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.

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