Sidcup RFC U9s through to Kent Cup Finals
By Lee Palmer
Sidcup U9s reach the Kent finals to be held on Sunday 28th April at Tonbridge Juddians RFC.
The rescheduled Kent festival prelims took place this weekend at Cranbrook RFC after being postponed due to waterlogged and frozen pitches. As the sun finally broke through and beamed down at Cranbrook, it was also time for our Sidcup boys (and girl) to shine and show what they are made of as they competed against the best teams in Kent. Not only did our team win their group, which was a massive achievement in itself, but they then went on to beat the current (three times) East Kent champions - Whitstable in a gripping quarter final and earned a place amongst the top 4 teams in Kent and a place in the Kent U9 Cup Final's.
Sidcup U9 As:
In our group were: Ash, Medway and Sittingbourne, with two teams we had not faced before. It proved to be a tough group with a very high standard of U9s rugby - 3 of the 4 teams all went on to win their respective QTR finals and progress to the finals. The group finished with three teams all on 9 points, but our superior try tally meant we finished top of the table and earned a cup quarter final place against Whitstable - another team we had yet to face, and a team that the coaches of the other teams were relieved to avoid by finishing second in the group? Whitstable had won their group without conceding a single try, so this was clearly going to be a big challenge for our Sidcup players, but exactly what our players would have wanted and had earned. If you’re going to lose, you want to lose against the best and if you’re going to win, you want to beat the best.
It did not take long for Whitstable to run the ball over the Sidcup line with a well worked try as they stretched our defence to score the first try. They continued to pressure us in all areas of the pitch and ask many questions of our players, but we had answers and solutions for everything they threw at us. Then it was time for Sidcup to start asking the questions and find out their weaknesses. A few brave individual runs stretched their defense and although we held them for a long period in their own half there seemed no way through. Then Sidcup secured the ball with some great rucking 5 meters out from the Whitstable try line, leaving the ball perfectly presented to be collected and driven over for a great team try and break the Whitstable clean sheet. Some real gutsy defending was on display in the few remaining minutes of the first half and as Sidcup continued to absorb the pressure Whitstable started to make a few handling errors.
With the score drawn 1-1 at half time, Sidcup now knew enough about their opponents and had proved that the Whitstable defence and white line was penetrable, so there was everything to play for.
There was much excitement and drama in the second half as Whitstable again took the lead early on and Sidcup fought back. After a third Whitstable try and another Sidcup equaliser it was 3-3 with only a minute left to play, this really was an exciting cup game. The final play of the game saw Sidcup explode down the right wing as we had done only moments ago and scored a glorious try to win the quarter final and secure a place in the Kent U9s CUP Finals.
Qtr Final score: Sidcup 4 - 3 Whitstable
I do not want to pick out any individuals and there were some great displays of skill and courage throughout the tournament, but what stood out and what earned the results was the epic all round team performance from every single Sidcup player. With the B's going undefeated in their group, against Bromley, Edenbridge & TJ's (unfortunately only Edendbridge progress into the Development Cup Finals as group winners by two points) it was a very proud day for everyone involved with the mighty Sidcup U9s.
For a club that prides itself on being inclusive to all players within the mini's section to make the Cup finals is an enormous achievement and one we are very proud of. We have a fantastic squad of players that really understand what it means to work as a team. It was fantastic to see them rise to the occasion and give such an amazing performance.
It will be a great day on Sunday whatever the outcome and a great chance for the squad to get fully behind the U9’s and show their support. These events do not come along every day - so lets all make the most of it and enjoy the experience.
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