of areas for improvement:-

Decision making at times lacked any awareness of field and player position. This became a bigger issue when the game was won and team dynamics got over shadowed by individual glory. The team need to learn when someone scores it’s a credit and five points to the team not the individual.

At times we were still slow to some of the rucks.

Having said that there was a vast improvement in the number of penalties we usually give away to the opposition. The defence was pretty solid and all the other players I haven’t mentioned played really well and contributed as much as anyone else to another emphatic win by Stockwood under 16’s who to be really critical could have inflicted even greater damage and had a clean sheet if they learn to play for the full 70 minutes as a team and not sit back when they are coasting. They are a very good team but to be great they need to be ruthless and always taking the best percentage option and keep reflecting and learning from every game. As well as training hard every week and believing in themselves just how good they are – I believe if they do ,winning all the competitions they enter and winning the league unbeaten will be very much a reality.

Well done again to everyone who played and one last reference to the war. An army marches on its stomach point been the team played the whole game without any water!

The battle of Charleroi!!

Veni, Vidi, Vici.
The Battle of Charleroi 10/02/2018
Author Robert Coupland

Black star 12 v. 20 Stockwood touring u16’s

Saturday 10th of February the day had started early for all the recruits who had been up since before 4a.m. On a frosty bitterly cold winter’s morning, they had travelled on land and over sea (by ferry) and then again by land enduring harsh conditions made even worst by the ill equipped transport provided to finally reach Belgium. A country steeped in combat history, having staged numerous famous battles such as Waterloo, the Somme, Liege, Mons and the Ypres to name just a few which had all proceeded before today’s battle in the near locality of Charleroi.

After nearly 12 hours travelling the tired and hungry young troops arrived at Charleroi – the battlefield was not a pretty sight the ground was covered in snow with large puddles and icy patches. It was apparent if this battle was to be won it would not be in the war rooms looking through the battle plans spread out on the changing room floor. This battle was going to be won or lost on the battlefield. The brave boys took up their positions looking splendid in their new battle dress, the Generals on the sidelines ordering their men forward and just like the brave men a hundred years ago who graced these very battlefields here in Belgium they took up position waited for the whistle and came out the trenches with all guns blazing.

Initially both sides were tentative, getting to know the terrain and their adversaries. The Belgians showed their intent early on, they were going to batter their way through the Stockwood lines using their heavy artillery and they did have some impressive big guns. At times the pounding was intense but the first breach was made by Stockwood, the fiery red haired beast aka. ‘Ursula’ Sweeney scoring but this was not the only breach of the Star lines for our Generals were smarter than the Belgiums had given them credit for. They deployed a fabulously executed pincer movement with the piste de resistance been instead of the usual attack on the Flemish flanks they did it with a number of prolonged attacks culminating in our ‘Racing Romanian’ Alin racing over to inflict further damage following a second breach to the Black Stars lines. This was shortly followed by a further successful break in the Belgian defence. This time on the opposite flank by one of our two Lithuanian conscripts, not big Arnie who was strategically blocking the Belgian forces moving down the middle but young Paulius ‘the Baltic Bullet’. This was the third incursion the Park made Behind the Black Star lines how much more could these Belgians troops take? Well as the saying goes never count your chickens before they hatch and one egg cracked right open to breach the Stockwood defence and to further pound the Stockwood position they managed to fire over more amo which was converted into greater damage been inflicted on the travelling troops. This is something that the Park brigade had failed to do although they had infringed the enemy lines on three occasions neither occasion was ever converted into greater damage.

Then the whistle sounded and both sides retreated to the dugouts and gathered their energy replenishing with oranges pillaged from the locals. Before these men of valour could rest the unforgiving, relentless Generals blew their whistles for the troops to engage in battle once more.

The Belgians Buns were not beaten yet, they battered at the Park’s door with everything they could, the away troops now fatigued and bleeding led and inspired by Raf, ‘the Polish Cannonball’ and the red haired McLadley they defended their positions stoically, each engagement more painful than the last but they were never going to be broken. We had seen the blood early on as players ripped their knees and hands on the unforgiving terrain . Our smiling Will ‘Napoleon’ Quibell vehemently directing the troops in front and those behind to rebuke the next insurgence. The Stockwood forces were yelled on by the Generals on the pitchside as well as the war hardened veterans on the side lines at times having to be contained by the Generals who not only got their blood and pound of flesh but now demanded sweat and toil from their war torn troops.

We then witnessed the magic feet of ‘Cutter’ Carter who can inflict injury to any adversary with the sharpness of his moves. The peasants onlooking gasped as he pirouetted through the Black Star troops but unfortunately he suddenly found himself flanked on both sides and with a thunderous attack from the rear he was left out of action. These brave young souls had given their all, however, the Belgians were still pressing hard at the gates but these young men from fields far away were not letting anyone through despite their pain and freezing limbs the Belgians were not going to have Charleroi. In fact one of the troops ‘Smasher’ Smith from the oldest regiment on the field the 121st bricklayers platoon cemented our advantage by ironically knocking down the opposition wall.

