After a good few days of heavy rain, it was great to wake up on Sunday morning to dry if not clear skies. We were at Stevenage with a mixed squad in a triangular fixture with Datchworth. Despite the lack of rain on the day, the pitches were showing the impact of the recent inclement weather with mud everywhere. It is after heavy rain we realise how lucky we are at OAs with wonderful all weather pitches and plentiful grass.
With a good warm up under our belts, we had a practice game with a combined team from Stevenage and Datchworth. With 9 players a side on a half-width pitch it was always going to be tight, and from the kick off we were under pressure, but we battled strongly to camp ourselves in the other team’s half and after some good communication and passing scored two great team tries. It was 2-0 at half-time and our mixed opposition didn’t give up to score a consolation try to end the match as a 2-1 win to OAs.
Next on to a full-width pitch and a full Datchworth team. Unfortunately, we were hesitant at the rucks and after playing on a narrow pitch, too casual with our defence allowing Datchworth to break through with a relatively easy try. With that there was a pause in the game to observe two minute’s silence to remember those who had fallen and it was great to see all the boys from under 6’s through to the under 12’s link arms in a giant circle to pay their respects. Resuming the match, Datchworth got another easy try but we fought back to end the half at 2-1. We didn’t give up and the comeback looked on but trouble winning our own scrum feed meant regaining possession in the muddy conditions was tough and the match ended as a 3-1 victory to Datchworth.
Moving onto the last match against Stevenage, we weren’t winning any of our own scrum feeds but had their measure everywhere else leading 3-0 at half-time. After an emergency scrum clinic at half-time, we finally managed to win one but despite these troubles we comfortably recorded an 8-0 win.
In all, a good fun muddy day with some work needed on scrummaging and remembering to pass the ball to space rather than trying to do it all ourselves. On the positive side, there was some great tackling and committed defence.
Finally, a big thank you must go to Stevenage for welcoming us so warmly.