Category: U17 Match Report

Stockwood U17 vs Old Albanians U17B

We welcomed an old adversary to Stockwood Park for a friendly and we were all prepared for a hard, physical game – we were not going to be disappointed!

Stockwood started off the stronger of the two sides and spent the first ten minutes camped Old Albanian’s half.  Fair play to our visitors they defended stoutly and try as we did we were unable to break through.  That was until Reece intercepted a pass in the Old Albanian’s 22 metre line and from the resulting ruck led to a Stockwood freekick and after a further passage of play that gave Arnold his first try of the season as he powered over to score in the corner.

Whereas, the first try was a good team try, the second was scored as a result of a piece of individual flare by Anset.  Stockwood found themselves pegged back in their own 22 but with a strong defensive line our visitors never looked like breaking through.  From a ruck on our own 22 and good interplay between Dan Spain and Kieran ultimately led to Anset receiving the ball and running virtually the whole length of the pitch, breaking at least three tackles before scoring between the posts, a try that was duly converted by Kieran.  This was to prove the final score of the first half and Stockwood went in 12 points to zero ahead.

If I thought that we had played our best rugby in the first half and would struggle to keep the intensity up in the second half the lads were about to prove me wrong.  The second half started off in the same vain to the first with us putting Old Albanian’s to the sword.  Park stopped another attack and claimed another turn over on the half way line and another excellent passage of play where we passed the ball through the hands, Anset was able to break the line to score his second try of the day.

Instead of taking the foot of the gas Stockwood drove their advantage home and put our opponents under even more pressure!  Old Albanian’s were definitely rattled by this time and it wasn’t long before Stockwood were once again driving towards the Albanians line.  Stockwood formed a ruck on Old Albanians 5 metre line and following a quick pass by Will to Kieran, who in turn offloaded to Max who ran the ball over the try line for Stockwood’s fourth try of the day.

Stockwood then prepared for Old Albanians restart and what happened next was a moment of brilliance and opportunism from our captain, Dan Loft.  Dan L was given the ball from the start and ran through the middle of our visitors to get a well-deserved try to make the score 27:0.  Kieran got his second conversion of the afternoon.  Stockwood were not finished and following another well worked scrum Stockwood broke down the right wing and a clever kick over Old Albanians try line allowed Kieran to add to his two conversions with a try of his own.

This was to prove the final score of the day as the game had to be ended early as there was a nasty injury to one of the Albanian backs who got injured in a ruck.  A very satisfying score line for the team who won by 34 points to Nil.

I was really impressed with the effort shown by the whole team, even though we were comfortably winning they did not stop putting Old Albanians under extreme pressure.  It was nice to see in the first half Old Albanians were forced to kick to try and break down Park’s defensive line as they were unable to penetrate it during normal play.  Every player played for each other and the support play shown for one another was tremendous to see and it was lovely to get one over Old Albanians!!

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!

St. Ives RFC U17 versus SPRFC U17

We were venturing into a new County this morning to play against St. Ives in Cambridgeshire. As we watched our hosts warm up we all thought they were quite a large team, only to realise we were watching their U15 team warm up – we then saw our opponents for the day!! A squad of 18 lads turned up and together with our hosts and a U15 team from Saffron Walden honoured our Armed Forces in 2 minutes silence at 11 o’clock.

For once it was Stockwood that came out of the trap quickest and immediately put our hosts under pressure. It was during this period that we lost ‘Lofty’ to a broken nose which would see his day finished within the first four minutes. Arnold L was brought on as a worthy replacement and I think it is fair to say had his best game this season so far. I think all of the forwards were excellent today – they all got to the breakdowns quickly and dominated set plays!

Stockwood’s first try came from a well exercised line out which saw them driving their hosts over their try line before Jack C put the ball down to give Stockwood a five to nothing lead. St Ives came back strongly and were only prevented from scoring by some strong defence by Stockwood which ultimately led to Joe L breaking through St Ives defence to get Stockwood back into our opponent’s half. After a number of phases Sam T ran through St Ives defence to run in the first of his two tries, a try that was duly converted by Kieran B.

Fair play to St Ives whose heads could have dropped as Stockwood’s second try was a real sucker punch as Stockwood had absorbed a good ten minutes of pressure on their own try line only to score a good breakaway try. Not a bit of it though as our hosts replied with a try and conversion of their own to make the half time score 12 points to 7 to Stockwood.

