Tough day at the office!!

Bedford U16’s 41:12 Stockwood U16’s
Report by Robert Coupland

Today Stockwood were playing a friendly away to Bedford. Bedford are a very good side and have always been our nemesis, it was always going to be a tough game but with a few players out and only able to take 17 we were always going to be on the back foot. Today’s conditions were conducive for a good open game, grey sky, slight drizzle and a grassy soft to firm pitch.

The first 15 minutes of the game was a well fought contest until Bedford went over for the first of their three first half tries. They converted 2 and went off at half time 19:0 to the good.

The second half started well for Stockwood with little Jordan powering over for the Parks opening try. Unfortunately then Bedford ran in four tries and converted one before Joe L. got a late consolation try, making the final score 41 points to 12.

I thought the best of our pack was Mark S. with some strong running, tackling and support play with Dan L. leading from the front as always and on more than one occasion rucking against the opposition by himself. It was evident that against a side like Bedford you can’t have any passengers and there were a couple of forwards who didn’t manage to keep up with play which made the others have to work harder to compensate, additionally my pick from last week for his hard work and tackling, Callum M. was rested for the first half and was sorely missed around the ruck area.

Little Jordan was very strong and ran hard today scoring one of our two tries. He was everything a good second rower should be and would have been an asset to the pack especially round the ruck area were he can dominate with his size. Today he was playing inside centre and unfortunately the ball rarely got out to the outside centres or wings – coincidently (Steven, Joe L. and Max) our top three try scorers of the season.

We were not as creative as we have been and rarely created any opportunities. The positives in the backs were some excellent defence and try saving tackles from Max and Jordan F. as well as some good defence from the majority of others. Credit needs to be given to the opposition who for the whole game managed to play at a high intensity, scoring some cracking tries and showing some blistering pace whilst playing as a well drilled team. It was no surprise to me when I found later that several of the Bedford backs are county sprinters with Bedford Athletic Club.

Today was not our best performance as a unit, we also were really slow to organise ourselves at penalties and in contrast Bedford’s decision making was excellent and they were quick to spot and exploit any weaknesses. A positive from today is, after talking to the opposition coach he recognised how much the team have improved and suggested that some of the players who have suddenly come to prominence i.e. Mark Smith who should be recommended by the coach to go to U17’s DPP trials In August.

I am confident next week with a big squad a week of training, we will go to Peterborough to win the league undefeated.

Must keep on working hard around the ruck area!

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