U13 Tigers’ valiant efforts prove in vain
By Stuart Walker
Scratch team ultimately defeated but show great character
Report by Justin (leave a spare hour to read !!)
Sidcup travelled to Old Alleynians on Sunday 4th November for a second team fixture vs their 2nd string.
It was a beautiful morning, and conditions were perfect for a fast flowing, running game, and so it transpired. Both teams started cagily, just testing out the other’s defensive lines and tackling ability. OA’s took the initiative during these initial skirmishes and Sidcup provided a stout defence on our own line for several minutes.
It’s important to note that the vast majority of this team have been playing for less than 2 seasons and some less than a single season. There are some notable exceptions to this including Jonathan at Scrum Half and Oli and Oscar in the pack. Sam for instance was playing his first game at Fly half and Max at centre. Learning these positions takes years. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Unfortunately under a consistent amount of pressure most defences eventually run out of players and cover and so it happened with Sidcup. OA’s broke the deadlock with a well worked try that involved all their players. Notable motions for improved tackling and defence got to Sam, Matthew and Kyle who all took on their defensive duties very well. Jonathan also provided a stout defence but we have come to expect this with Jonathan who is fearless in the tackle.
Sidcup now opened up the game themselves and covered the length of the pitch passing to the wing and then keeping the attack going with forward support and great passing out of the tackle. Unfortunately this excellent move was snuffed out by OA’s just before the line and Sidcup didn’t get the try the move so richly deserved. Excellent work in this from Sam, Harry C, Max and Harry B, debuting on the left wing.
Sidcup’s defensive duties were tested throughout the rest of the half and we forced OA’s to cough up the ball on any number of times, knocking on. Sam’s kicking was very good, we cleared our lines several times and chasing down the kicks became a constant pastime for Harry C and Harry B! Unfortunately OA’s ran in several more tries in the half. Dean was swapped on the Right wing for Josh and Kai came in for Harley at Prop. The half ended 4-0 to OA’s.
Due to some late unavailability we had no backs subs and this hampered our ability to make the changes in the 2nd half we needed to do to shore up the defence. Especially as the injuries our stalwart defence incurred started to mount up. The second half started brightly for Sidcup and we finally broke the OA’s line. A great forwards move from a penalty that went through Oli to Oscar who powered over the line. Our forwards had a steady game with Jay, Oli, Oscar and Matt being the standouts. The pack was solid and even after the changes we had to make to move forwards into the backs late on, the pack always did its scrummaging work with aplomb.
One definitive improvement we have to make in the forwards though is to go to ground. The temptation is always to go that one or two steps further forward but the team and the backs need quick ball while the opposition are peddling backwards so we need to improve this area of our game. Generally though our rucking IS improving when we do go to ground and while there can always be more aggression at the breakdown this area is improving.
Our defence continued to be breached in the 2nd half and it became clear with OA’s subs that they are a better side that have simply been playing longer. The backs subs OA’s had very much improved their game and in eth end they ran out 10-1 winners. Again notable tackling in the 2nd half goes to Jonathan who had to leave the field of play before the end with a painful finger injury. Harry C also made some great covering tackles using his speed to track back and do some exemplary tackles from behind. Kai came on for Matt who moved to scrum half, and Kai came on for Harley who also took a knock. Kyle also had to go off for a period after a particularly good tackle. Dean came back on at this point and is improving with every game he plays.