There appeared to be an inconsequential attempt to breach the Stockwood line but if I am to report what is written in the history books then this breach was too little too late. It was not to be the metaphorical cherry on the Belgian bun, for the battle came to an end and the Park army had come out victorious they had seen a few men injured on the field and grieved their loss but this battle wasn’t won by any individual heroics or flashy artillery it was down to the blood sweat toil and tears of the galant troops led into battle by the bearded warrior of the 3rd Loft Dragoons, ‘Dan the Destroyer’.

The Veterans and Genarals were all humbled by what they had seen. It was agreed by all that this day should not be forgot and each year on the 10th of February we will sit and remember the few that had given so much for so many and we will eat Belgian chocolate and sing ‘oh when the Park go marching in’ led by another one of our warriors Callum ‘the Caller to Arms’ from the Irish McIntyre battalion.

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.

U16(Red Squad)A Good Day at the Office

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!

U16(Yellow Squad)A Bitter Pill to Swallow

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!!

SPRFC get one over Letchworth

Here is a brief report for todays game as our usual reporter was unable to do his report this week!

Stockwood RFC versus Letchworth RFC
Report by Dominic Quibell

Our first match of 2018 was against a strong Letchworth side. On a cold and windy Sunday morning Letchworth sent a team across to play as our scheduled match had been cancelled. We were without a lot of players due to County and DPP commitments. We also had a number of players seconded to play for the U17s.

Letchworth came with 12 players which meant we lent them 3 of our 18 to allow the game to go ahead. Stockwood started the stronger and we scored when ‘little’ Jordan picked the ball on the halfway line and ran through Letchworth’s defence to score under the posts, a score that Kieran duly converted.

Stockwood spent the next 10 minutes camped in the Letchworth half and were rewarded when George muscled his way over for his first score of the season. This seemed to wake our opponents up and with a good passage of play they ran the ball over for their first score of the day.

However, if they thought that this was going to give them a way back into the game no-one told Stockwood. A special mention to Mason at this point who with his usual bravery put his head into a ruck and took a nasty knock which meant his action was done for the day – wishing you a speedy recovery mate! Thanks to Dan Spain for re-joining us from the U17s to replace Mason.

Stockwood were not done in the first half and following good passages of play Jordan broke away to score his second try and Raf ran over to score. Kieran added 2 more points and Stockwood finished the first half 24 points to 5.

The Letchworth coaches obviously had a strong team talk at halftime as Letchworth started the second half the quicker of the two team. Stockwood claimed back Kye, Aadil and Carter for the second half and replaced them with George, Jordan and Paulius. With Letchworth’s first passage of play Stockwood were unable to prevent the Letchworth backs running over to get their second try.

The next phases of play were fiercely contested with neither side able to claim dominance. Letchworth stole the ball from a Stockwood Ruck and must have thought they were going to breakaway for their third try as one of their forwards charged towards the Stockwood try line with William in hot pursuit and gaining on his opponent with every stride. Stockwood had a little bit of good fortune at this point as the Letchworth player running out of steam and with Stockwood chasing him down put the ball down on the 5 metre line giving possession of the ball back to Stockwood.

Over the next 10 minutes the two sides could not be separated but Stockwood were to finish the stronger. The lads scored two great team tries, the first scored by Carter and Joe Sweeney to make the final score 34 points to 10. I think that all of the Stockwood players gave 110% and I think this was exemplified when Carter was running down the line made a lovely kick over the Letchworth full back’s head and although he lost possession because of an unlucky bounce he never gave up and tackled their full back and allowed Stockwood to regain possession. This was not the only outstanding bit of commitment, I could actually mention each and every player for outstanding play.
What was also really nice was to see new faces scoring for us today! Congratulations to George, Raf and Joe S for your first scores of the season and well done to Jordan Ackuaku, Carter and Kirean for adding to your points tally. A massive well done to all for a well deserved victory today and the commitment you all showed!

That is more like it from the U16s

Watford RFC vs Stockwood Park RFC vs Hitchin RFC

After a short break Stockwood Park took the the pitch again to play Watford RFC in the last match. The boys ensured that they were not going to start slowly for a second time and started their second game strongly. They put their opponents under pressure immediately and were not giving Watford anytime in the ball. Stockwood’s first try came from a ruck that Watford won on their try line but struggled to clear. Their scrum half passed the ball back into their goal area and after strong pressing the Watford players illegally pushed the ball away and the ref awarded a penalty try and conversion. The sustained pressure led to Dan L running over two tries to give us a 17 points to nil lead at half time.

