League Champions

League Champions
Peterborough 33:55 Stockwood Park u16’s
Match report by Robert Coupland

Today was the big day for the U16’s going to Peterborough for the last league game of the season undefeated and a win would make us League Champions.
However, on arrival events had taken a change in there course when Peterborough conceded the game due to only having 12 players available and hence making Stockwood Park U16’s League Champions.💥 Fortunately we were able to give three players to Peterborough to make the long journey not a waste of time and gave the lads a practice a head of the Bedford Cup Final next week.

Within the first couple of minutes Stockwood pressed on the opposition line with a kick over the opposition from Max for our winger Jordan F. who didn’t manage to gather it after it had taken a deflection before the ball had touched the ground from an opposition hand. However, there was no uncertainty when Jordan F. next got the ball at full back showing both strength and pace to go over for the first try putting the ball firmly down on the ground under the sticks for five points and subsequently converted by Kieran making the Score 0:7 to the Park. A couple of minutes later the ball, again flowing through the backs hands went to Max who bustled through the defence to put the ball down on the ground in the in goal area to legitimately score Stockwood’s second try and Kieran once again converted making the Score 0:14.

The next try came after some great pressure and strong tackling against Peterborough near their line and following a strong tackle from Max taking the Peterborough player firmly to the ground with downward pressure resulting in Stockwood winning the ball and from the following ruck a great quick long pass out from Connor to Kieran who in turn spread it out to Max who drew his man before passing to Dan L. whose options appeared limited due to the defence on his outside shoulder and in front however, he leapt off the ground reaching above the defence ‘Harlem Globe Trotter style’ and slam dunked the ball into the welcoming hands of Jordan F. who with great power ran towards the try line and taking no chances dived as early as possible ensuring no chance of spilling the ball or even been held up, grounding the ball securely immediately over the whitewash in accordance with the rules to be awarded a try. This took the score to Peterborough 0:19 to Stockwood.

From play in our own half a ball was passed out to Max who did not gather it in successfully, ironically managing to put the ball to ground however luckily behind him and eventually getting in to the hands of Reece who made a great run from not far from in front of his own sticks arcing out wide to join the back line and beautifully drawing the defender in before passing to Callum G. who with a hand off, a step and turn of pace went over the opposition try line and ran to put the ball under the sticks but was aware of a defender approaching so made sure he grounded the ball 8 metres in for the first of his two tries. His second try came shortly before half time when this time the other Ginger Joe L. drew the defence in and passed to Callum G. who again showed the defence a clean pair of heels to slide over the whitewash ,securely making sure the ball was grounded with downward pressure exerted and still in contact with his hand was placed on the ground to score. Which was converted into 7 points following a successful conversion from Kieran thus making the half time score 0:31 in favour of Stockwood.

The second half saw a lot of changes both to the Stockwood side and Peterborough side. The first twenty five minutes were dominated by Peterborough, Stockwood tackled well and a great tackle by Dan L. on Raf (who had had an astounding half for Stockwood with some great aggressive running and now was doing the same for Peterborough in the second half) to hold him up over the try line not allowing him to put the ball on terra firma to score. This did not stop Peterborough scoring 5 tries and four conversions unanswered now making the Score 33:31 putting Peterborough ahead.

The boys were looking out of shape and tired and needed to get themselves regrouped, re-energised and back into the game. The first signs of a counter comeback was when Connor went over in the left corner. Wrestling with the opposition to make sure he was able to ground the ball according to the rules of the game to get 5 points and following a great Conversion from Jordan F. Stockwood led once again by 38 to 33. It looked like Stockwood were going to capitalise again when Max ran out wide showing good pace to go over the try line near touch, he then jogged in the in goal area with a cavalier attitude towards the post. Unfortunately this was not American Football or a model shoot it was a game of rugby were in summation; “A try is scored by grounding the ball (the ball must be touching the player when coming into contact with the ground) in the opposition’s in-goal area (on or behind the goal line)”. So when Max was eventually tackled by the opposition player (that all the spectators and players had noticed what seemed a lifetime earlier) and held him up over the line under the sticks, the referee correctly awarding no try!

In the last fifteen minutes Stockwood took the ascendancy with Jordan F. scoring two great tries taking his tally for the day to four. The final try of the game came from a great kick in his own half from Max who chased his own kick gathering it on the third bounce speeding clear of the Peterborough defence running over the goal line under the sticks to the loudest noise of the day coming from the large contingency of Stockwood fans, coaches and players. “PUT THE XXXXXX BALL DOWN” which he managed to do, getting his second try which was converted by Kieran making the final score 33:55 to the Park.

The most important thing been Stockwood U16’s were the LEAGUE CHAMPIONS.

In summation
On a negative note we were poor to compete or even be at the rucks often watching or standing over, resting on the opposition. We also were too slow to either react or make decisions at penalties which has been an issue all season.

The positives our tackling was strong, all four of the try scorers had great games, Connor N, Jordan F, Callum G and Max C. Stephen looked immense for the opposition after recovering from last weeks mystery illness and Raf had a great game for both sides. Dan S. also impressed in the first half especially considering he was playing with a very heavy cold/virus. The team selected was slightly adjusted in the first half swapping the centres around which I felt nullified one of our most potent attacking players Joe L. (not sure if Tony Nash agrees?)

Second half our players were great for the opposition and changes to the first half team unbalanced the initial strength on the field. If we train well this week work with the team as selected and I am sure we will bring the cup home next week. Special thank you to Raf and Connor who both had great games and can’t play in the final and thanks to Aadil for coming to support.

Thanks also to the whole squad who have all contributed to a great and successful league season. Very very well done.
Thanks to coaches present and past and it would be wonderful to see you at the final next week.

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