U16As lose to Warlingham in the Quins Hampsted Cup Final
By Steve Ratcliffe
The U16As ended a tough season against a hard charging Warlingham team on Quins cup finals day and came away second best
Quins cup finals day is always a slightly mad affair and this one was no exception. We arrived at Esher RFC to find a carpark full and every pitch teeming with minis and juniors on the biggest day of the season.
Our oppos for the Hampsted Cup final were to be Warlingham RFC U16As. For at least some of the Warlingham boys this was their second time playing a Farnham team in a week, having met our U16 Development team at the Waterfall finals day only last Sunday. As per last weekend, Warlingham brought their big ball carriers and their fast wingers and the Farnham boys knew they'd have to be on top of their game to win.
Nevertheless, the first 15 minutes were scoreless as both sides tested each other's metal. Eventually, Warlingham gave away a penalty within Finlay Anderson's range and sure enough the score was 3-0 to Farnham. The remainder of the first half was equally tense but scoreless as the pressure shifted from one side to the other. Then, just before the half time whistle, the black and white line gave way and a Blue and White shirt found a gap and bruised his way through to the try line. 3-5 was the half time score but on balance the bulk of the pressure had been Warlingham's and so the bulk of the defence and the tackles were Farnham's
The second half started furiously after 9 minutes of extreme pressure, a second try was Warlingham's. 3-10 gave the Warlingham boys a bit of a cushion but Farnham came back with a vengeance. The forwards made a platform from which the ball was spun out down the line towards Finlay Anderson who manhandled his way through several tacklers to score. This time his unerring boot erred and 8-10 was the result.
Next to score in this ding dong battle was Warlingham; 8-15 but by now the tense game was testing everyone's patience and words were exchanged which resulted in a Yellow Card for Warlingham. The gaps left by being a man down provided the perfect opportunity for lightning fast winger Alfie McCormick who skipped down the line to score. Finlay converted to leave the tally drawn at 15-15.
With 10 minutes to go, the effort expended by the Farnham defence was beginning to tell. Whereas before now, the black and white line was able to rebuff the Warlingham attack, now with tired legs and arms tackles were being missed allowing the burley Warlingham ball carriers to run through 2 more tries.
A final score of 15-25 was a fair result for the afternoon's work. It is always hard to go home happy having lost but the boys can be very proud of their season and many will return next year in the Academy to new battles and winning ways.
Podium points were awarded to Toby Richards who tackled like a demon all afternoon, Aston Ulisse whose season has been getting better and better with every match and to Alfie McCormick whose dancing feet and finishing skills have astonished us all.
So that's it for the season (for the 15 a side game in any case) and what a season it has been. We've had some highs and some lows, a magnificent mini-tour to Bath and above all a group of boys who have grown (quite literally) together to form a real team who play for each other, just as our charter says they should. We will leave the thank you's for the awards night but in the meantime it has been a privilege to write a few words and take a few photos to help us all remember it into our dotage. Have a great Summer!