U17s, by Russell Ticehurst
Saturday saw Club U17’s away to Tonbridge Juddians which again pitted the boys against a fully U18’s Academy team. The home side looked favourites with some big runners starting strongly and they quickly moved into a 10-0 lead with a well struck early penalty and a converted try from constant pressure on club 5 metre line.
As they are doing each week though Club found their feet and grew in confidence and soon responded with a fantastic passage of play with 16 phases of possession culminating in a try full of power, quality and pace and one for the rugby purists.
The home side then realised they were in a game against a side happy, capable and quick to move the ball to the wide channels so they began to use their experience at the breakdown to make sure the visitors were restricted to less quick ball.
The home side went back to their strength and they turned the power up again which lead to the home sides second penalty moving the score to 13-5.
As the half was coming to a close Club kept possession again and moved the bigger side around and eventually muscled over for their second score to make the half time score 13-10. The lack of a goal kicker would ultimately cost the Club 14 points in all with not one conversion successful and two easy penalties turned down in favour for the scrum option.
The second half started with a puzzling offside from a kick off making the score 16-10 and during a 20 minute period the home side added two further scores making it 30-10 with fifteen minutes to go.
For Club U17’s came the best period of the game where they dominated scrum, possession and territory to end the game equal on tries scored with another two great scores making it four each on the day. The home side were deserved winners by virtue of an excellent kicker in their side and the added physicality but to leave with bonus points ensured the boys departed in good spirits and looking forward to their next challenge.
U15s by Tim Brindle
On Sunday the U15s welcomed Old Rutlishians to Well Hall for the first ever fixture between the two sides.
Originally planned as a 2nd XV fixture designed to stretch the players against a strong opposition as part of their preparation for the Kent Semi Final, the squad was bolstered by the presence of some 1st XV players as their match against Old Albanian had been called off. The starting XV was predominantly 2nd team and they knew they were in for a tough game from the outset as Old Ruts showed the power of their big runners, scoring early on through their Number 8 picking up from the base of a scrum and powering through our midfield, and they scored under the posts 2 phases later. This set the tone for the match as the visitors executed their game plan well and scored twice more. The Club players struggled initially to cope with the power of the direct runners but the boys however are nothing if not resolute and they put their bodies on the line to hold them from scoring again.
As the half progressed tough work around the breakdown, a scrum starting to get into the ascendancy and good game management from Fin W at scrum half brought Club back into the game. Strong work in the forwards and centres started to suck in the defence and allow the back three of Micky, Fransean and Fergus to start making inroads with well picked lines. Denied initially by some desperate scramble defence Club finally got onto the scoreboard after quick thinking by Fergus taking a tap penalty and seeing the space that put them in under the posts. The Club side were in the ascendancy as the half drew to a close and only a dropped pass and some resolute defence kept them from scoring again.
Noticeable players in the first half were again Monty B, repeatedly showcasing the prefect chop tackle technique, and Fin W for aggressive defence against their powerful pick and go, which they used repeatedly, and for his marshalling of the forwards back into the game when they were very much on the back foot.
The second half saw a number of changes to the Club side as the 1st XV players on the bench were brought onto the field and their experience quickly built on the gains made at the end of the first half, with Sam picking a great line to make good ground and then converting the try that came off the next phase. This set the tone for the rest of the match as the pick up from the scrum created holes and Rhys orchestrating the backs with great aplomb. This is how the second half continued, with Old Ruts conceding 3 more tries and only through great commitment in defence did they keep Club from scoring again.
It was a good first fixture between the two sides and the two clubs are already discussing a return match over in Wimbledon early next season. Good luck Old Ruts for your forthcoming games.