A view from the touchline or "It's beginning to look a lot like..."
Kick-off: a little before two
Pitch: The first team one
Conditions: Not un-pleasant, some may even say fine.
On another fine day for rugby the U15s were visited by Battersea Ironside; now referred to as BI. An air uncertainty was before us as we’d never played BI before; their league record showed won one lost two so, not too tasty.
Farnham started the game, it’s beyond me but we’ve always had this thing where we’re not quite at the races from the off, BI received and worked the ball over the half-way line, Farnham put up some resistance, BI worked the ball to Farnham’s 22, more resistance by Farnham, BI eventually went over for their first try. Less than 5 mins in and we’re 7 – 0 down. Farnham wake-up – afternoon chaps.
Farnham re-start the match and apply the early pressure and force BI to knock-on. From the scrum Farnham then spend the next twenty minutes camped in BI’s 22. We had fair few scrums, Chris S our scrum-half for the day had a stormer of a match, never missed a pass out the back of the scrum. Penalties were given on both sides but Farnham always came back to their 5 meter line but just couldn’t find a way to get over that try line. Finally a penalty against Farnham saw BI clear their lines to touch. The resulting lineout saw BI move the ball into the middle of the park only to be met by a determined defence. BI recycled putting the ball back the way it had come out to their winger who broke free sprinting down line heading for the corner. Step up Mr T (What’uttalkin’about, fool??) that’s Ben T, talk about a bullet intercepting a bullet, right into the corner (I was expecting the Adam West (Batman – for our younger viewers) graphics – KABLAMM!!) man and ball smashed into touch. In truth I missed the lineout as I was tending a BI player but the shrill of the whistle signalled a BI try. And that was the end of the first half.
Half-time: 12 – 0 down
Half-time team talk: KB (the reduced version), individuals are trying to do too much on their own. Use the lads to your left and right, have confidence in them. Tactically think when kicking; when we are in our 22, fine, kick to clear our lines. Outside of the 22 – ball in hand, pass, into contact, recycle the ball, go again.
Into the second half, Farnham receiving. I can only surmise that a few of the lads were listening to KB because, from the kick-off Gabriel G took the catch, ran forward got tackled, Farnham drove over, Chris S dug the ball out and passed to Dylan B who held the ball up teasing BI to tackle him; and they took the bait. BI committed themselves only for Dylan to off-loaded the ball to James H. Now, I don’t know where James was hiding the rocket but he lit the blue touch paper and left BI for dead – 50 metres, 5 metres in from the touchline (nearest the club house), turned left, touched down under the posts. It was quite exquisite (there’s never a video camera around when you want one). The Farnham support went mental, the expectation was high – if we can score a try like that, just do the same again and we’ll have this lot. We’re three minutes in and 12 – 7 down.
The resulting kick-off saw Farnham apply some good pressure but we couldn’t turn the ball over. BI meanwhile were making steady progress up the pitch and needless to say BI went over for their final try. The next ten minutes saw Farnham and BI exchange the ball readily, there was some good tackling Ben T again and Ashley BP, over on the left wing, bringing a BI attack to a halt. There was some, quite a few actually, excellent runs - a couple spring to mind, runs from Sian B and Howard O; however, the support was non-existent the lads got isolated in the tackle and had to release the ball. Time was marching on and just when it looked like the game had run its course Farnham only go and score another peach of a try. It was practically a carbon copy of the first, only except it was on the opposite touchline. Once again Dylan B received the pass, BI committed themselves to the tackle, only for Dylan to pop the ball left onto the charging James H (rocket – check, blue touch paper lit – check, Adam West graphic – SWOOSH!! – check) who took the ball to the house running through three tackles and almost getting under the posts. Sadly though, that was the last play of the game.
Final: Farnham 12 – BI 19
Overall, a good entertaining game of rugby. Farnham put in some excellent tackles - so we’ve made some progress; but also missed a fair few – so more practice needed to raise those levels of confidence. You lads gave BI a game and that’s the main thing, for your efforts you earned a losing bonus point (better than nothing); positive always positive. The U15s are off and moving at a pace faster than walking (I would’ve used running but it’s still early days (don’t want to get too cocky)) which is better than where we were just a couple of weeks ago. There’s too many witnesses now who’ve seen that you lads can put in a shift, tackle, run and score tries. You just need to have confidence in all the boys around you, pass the ball out to our wingers (we’ve got some really quick lads) and support the runners (it’s a team game after all).
As usual the support was faultless. I believe they enjoyed themselves looking down from the cheap seats balcony. Long may it continue.