Match Report
Reading Blue Coat School Boys-U13A vs  Cokethorpe School
On: Thursday, 06 Dec 2018
Venue: Away

1. Shiplake College - Won 4-0 - Kingsbury, Rees, Naseem, Dance

2. Cokethorpe B - Won 5-0 - Davis (2), Dance, Naseem (2)

3.Cotswold - Lost 2-1 - Day

4. Cheltenham Bourneside - Lost 3-1 - Morgan

5. Plate Semi Final v Cokethorpe A - Won 1-0 - Rees

6. Plate Final - Cheltenham Bourneside - Lost 2-1 - Naseem

An excellent day at Cokethorpe in our inaugural entry at a very strong, competitive and well run event that saw us come runners-up in the Plate competition.

Local rivals Shiplake were up first and having beaten them comprehensively at the Epsom Tournament, confidence was high and although the performance was a bit sluggish, four tries all from the backs saw RBCS through comfortably and playing some good rugby in patches.

Cokethorpe Bs were up next. Our Bs kindly softened them up (someone might have put them on the wrong pitch!) before the A’s took over and although we were more powerful, it was good to see the ball moved efficiently, where Dylan Baker distributed well all day to see four of the five tries coming from James and Nadir on the wing where, in truth, more greedy play may have resulted in tries but not with the same ease or aesthetic quality.

Next, our first big test - Cotswold, who had won their two previous games easily. Some big strong runners were brought to ground by Ollie Matthews’ unerring tackling and suddenly Cotswold found themselves under pressure at 1-1, after a superb solo try by Tom. Going deep into the game our tendency to tackle high cost us as we fell off a couple of attempts to allow the eventual tournament winners to score late on. Sam Deacon had a couple of breaks but couldn’t quite get free and tackled very well but even sustained pressure at the end couln’t quite beat their defences, but an excellent performance nonetheless. Their coach readily admitted that it had been some game and their sternest test.

Cheltenham Bourneside also posed a physical threat in our next game which was probably our sloppiest effort of the day as we looked jaded despite the stirring efforts of Jack Leftley and Ed Telling up front to go down 3-1 despite an excellent effort by Ethan Morgan to touch down in the left corner.

We waited nervously, having lost two pool games, to see if we qualified which we did for the plate. We were up against hosts Cokethorpe A who, once against played with all the thunder and guts of a host side but once again, good rucking and excellent distribution, this time from Lucas, saw the ball worked into space for Jack to go over. A massive defensive effort, despite playing up hill, into the wind saw the hosts kept at bay to see the team progress to the Plate Final where we met the Cheltenham Bourne side from earlier in the day, proving what a strong group we were in.

They once again posed a massive physical threat and playing into the wind, it was also pretty dark by now too, we thought we had held them at o-0 only for them to crash over for a try right on the whistle of half-time. The stirring Churchillian half-time team talk then clearly didn’t wok as the kick off went straight to their ‘gun’ player, we fell off some tackles and he scored straight away! Nevertheless more combative forward play saw us win the ball and work it wide for Nadir to scream over in the corner and the game was on! Fiery tackling, short balls and pick and goes were thwarted by Cheltenham, who were holding on by now, and with one final attempt in the right corner, the ball didn’t quite go to hand and they were delighted to kick it into touch to claim a narrow victory in a pulsating game.

Overall, an excellent tournament. It was great to play some different schools. Gloucestershire rugby lived up to its reputation for being hard, physical and passionate and playing against opposition like this will only make our squad better players. Ball retention and tackling too high still need addressing but overall, an outstanding effort by the whole squad.