We arrived at Amersham & Chiltern RFC with a mixed team of 14 players for their Development Festival to discover it was a quick fire round-robin of 6 matches with short breaks in between matches and sometimes no break at all! The winner was whoever finished top of the league at the end but the number of tries scored would prove to be pivotal on this day.
We had a quick warm up game of touch rugby, moving on to some tackling and much needed scrum practice and it was great to see so many parents helping out with the drills while the boys got good and muddy. Meanwhile, with 5 reserves, the coaches spent their time scratching their heads trying to figure out how to get everyone on to the pitch at some point or another.
Our first match was against A&C Saxons and the good warm up paid off with us scoring two well worked tries to lead 2-0 at half-time. The Saxons found some form and with us having to run uphill in the second half it was an even contest and ended in a 3-1 win to us.
Our next match was against a strong outfit from Maidenhead and it was a real tussle. We managed to score a good team try only to let Maidenhead back into the match with some soft tackling right on the stroke of half-time. The second half was back and forth with us a little hesitant to pick the ball up at the back of the ruck relieving some of the pressure on the opposition but with no tries added the match ended a 1 all draw.
Moving on to the other pitch there was a big slope to contend with and strong wind blowing down field. Playing Ruislip, we managed to keep control of the ball in the windy conditions to score a try in each half and come away with a 2-0 win. We were generally playing well but still a little hesitant to pick up the ball and also guilty of trying to force the pass rather than taking the tackle and setting up the ball for our team mates to have a go again.
Our next match against A&C Vikings was to prove our toughest. There was a lot of strong tackling and dropped ball from both teams and it was scoreless at half-time. It looked like it was going to remain that way but some good defensive pressure by us led to a Vikings’ mistake close to their line and we managed to pounce on the ball for a score just before the final whistle to take a 1-0 win.
Needing to make the most of our opportunities and score some tries we came up against Beaconsfield. We played strongly and the result never looked in doubt with the match ending as a win 3-0 but trying to do it all as individuals rather than passing to team mates in better positions probably cost us another try or two.
The last match was against Tring and there were some comedy moments when most of the boys decided they wanted to play whether they were picked or not. Some quick counting and double counting by the coaches eventually sorted the numbers out and we got under way with 9 a side. We played well, and there was some good movement and passing leading to us scoring 6 unanswered tries. Furthermore, it was great to see the tries shared around by a large number of the boys.
Not mucky enough!!
We ended the day with 5 wins and a draw, conceding only two tries in the process, showing the impact of our committed defence and heroic try-saving cover tackling. Maidenhead ended with same number of wins and their draw with us meant it all came down to a count back of tries scored and, unfortunately, they scored one more than us to be declared the winners.
All in all it was a great day and we really enjoyed ourselves with everyone doing their bit. We must say thank you to Amersham & Chiltern for inviting us but save a special thanks for Adam Heath who was tireless in running between refereeing and coaching and was still refereeing the last game as the rest of us headed to the car park.