The second half was a repeat of the first with the Watford boys never being allowed to settle and Stockwood scoring two further tries, the first when Eoin stole the ball from a Watford line out and then Tarik made one of his customary runs to score. The final score was 27 nil to Stockwood Park.

I think we played well today and it was a shame it took us a little time to wake up. Well done lads have a great Christmas and see you in the New Year!

Stockwood unlucky against Hitchin RFC

Watford RFC vs Stockwood Park RFC vs Hitchin RFC

The U16’s turned up early at Watford RFC expecting another tough game against an old adversary. We soon found out we would be playing two short games firstly against Hitchin RFC and then against Watford RFC. First match was between Watford and Hitchin, a match that Hitchin won.

After a short rest Hitchin took to the field again to play their second game against Stockwood. I know this is a bit of a cliche but this really was a game of two halves. Hitchin definitely started the stringer and scored within the first couple of minutes when we allowed them to run straight through our defence breaking a number of tackles. As they have before the lads then buckled down and although most of the half was spent in our half we defended strongly and if it hadn’t been for some handling errors I am sure we would of scored. However, after a sustained period of pressure Hitchin scored again and went in at half time 12:0 to the good.

If Hitchin thought that the game was won they were in for a rude awakening in the second half. Stockwood came out strongly and following a number of phases on the Hitchin try line Arnold powered over for a well deserved team try. Stockwood controlled the second half and if the handling and decision making had been better I am sure we would of run Hitchin even closer. Unfortunately there were no further scores and Hitchin held on for a 12 points to 5 victory

U16s acquit themselves well against a strong opposition

Stockwood Park U16’s 17-34 Fullerians.

Match report by Robert Coupland

On a cold and windy Sunday morning the U16s acquitted themselves well against a strong opposition!!

Today’s visitors to the Park were Fullerians a strong team that had beaten us in the Harrow Tens at the end of last season, so we knew we were in for a tough match albeit a friendly.

It was a very cold morning and just like the weather Stockwood had a frosty start,immediately from kick off the Fullerian winger ran three quarters the length of the pitch evading several tackles and showing Stockwood a clean pair of heels once he was in full flight. In fact his speed covering in defence throughout the match was very evident running down some of our fastest players on the break.
The next ten minutes was a bit of an arm wrestle eventually won by Fullerians scoring in the corner by the aforementioned speedy winger. The conversion was missed and the score was 0:10 to the away team.

At this point I was impressed with the way the opposition were playing and feared the worst however the boys heads did not go down they played with real desire mainly defending tigerishly and through some great pressure applied by all 15 Stockwood boys in the opposition quarter Fullerians made an error and the individual opportunitism of Steven Missen who took the ball off the opposition from 5 metres out and went over for Stockwoods first try. His first real touch of the ball in attack although he had made some very important tackles in defence.

The rest of the half was played with passion,commitment and the boys really got into the face of the opposition. The half time score 5:10
The second half the lads came out knowing they were in with a good chance of turning the game around and winning. This was made more likely when Alin went over for Stockwoods second try after a great move which started deep in the Stockwood half. The ball travelling speadily down the back line to release Jordan F down the wing, who then passed to Reece in support in full flight who was tracked down by our nemesis the speedy Fullerian winger, but still managed to get the ball away to Alin who was in support.
I only mention a few names in the first two Stockwood tries but it was through a strong team effort and pressure the first came about and some hard forward grit, laying a platform for a well supported try from the backs that the second came about. We up until now had made a few unforced errors but were still looking very good. The score was now 10:10.

Over the next few minutes several replacements took place and due to the number of substitutions as opposed to any individuals it knocked Stockwood out of the groove they were in. Resulting in Fullerians scoring three unanswered tries converting two. The score now been 10:29
We then saw Reece burst through with one of his all to familiar explosive runs and was very well tackled 15 metres short of the try line but managed to pass a great ball off the floor to Anset who was in support and finished off the move scoring 10 metres in. At this point Kieran, Jordan F, Max, were all on the sidelines and Stockwood had no kicker to take the conversion. So William stepped up to take the conversion his very first, his dad could barely watch he was so anxious he even forgot to video. Well Will struck it like a pro and it sailed between the post for 2 points ( this was the icing on the cake for Will who I thought played really well and had his best game of the season ) the score now was 17:29 before the final whistle Fullerians scored again making the final score 17:34.

The boys can be very proud of themselves I know many came off the pitch disappointed at losing because they had worked very hard and had the desire,passion and ability-to win and for various reasons which we all have different theories about it didn’t happen.

There were lots of positives today great tackling some real strong runs,fabulous support play, some great clearing out at rooks they were a team full of desire and fight. On the negative side probably too many unforced errors and we really need to practice our penalties, Forwards taking the ball stood still unsupported into a ferocious oncoming defence was like sending lambs to the slaughter. A lot of players impressed me today with their commitment and skill and continued improvement.