The ice in the water troughs was 10mm thick when we left Fitzroy Falls at 8.30 and the car temp read 1C. However by the time we got to Eridge Park the sun was shining and the frost had melted from the South end of the park. Coach Scott had arrived early and set up the goal posts which no doubt really adds to the occasion. Both teams had 9 players so 9 a side it was with no reserves and 3 man scrums.
Bowral kicked off and we were away. Campbelltown really are a very good side and their cleaning out and ball protection at the ruck is impressive to watch. Having said that it’s also the area that our boys and girls have improved on measurably. Similar to last week there was some penalties awarded to both sides for offside and joining the ruck incorrectly but it was definitely a cleaner game. Hugh White played at half back with great success throwing the ball left (Lima) and right(Romeo) from the scrum and ruck. The running back combination of Louie, Tommy, Angus and Chilli were outstanding finding space out wide and up the guts. Louie Kaufline and Tommy Olofsen deserve a special mention scoring 3 and 2 respectively (Tommy converted his as well).
As previously mentioned the improvement for Bowral at the breakdown is massive. Unlike the beginning of the season we now clean out and protect our fellow players on the ground and have learnt to keep possession through multiple phases. Nicola Gardner is a machine and Campbelltown tremble in fear as coach Scott yells GORILLA from the side lines. Tackling is also improving with Henry, Louie, Hugh and Hamish McRobbie all leading by example. Louie even managed to sideline Campbelltowns hooker confirming the adage that the bigger they come the harder they fall.
The score was 55 to 30 for Campbelltown but that does not reflect the effort our kids put in. I should also remind everyone that this was the side we lost to 65-5 at the beginning of the season. A few plays could have gone either way with Louies speculative pass to the wing not finding it’s mark and a Campbelltown try from a penalty tap that shouldn’t really have been awarded and the 25 point gap would have been smaller still.
The last couple of games for Bowral versus Campbelltown have been for me exactly what I love about rugby and the junior Blacks. Our kids were bleeding and bruised but stayed strong and determined. This is how we build character and strength.