Round 5: Bowral vs Shamrocks (Home)
Captain: Chilli Sparke
Awards: Will Gilbert – “Great Work at the Breakdown” Louie Kaufline – “Great Tackling”
Minal Rowjee – “Great Team Spirit & Running”
Try Scorers: Henry McMahon x2 Hugh White x1,
Angus Basham x1
Final Score: Bowral 20 – Shamrocks 20
A typical wintery Sunday morning greeted the U8s for their first home game of the season at Eridge Park. The rotation system saw Tommy Olofsen and Zac Combes taking the weekend off, and with Connor McFadden still away overseas, the squad fielded a playing team of ten for the occasion.
With a brisk, icy wind gusting at 15 to 20 knots across the paddock, the team set about their pre-game preparations and warm up. Some quick, knee-to-knee “bear hug” wrestling got the blood pumping and muscles working, and started everyone thinking of their pending mission against the Shamrocks. This was followed by a quick run through some “Pukka Rucker” rucking drills, which focussed everyone’s mind on the importance of doing good “Banana” ball presentations when tackled, and reinforced the need for support players to come in quickly with their “Gorilla” technique, to protect their tackled team mate on the ground. Coach Alistair, then took our emerging forward pack of Hamish, Leio, Louie and Henry, off to one side and ran them through some refreshers on tackling techniques, the key skills development area we have been concentrating on now for some time.
Our Captain for the game this week was Chilli Sparke, and with a look of gritty determination, she led the team out onto the field. The Shamrocks won the toss, and elected to kick the ball, and Chilli decided that we would run to the southern end of the pitch (away from the clubhouse) with the wind on our backs.
Unfortunately, due to a last minute withdrawal, the Shamrocks advised us just moments before kick-off that could only field a team of six, so, in the spirit of the game we called for volunteers, and
Minal Rowjee and Nicola Gardner both nominated to have a run on with the opposition, and subsequently donned a green jerseys to play a half each.
Some key highlights of game this week included our ever improving set piece scrum and line out structures, where we move quickly into position and then make the most of the attacking opportunities to take the ball forward with accurate passes away to our fast outside runners. Angus and Henry both managed a brace of tries between them as a result of this great running and passing.
Across the board our tackling continues to go from strength to strength. Lead by Henry’s fantastic example, the whole team is now committing more consistently to tackling contests. It is great to see everyone now really trying to step up and latch on to opposition players when they have the ball.
We trial having two designated halfbacks for this week’s game, with Will taking one side of the pitch and Hugh taking care of the other side. Both of these lads did good work getting the ball out from the base of the formed rucks and passing it to teammates in the open. This is certainly an area we’ll keep working on to develop over the coming weeks at training.
But perhaps greatest revelation that came out of this game, was the excellent mauling work from our front rowers. Watching Leio, Louie and Hamish, ripping the ball out of the opposition’s hands, then getting down low and driving forward with steely-eyed resolve, while the opposition players were hanging off them, was indeed a sight to behold! And, Hugh’s great “pick and go” try for us in the dying stages of the second half came as a direct result from one of these magnificent mauls. It was also great to see the pleasure and enthusiasm displayed on the faces of the whole team when this happened – they all knew that their combined teamwork had created that great outcome.
All in all it was a great game with a load of hugely positive lessons for us to continue to build upon. So in that that vein, at our next training session after the long weekend, we will look to further developing our mauling techniques, and also start focussing on “clearing out the ruck” drills, which was a skill that the Shamrocks demonstrated on a number of occasions during this game. We will also be spending time on refining our running and passing skills particularly to a player in space, and of course we’ll keep working on our tackling techniques.
Thanks to the Angus Basham’s mum Belinda, for providing the weekend’s oranges and snakes, and to the Will Gilbert’s mum Mel, for taking the jerseys for laundering this week. A big shout out to everyone that volunteered to work in the Club Canteen as well. This is an important commitment we have as a team you’re your efforts are greatly appreciated. Thanks to Manager Matt for coordinating all of this for us. Thanks too, to Coach Alistair and Manager Byron for all of their efforts in running the subs and managing all of our game day admin.
Bowral versus Kiama at Eridge Park – 14 June 15 (Time TBC)