U12 home vs Worcester at Westie
Terrific Team Win
Triumphant Team's Star Quality
The Under 12’s turned in their best performance of the season on Sunday morning to record a hard earned & well-deserved victory over Worcester Warriors.
It was never going to be an easy weekend. Having accepted the spare Wales v South Africa ticket from Mr Abracadabra, the plan was to take the unfeasibly early train and commence a liquid diet at the prince of Wales. We took in the dramatic finale of the Rugby League World Cup final, making new friends with all those we spilled drink upon. Deflated by the Aussie win but inflated by a combination of chilled Brains & hot pie, we rejoiced as Wales romped into an early lead against the Springboks. Normal service was unfortunately resumed as the Welsh 2nd XV attempted to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Miraculously, Wales held on to win and even more miraculously we caught our train home.
Having survived the day out at the magnificent Cathedral of rugby with Mr Abracadabra & his friends in ladies’ underwear, I hoped that Sunday morning could match the excitement of Cardiff. Early omens were not good. A steady drizzle was descending by the time I emerged from the warmth of the house. The Monkey had mislaid his waterproof but thanks to some patient negotiations his mother was persuaded to allow him to risk the elements.
Incredibly, by the time we arrived at an uncluttered Westmancote car park, the drizzle had dried up and we were set fair for the action. Prior to proceedings, I availed myself of some morning refreshments. Coffee and bacon bap were adequate substitutes for Beer & pie. It would be churlish to compare the quality of baps on display. I love Cardiff but am invariably content with Bredon’s offerings. I believe Mr Abracadabra concurs.
We few parents, grandparents & hangers on gathered as the coaches started the pre-match training routines. As the minutes passed our conversation meandered between the merits of Home Alone or It’s a Wonderful Life; Silent Nights or New Year Raves; sprouts, stocking fillers, mince pies, putting up with in-laws, putting up decorations, lights & trees & how quickly it can all be packed away in the loft again. Before we had fully explored our ultimate Christmas playlist, the opposition scout arrived.
He was a short young fellow who brimmed with confidence. He surveyed our players with youthful disinterest and announced that Worcester were a pretty good side. He told us they were unbeaten this season and loved physical contact. He relayed tales of a monster in boy-form who tackled everything that moved into the ground (and devoured them raw).
A few minutes later the young Warriors strode onto the playing fields flanked by a posse of parents and collective of coaches. Our small collective scanned the visitors to identify the Monster Boy.
Both teams entered into vigorous warm ups for 20 minutes before my toes reached the requisite state of frostbite to signal play should commence. Sharon was fully covered and insulated with bargain Black Friday purchases from Sergei’s Sartorial Supplies (he is still taking orders for Christmas).
The game was to be played over three 20 minute periods (or halves for the non-technical minded).
The early exchanges were not promising. Worcester fed their big lad the ball continually and watched him cause carnage as the home tacklers prevaricated about how to affect a braking effect without being squashed. Early score to the visitors. Against the run of play Bredon hit back with Josh forcing his way over from short range. The boys still hadn’t found their mojo, and despite some courageous defensive work by individuals, the collective effort wasn’t up to scratch and the Warriors’ big fella crashed over for two further scores.
From then on, the boys just got better and better. Harry consistently took the ball against the head to earn Bredon possession and Euan & Morgan began to use the ball effectively. Jack had an outstanding day in defence and attack and was excellent in leading the fightback, Josh and James ran hard through midfield and gradually we were back in the game. Ben W, Ben P. Tom, Jimmy, Sean & Sam started to relish the physical contact and began to impose themselves on Worcester. The Scout was right about the Warriors’ tackling as Benny and Connor’s half breaks were regularly hauled down just before they could break free. The coaches rang the changes, occasionally carrying injured bodies from the fray as a sub was shouted onto the field. It was a bit like a scene from Saving Private Ryan (not the adult alternative – see Mr Adbacadabra).
Henry & Denby slotted into the half backs and kept the ball moving well. Like their colleagues Theo, Andrew, Seb and Alfie all struggled to find space. Warriors defence was suffocating, but Bredon kept trying to move the ball and dominated the breakdown in the second part of the first and the entire second period.
The visitors never gave up, but were relying on a couple of players to do a lot of work. As the game progressed Bredon’s ability to use simple passes to put players into space proved crucial.
Denby produced his best game of the season and darted over for two touch downs. Connor finally found enough space to cross for a thoroughly deserved try and simple slick passing set up Josh for his second. Every time Bredon looked like pulling away, Worcester came back. They were forced to change tactics as their Hat Trick Hero was twice stopped in his tracks by Alfie. All the boys tackled their hearts out and adapted to the changes well. With only a couple of minutes remaining the game was tied at 5-5. The Worcester coaches were becoming increasingly fractious as the tension built. Then Euan moved the ball from the breakdown, Morgan to Josh to James. Simple, well executed passes that took us over halfway. Ben W won another ruck and the ball was swung left to Andrew, 5 metres out. Andrew took the ball and rode the defensive tackle to slide in for the winning score.
There was enough time for Worcester to mount a final assault on the Bredon line, but the home defence was resolute and won another turnover before Ben W kicked the ball into touch to end an enthralling contest. Despite the referee, our own legal-eagle Steve (nice legs for the ladies) having recorded the game as a draw, our official scorer can confirm we did emerge victorious.
It was a terrific team performance against a very competitive opposition. Each of the boys should be proud of their contribution to the collective effort. Much of the good work went unseen, in the dark corners of the tackle & breakdowns. Many of the unheralded squad players really stood up to the challenge. It is easily the best team performance that I have seen and shows great potential for the future. The challenge now is to consistently reach this standard.
I’m off to post my wish list to Father Christmas. I’m hoping to find out what figgy pudding really is, why Mr Abracadabra’s friends wear ladies’ underthings, is it obligatory, why he has hollow legs & how to stuff a turtle dove??
See you for Cup Fever next week.