Wimbledon Warriors prove to be tough to beat for the U14As
By Steve Ratcliffe
Wimbledon Warriors make the trip to fortress Farnham for the delayed opening match of the Waterfall Cup and come away with the spoils
The luxury of a home Waterfall cup match was the task of the day for the U14s today. The opposition was to be a team from Wimbledon Warriors, allegedly unbeaten in something like two seasons, but this was their first opportunity to play the mighty Farnham U14s. The boys were up for the fight after a rousing pre-match powerpoint from Sam and looked sharp as they took to the pitch for the warm up.
Wimbledon also looked impressive in their warm up and they had clearly brought their first string side including their super 8 (the Big Unit - Nathan) and two impressively speedy backs at 11 and 13. It would be a tough day in the office for our boys, especially so since the grimey weather would require a change of tactics - with the ball becoming soap like in the wet mud, it would be a day for the forwards to grind it out and play "stick it up the jumper" rugby and for the 10 to be kicking out of hand; a far cry from the champagne, quick ball, running and offloading game the boys prefer to play.
From the off, both sides looked to stamp their mark on the game with some crunching tackles and some aggressive rucking on display. Both sides appear evenly matched and the penalty count was high on both sides.
It took 20 minutes for the first score to come from a well worked move which the big Wimbledon 8 boshed over the line. A missed conversion followed and the half eventually came to an end with the score at 5-0 to Wimbledon.
As the rain continued to fall the boys took a breather whilst they took on water and Jelly Babies and Dominic gave them some rousing encouragement. With only one score on the board the game was all to play for.
From the kick off, a further 15 minutes of evenly matched play ensued before Wimbledon scored a slightly soft try which was similarly unconverted to leave the score at 10-0. This galvanised the boys to action and soon enough Max C-H bashed over the line from the centre for a beautiful score in the corner. It proved too far for the boot of Finlay Anderson and so the score remained 10-5 and with 5 minutes to play, the boys looked fired up to take a win from behind.
Despite a super human effort from the Farnham boys, two minutes later, Nathan the Wimbledon 8 booted his way over the line, under the posts, to score by blasting a hole in the stalwart Farnham defence. The simple conversion took the score to 17-5 and with only 3 minutes of normal time left to play, the score looks out of reach for our boys.
That didn't stop a last ditch effort to score and soon enough Max C-H was on another of his bruising runs, falling short of the line by only a couple of metres. Unfortunately, in the process, his head made contact with a Wimbledon boot and the short time leaked away whilst he was taken off the pitch for the usual HIA.
With time to regroup and possession of the ball as the clock ran down, Wimbledon emerged from the whistle with a fair win. They were the better side on the day and credit must go to their team and coaches. They go on to play the winner of Reigate and Warlingham and Farnham proceed to the second round to play in the plate competition.
At the end of the match Sam and Dominic told the boys that despite the result, they had defended superbly and whilst there were some great individual performances, the boys had played as a team against top opposition.
Podium places were awarded as follows:
3rd place to Ben Atkins who put in a real shift in his first proper match since returning from injury.
2nd place to George Guy who dealt with some aggressive hounding by his opposite number with aplomb.
1st place to Chris Ratcliffe for some demon low tackling and some strong pick and go runs.