Under 16's
Sun 24 Mar 2024
Stafford RUFC
Under 16's
Stafford 31 Vs Stoke 10

Stafford 31 Vs Stoke 10

Roger Wetton25 Mar - 21:41
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Togetherness provides the key ingredient in good team win.

Stafford 31 Vs Stoke 10

If I was to tell you that this was arguably the best team performance of the season, you might be surprised. However, when you consider that the team that took to the pitch on Sunday would:
For the first time for as long as we are aware only had the bare 15 without any subs, be down to 14 players at half time, finish the game with 13 players, have a second row starting his first game at prop, a back row playing second row, a winger starting at no.8 and a hooker playing flanker, oh and a try disallowed by a linesman (who is our captain). You would probably understand why as coaches we were so proud of the performance.
So, back to Sunday, a typical spring morning with changing weather and a very strong wind saw our Terriers on the exposed back pitch. The wind would play its part in this one and the message was, if you win the toss, play into it first half and then pin the opposition back in the second. Thankfully Jake won it and they did just that.
A strong start saw big carries from Connor, Jake, Alfie and Tyler with Jake making a good break and Stafford having a scrum on the opposition 22, despite it not leading to a score Stafford looked good running into the wind. Stoke managed to clear their lines but Stafford would win a great turnover in their own half. Danny would make a burst and pop to Oli who fed Connor and the winger (playing 8), hit the gap and accelerator and went in from 60 yards out. He really is having a great season. (5-0)
Stoke looked to get back at Stafford and their big carriers made ground, some good tackling from Connor, Danny and Tyler would see the ball come loose, Elijah in at 10 went blind and fed the ever present Jake, he straightened and set his man , passing out to Leon who juggled the ball, maintained control and hit the burners going in from 40 yards out. (Elijah conv 12-0)
The whole team were working in both defence and attack, Alfie carried big from 22 to 22, bouncing tacklers and getting up 3 times after not being held. Unfortunately, a knock on stopped the phases but Stafford were running back into opposition Territory every time the visitors cleared. Jack, who was in at prop, was also getting through some work and carried out of defence to again put Stafford on the front foot. Meanwhile in the backs, Finn G and Oscar were snuffing out any movements that Stoke looked to capitalise on.
A penalty conceded near halfway allowed the visitors to make ground into the Stafford 22 and Stoke were soon 5 metres out. The pressure would tell when from a scrum the Stoke 8 picked, went and bounced a couple of tacklers to get the visitors on the board (12-5). It was turning into a really good game.
From the restart Finn H put a beautiful high, holding kick, that Finn G went after, the centre collected well, and Stafford again were on the front foot. Quick ball allowed Elijah to throw a lovely miss pass out wide to Finn H and the full back would eventually be tackled deep into Stoke territory.
Stoke would manage to clear their lines and kicked long, Finn H collected cleanly and set off towards the centre of the pitch, three wannabe defenders were taken out and the quick cycle from WillV allowed Stafford to go blind, Connor set his defender and put Declan away , the winger scoring in the corner, to the joy of his team. I believe the first person to congratulate him was Leon who had sprinted over from his other wing, the teamwork and bond between all the players was on display (17-5 missed conv)
The first half would come to a close with Stoke going wide and the winger who had made ground, getting sandwiched between Leon, Jake and Finn H, unfortunately so did Finn H’s head, he would take no further part in the match, but thankfully is ok.
The second half started 14 a side with Stoke dropping a player to even things up and credit them for being so sporting. They also came out the traps running far more and good defence from Danny, Matty, Declan and Oscar kept them at bay. Stafford would keep the visitors pinned back by kicking well and chasing in numbers, the result would see Alfie come up just short.
As Stoke again tried to run out from their half, Matty and Jake turned the ball over, and Connor again would benefit from the broken field and scooted in to score again. (Elijah conv 24-5)
Stokes head didn’t drop and they continued to push through the middle with their big carriers, again their 8 would look to score but this time Tyler and Finn G would manage to withstand the attack. Shortly after, a scrum to Stoke would see the 8 go blind and reduce the gap to 24-10.
Stafford were now down to 13 as Alfie had made yet another big hit following which he could not continue. Other players would step up and follow his physical lead with Connor, Declan and Leon all putting in tackles to disrupt the Stoke attacks.
Stafford now went on the attack , Leon made a break , hauled down 5 yards out, Connor went over but was judged (by Linesman Jonah) to have knocked on in the process of scoring, Jake was tackling everything so much so that his defence was actually becoming a form of attack, one in particular with Finn G knocked the play back a good 5-10 yards.
The final score of the day would come after good carries including one from Jack, after good movement Leon ventured off blind and made further ground, the ball then went right into the open, players tipped, passed and set opposition players, the result produced space and Connor, ever the predator went through to get his hat-trick (Elijah conv 31-10).
As the final whistle went, both teams looked shattered, but all could be extremely pleased with their individual contributions to a great team effort, full of attack and strong defence.
The front row of Oli, Danny and Jack did more than enough at the scrum to hold a big Stoke pack, Matty and Alfie were big in attack and defence. Will V and Elijah moved the ball into space, maintained go forward and both put tackles in. Oscar and Finn G, blanketed the centre of the field and carried well into space allowing the wingers to get as much ball as I’ve seen all season. Finn H, Leon and Declan all made yards, the wingers got tries and tackles and Finn H was always strong as the last line, while running the ball back each time.
Finally, a group MOTM for the back row of Tyler, Jake and Connor, everywhere in attack and defence, turning balls over, making big yards and bigger tackles and of course for the overall MOTM Connor, an assist and 3 tries. Not a bad day for a winger playing 8 with an ear infection.
So, on we go, a week off at Easter and hopefully some re-enforcements for the next time we play. As for today, a fantastic performance by all 15 and a massive well done to each of you. Teamwork makes the dream work.

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Match date

Sun 24 Mar 2024


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