Although Stockwood had impressed at the start of the match it was St Ives turn to dominate at the start of the second half. Stockwood, however, were guilty of helping our hosts by giving away too many penalties and the strong start led to St Ives scoring two ties and a conversion to lead by 19 points to 12. It was now Stockwood’s turn to show their resilience and dig in once again.

Just as our hosts had in the first half Stockwood’s reply was immediate with tries from Michael K-W, a second from Sam T and a conversion from Olly D restored Stockwood’s lead. Stockwood then started to dominate our hosts and a strong end to the match led to Luke C running in two late tries, which were richly deserved as he had narrowly missed out from scoring in the first half. Olly D scored the second of his two conversions to make the final score 36 points to 19 in Stockwood’s favour.

A really good effort from all 18 players to secure a well-earned victory in a closely fought battle which saw neither side giving an inch. More of the same next week please!!

U17 vs Hitchin U17

What a difference a week makes! Last Sunday was a cold, wet and miserable day compared to this Sunday when the sun was shining and there was barely a cloud in the sky!
Stockwood turned up with 17 players and our guests turned up with 14. A welcome back from injury to Alin, whose presence was more than welcome as we still have several backs out through injury and retirement! Riz lent Hitchin Luke for the first half to make up the numbers.
The old cliché of ‘a game of two halves’ really does explain how this match evolved. The first 20 minutes of the game was spent with both teams testing their opponents with neither side able to impose themselves. That was until Hitchin had a line out inside their own half, one they won but the Stockwood forwards piled on the pressure and pushed the Hitchin forwards back. The resulting ruck led to a Stockwood turnover which Will quickly passed to Kieran, who in turn released Max, who threw a nice dummy and then ran straight through the middle of Hitchin’s defence. He would have surely scored his third try of the season had it not been for a trailing leg that tripped him up before reaching the try line. As a result, the referee awarded Park a penalty try and conversion but I feel it only fair to credit Max with the try!!
Unfortunately, during the next passage of play one of the Hitchin boys got injured so Aadil came off the bench to play for them – injuries were to prove significant in the outcome of the game. The game seemed to open in the last fifteen minutes of the first half – starting with a strong run from one of Hitchin’s backs leading to a try and a conversion to tie the score at 7 points all.
Steven then stepped up from full back with two tries to make the score as the first half ended 17 points to 7 in Park’s favour. Steven’s first try came from a really good passage of play from Stockwood where they used the whole width of the pitch, first trying to break through down the right with no success before throwing the ball out to the right. A wayward pass was picked up by Steven who powered down the right wing before scoring the first of his two tries. Whereas, Steven’s first try was very much a team effort his second was because of a moment of individual brilliance, Kieran caught a Hitchin kick underneath the posts and offloaded the ball to Steven who spotted a gap and just ran the whole length of the pitch to score his second try. That was virtually the last action and a good first half was only spoilt by Jordan being withdrawn with a reoccurrence of a groin strain – an injury that meant he would not be able to play any further part in the game.

The second half started as a fourteen a side game with Stockwood coming out of the blocks quicker. Max attacked Hitchin’s back line again and from the resulting ruck Stockwood retained possession and Mark was released and although they tried Hitchin where unable to prevent him running the ball to score underneath the sticks, a try that was duly converted by Kieran to give Stockwood a 24 point to 7 lead. Unfortunately, Stockwood were unable to maintain the difference for long as Hitchin scored a try ad conversion immediately from their kick off making the score 24 points to 14.
The game then ebbed and flowed for the next ten minutes and Stockwood could have increased their lead with better decisions being taken at important moments. The momentum switched to Hitchin as Stockwood were to suffer two more injuries to Reece (shoulder) and Steven (ankle) and a further try and conversion to Hitchin.
With only four backs, the game became a twelve a side game and although Stockwood were given the chance to end the game early they chose to carry on. With only four fit backs for Stockwood the scrum size was reduced, and a few our forwards were moved to play for the backs. Gaps that had not been there for our opponents when it was a fifteen a side game started to appear, and Hitchin ran in a further two tries and on conversion to pinch a 33 points to 24 win.

I think that when the match was fifteen a side Stockwood more than held their own, but Hitchin were able to finish the stronger when the game was reduced to a 12 a side game. I am proud of the boys for the attitude they showed against a strong physical Hitchin team, their coach complimented the way we played as his side have been knocking teams down by 30 to 40 points and had it remained fifteen a side would it have ended differently?!!
Special mention to Luke and Aadil who both put a real shift in to allow the game to take place. Aadil impressed and his best moment was when he ripped the ball from Mark when he looked as though he was through for his second try of the day and Luke for using his body as a barrier in the first half in an attempt to stop Mark – Luke I didn’t catch this moment on video!!

