The U14s give Old Ruts a good runaround
The U14As and Bs drove up to Old Ruts today for a friendly fixture and both teams delivered a stonking performance to win
The whole U14 squad decamped to Lavender Park in Merton today for a block friendly fixture vs Old Ruts who were good enough to come down to Farnham to see us at the beginning of the season. They had given us a good game last time and all concerned were keen to make sure that this time the boys put in an excellent performance, delivering on their training goals.
The As started incredibly strongly under the command of today's captain - Tom Garner. Old Ruts appeared unprepared for the ferocity of the rucking and mauling our boys were up to. Neither did they enjoy any of the set piece dominance the Farnham boys delivered. For the first 20 minutes of the game, the Ruts barely had any possession and try as they might, they just couldn't get any of the territory so it was no surprise that after 10 minutes James Robinson muscled his way over the line to score. Tom Garner accurately converted to leave the scoreline at 7-0 and the game firmly stamped "Property of Farnham U14s".
It didn't take long before the consistent pressure found Ruts defence stretched to breaking point again. Ben Atkins found himself scooting down the line towards some staunch Ruts forwards likely to force him off the pitch. Moments before his dancing feet crossed the whitewash at around 10m out, he managed a superb "out the back" pass to Aston Ulisse who finished the try with aplomb in the corner. A touchline conversion proved too much for Big Tom's big boot and so the score remained 12-0.
Farnham dominated their line outs with a highly effective catch and rolling maul. They also dominated the scrums, winning all of their own and driving most of the "against the head" scrums off the ball despite some substantial Ruts forward efforts. Penalties also showed the depth of their training and organisation and from this platform they were free to play great looking rugby.
Farnham's dominant position was further consolidated by a fantastic score from Max Campbell-Harris who burst through the defensive line to take another unconverted try. Soon enough the half time whistle was blown and at 17-0 the Old Ruts could have been forgiven for letting their heads drop.
When the game restarted for the second half, the Farnham boys looked confident that the remaining 30 minutes would go in much the same way as the first. Was there really any need to put in another shift they asked themselves? It was a nice morning - why worry? Let's relax and take it easy! Well, this touch of complacency was exactly what the Old Ruts needed to galvanise themselves. Suddenly they were putting together phases, tacking well and playing with determination. Soon enough, only a few minutes into the half, the ball was spun down the Ruts back line to their speedy wing who lit the after-burners and ran around the side of the Farnham defence whose halo had by now slipped and was in danger of clanging noisily to the floor. An unconverted try was their just reward and 17-5 was now the score.
The Farnham boys clearly thought this was merely a lucky break for the Ruts but nothing to worry about? Well the Ruts set to repeating the experience with the U14As still resting languidly on their laurels and soon enough a converted try was scored and the scoresheet now read 17-12... Wake up boys!!!
The As suddenly jolted awake and soon realised they had a fight on their hands. Returning to the basics they went back to their favourite platform, the catch and rolling maul from the line out. Chris Ratcliffe caught the ball and passed it out to James Robinson who was by now back at 8 and he deftly ran around the maul on the blindside to score a well worked (second) try, ably converted by Dylan Milner to take the score to 24-12.
Now fully conscious and functioning, Farnham soon found the ball spinning out to Aston who once again rocketed down the line to score his second try in the corner. 29-12
Soon after the restart, the boys were once more blitzing their way towards the Ruts try line and Tom Garner delivered a superbly weighted kick out of hand into the dead ball zone which he chased down and almost scored with. Unfortunately he narrowly missed the downward pressure needed to score but that man James Robinson was right behind him and he made a superb lunge to touch down the ball, scoring his third try of the morning and leaving the score at 34-12.
Were Ruts down or disheartened by such a dominant display? Not a bit of it and it is to their great credit that despite a drubbing on the scoresheet, they were still running and tackling hard and it was a just reward that they scored and converted their third try in the dying moments to take the final score to 34-19 before the final whistle brought proceedings to an end.
A great morning's Rugby had been had by both sides which is the definition of a top friendly match. Thanks must go to our generous hosts Old Ruts who taught the Farnham boys a great lesson in never giving up.
After the match, Sam made special mention of the great work done by Hamish Watson, George Guy and Max Foskett who all put their bodies on the line playing in multiple positions as the match demanded. Joint third place on the podium was their reward. Second place went to Josh Smith who once again put in an amazing shift, making an astonishing number of tackles. Top place on the podium (and tenure of the delightful blue Hard Hat for "Worker of the Day") went to Aston Ulisse who seemed everywhere on the pitch running, tackling and Jackalling his way to his two tries.
More great news came from the Bs pitch where they had been similarly dominant. What a great squad effort to take two strong wins!
An excellent morning's work and a valuable lesson learned - Never give up, never surrender and certainly never relax and drop your guard if you want to win!