Northampton BBOB U17 vs Stockwood Park RFC

I got up this morning wondering if the game would take place or not – the weather forecast was not good but then I remembered this was Rugby and not Football! Having battled through the rain and roadworks on the M1 we arrived at our hosts ready for a battle and the boys did not disappoint.
The ref started the game on a wet and windy day – conditions which were going to prove tricky. Northampton Old Boys were a large, physical team and they put the Stockwood boys under pressure from the first minute. Our boys defence was immense and Old Boys were unable to break them down.
Then from Stockwood’s first real attack they gained a scrum in their opponents half and a passage on good handling and passing across the line released Jordan on the right whose strength and speed were too much for Northampton Old Boys to handle and he scored in the corner.
Northampton Old Boys rallied and Stockwood defended heroically and our hosts thought the had equalised only for a last ditch tackle by William held the ball up. However, the pressure eventually told and Old Boys ran in a try underneath the posts which they duly converted. Instead of our boys heads going down the reply was almost instantaneous and a clever wind assisted kick by Kieran tested the Old Boys full back. Once again Jordan outpaced his opponents to score his second try of the day, a try which Kieran converted to make the score at half-time 12 point to 7 in favour of the visitors.

The second half was to prove even more competitive than the first with some hard tackles and scraps all over the pitch. The only score of the second half came from a really good team effort, when Connor released a quick ball from a Stockwood scrum to Kieran. The ball was then moved through the hands to Max and then Joe Ladley before Reece exploded down the left. Fortunately Joe L was able to keep up with him in support and a clever pass by Reece allowed Joe L to score between the posts.
Both teams were resolute in defence for the rest of the half with neither side able to add to their points tally. A very good win for Stockwood by 17 points to 7 against a strong and physical opposition.
I was really impressed by the ball handling and decision making from Stockwood in testing conditions – more of the same over the rest of the season please. A special mention needs to be given to Rob Coupland, who was desperate for a box kick and much to his delight he was treated to not one but three from William and Connor!

Stockwood Park RFC U17 vs Old Grammarians U17

The U17s had their first league game this morning against Old Grammarians. Unfortunately, SPRFC got a walkover as Old Grammarians only had twelve, the game, however the game went ahead. I would like to welcome back Reece Sweeney, Callum McIntyre and Connor Nash for their first outings of the new season and a special mention to Carter who came out of retirement to represent us! Also thanks to Sam Tenny who joined the ranks to make up the numbers.

To enable the game to take place Connor, Aadil and Sam made up the numbers for Old Grammarians in the first half. Our visitors came out of the blocks quicker than Park and a period of pressure led to the game’s first try and conversion for Old Grammarians. I am not sure why we started so slowly – whether we underestimated our opponents or we were just too asleep but fortunately conceded a try seemed to wake the boys up! No one side took charge of the game until Stockwood took control of a rolling maul that led to Steven ‘the crab’ Missen, after one of his typical sideway runs charged down the right side leaving the OG players in his wake before scoring in the corner. After another period of sustained pressure by the home team Jordan ran past the defence to score under the posts a try that was converted by Kieran to give the home team a 12 point to 7 lead as the referee blew for half time.

The three Stockwood players that had played for OG in the first half were swapped with Luke, Jordan and Joe Sweeney. I am not sure what Riz and Darren said at half time but whatever it was it seemed to have the desired effect. This time it was Stockwood who started the quicker a good passage of play led to the new lad, Sam Tenny’s first try for the U17s, a try that was converted by Kieran. This score was quickly followed by a second try for Steven.

Stockwood then started to really turn the screw and dominated the rest of the game. Kieran was released by Dan Loft and showed an incredible turn of pace that not only leave OGs defence in his wake but also his own team mates. A minute later Steven completed his hat trick with a strong run down the right, a try which was duly converted by Kieran. Dan Loft showed off his new pair of boots as he weaved his way through a tired OG defence to score his first try of the season. From the resulting kick off, Old Grammarians tested Carter deep in the corner, Carter was up to the challenge and caught the ball cleanly, tip toed past a number of the players before executing an excellent reverse pass to Sam Tenny who went off on an explosive run. As Sam was caught he managed to offload to Eoin who ran in Stockwood’s eighth try of the day to complete a comprehensive 46 points to 7 victory.

Considering the number of injuries we have I would like to say how impressed I was with the way the team conducted themselves and were there to support one another. A few handling errors by Stockwood meant the score line did not run away from Old Grammarians, but I am sure that after more games these errors will soon be eliminated.

Finchley Triple Header Results

Stockwood Park completed their pre-season warm up games, ahead of their first league fixture against Biggleswade, with a triple header against Finchley RFC at their London Road ground last Saturday.  On a warm afternoon and on pitches in good condition, despite the dry weather, Park finished all square with Finchley, losing the 1st xv fixture 19-34, winning the second team game 15-7 and with the U17’s having a 33-33 draw.

At 1st xv level Park took the opportunity to look at more new recruits and players returning from long term injuries. Ben Griffin was outstanding and a constant threat to the visitors’ defence and his return to 1st xv duty will be welcomed. Park’s handling errors and sloppy defence, particularly wide out gave a well organised Finchley team the opportunity to turn defence into attack and put Park under unnecessary pressure.  Park’s few problems from this game are all issues that can be put right on the training field.

For Park, No 8 Ben Griffin scored their first try converted by Fly Half Brandon Lewsey. Lewsey scored and converted the second try with left wing Aron Colbert scoring the third try. For the second XV tries were scored by Sheppard Zulu and Leandro. Fly Half Matt Jones kicked a penalty.

This Saturday Park open their league campaign with a home fixture against Biggleswade RFC KO 3pm.

U17 vs Hitchin – match highlights

Match highlights footage of the 2 tries scored by Park in a game which got away from us in the 1st half and although a far better performance was forthcoming in the 2nd half it was a bridge to far against a very handy Hitchin side.

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U17s loose to Shelford

Stockwood Park U17s went down 34-19 to Shelford U17B on Sunday morning in an entertaining, though frustrating from our point of view, game of end to end rugby.
Once again Park made their traditional slow start conceding in the first 5 minutes to a try from the back of a Shelford line-out and again shortly after, a few well worked phases found Shelfords centres in space for their second score. Park did respond well though to the poor start and started to assert themselves back into the game. A good turnover in midfield and quick reactions from Alfie Sibilia saw Sam Tenny break free and release Romario Pelle with an excellent offload out of the tackle to score our first try.

From the restart Park failed to claim the high ball, and after a strong Shelford run suddenly found themselves back on their own 5 metre line, and with a disorganised defence in front of them Shelford used quick hands to move the ball into the spaces left behind and scored. The last play of the first half saw us become the architects of our own downfall once again with a Park scrum 10 metres out the hook evaded the entire pack and scrum half, and bounced just right for the Shelford scrum half to pick up and score. Half time 20-5.

Into the second half and a No.8 pick up from the base of the scrum saw Sam Tenny drive over for a try, converted by Kieran Taylor. Though back in the game at 20-12 Park did not capitalise on the change in momentum. Several times we saw overlaps out wide go begging and the ball being coughed up far too easily in contact. Unable to sustain the pressure and keep the ball in our own possession in the away 22 Park saw Shelford break out several times by utilising their wider men, only to be thwarted by an inspired display of tackling from James Brennan at full back. Eventually though a set move from a line out paid off for Shelford and they broke away through 5 missed tackles to score under the posts.

Park though, got their act together again, and their never say die attitude came to the fore. We worked through a few good phases drew in defenders and released our backs, something we are desperately trying to reinforce in training rather than the somewhat more predictable solo runners, and this style eventually saw Shelford run out of defenders for Sam Tenny to crash over for his second try. Another well worked set of phases saw our centre Louis Palmer to get to within 5m out, only for the final pass which would have put the winger in to be deemed slightly forwards by the referee.  Shelford responded again in this basketball like, to and fro game with a nice backs move to extend their lead to 34-19. Park were camped inside the Shelford half towards the end of the game and found themselves with the try line begging and an overlap on the outside, however this time the crash ball was tried one too many times with the ruck defence well set and the ball was lost in contact. From that, a kick clearance was made by Shelford and a comedy of errors saw a mix up on half way between our full back and winger with us then somehow ending up hacking the ball back to our own try line. Try line attack to try line defence inside 15 seconds, and although we did not concede from the error we never got back up the pitch again to threaten before the final whistle. Lots of positives to take from the game, the score line not reflecting the closeness of the game, but also clearly some lessons to be learnt. Shelford were excellent hosts and we look forward to bringing them back to Stockwood later in the season, hopefully by which time we will have settled into our style of play and ironed out the individual errors.