Action Photos
Reading Blue Coat School Boys-U13A vs  Tiffin School
On: Saturday, 01 Dec 2018
Venue: Away

Lost 30 - 10

Tries: Lucas Dance (2)

Celebrity mention: : Ed Telling - having been moved to the Bs for a couple of games, Ed has come back into the As retaining a newly found intensity and carried, rucked and tackled to a stand-still to produce an excellent performance.

This was always going to be a tough game against a Tiffin side who are described by their staff as their 'gun' year group, and they aren't wrong! But probably the best team performance of the year saw an excellent display, despite the score.

During the warm up, I was wondering how Tiffin managed to get two GAP students on one team to help, then they took their tracksuits off and were in fact the opposition U13s!! I am aware this sounds like excuse making in a team where we have tried to eradicate excuse making and replace it with collective responsibility, but they were huge!

Nevertheless, after a poor start the previous week, a better start was one of the targets and the team duly obliged with Jack Rees (a MoM contender) smashing their centre in the midfield in one of the many hits he put in. The plan was to play into the wind, rain and up the slope in the first half with a damage limitation ploy to capitalise in the second half.

The plan was going well, until we fell off a few tackles to allow their winger through to score. A chat amongst the players then found a new resolve as Brandon Kingsbury (giving away at least 2ft to his opponent) and Sam Deacon (another MoM contender) and Jack Leftley atoned for previous errors to lead a tumultuous defensive effort to keep Tiffin at bay. With the amount of territory Tiffin had, tries were bound to come, and so they did, despite the excellent line speed, which was commented on by the opposition coach, the team haemorrhaged a few tries.

Despite this, there were some excellent spells where some exit strategies worked really well and the backs tried to move the ball at the right times with Dylan Baker distributing well, despite the conditions, to see Nadir Naseem, Sam, Tom Day and Lucas all ,make forays into the opponents' half. Considering the conditions, the handling from both teams was excellent. Unfortunately, probably because we were tired from the defensive effort, we couldn't quite retain possession long enough in the far 22 to create sustained pressure although we did sneak over for a try from a well worked penalty. At 3-1, it looked like a second half turn around was on the cards but unfortunately, despite brave tackling, their winger stretched out (his very long reach) to score on the stroke of half-time to make it 4-1.

There was still plenty of belief at half-time, despite some very tired bodies as the front five, particularly Ed, Kian Morjaria and Kellen Draper had carried well in close areas which was hugely energy sapping.

The second half strategy was to use the conditions (although the rain had notably stopped) to gain territory and play in their third. While there were some excellent kicks and kick chases, they didn't necessarily come in pairs but as it's a tactic we've not really employed before, understandable so Tiffin ended up with more ball than we would have liked meaning the defensive effort was still crucial. However, after some excellent forward driving, Lucas (another MoM contender) was thrown over the line by an opposition player to score our second. We then created several opportunities, notably in the right and left corners but Tiffin showed their defensive resolve to snuff out the chances that would have heaped pressure on them.

Tiring bodies then succumbed to the excellent patterns Tiffin were able to run with their main carrier often taking three of our players to bring him down to score two more tries which, although I am clearly biased, allowed the score to not entirely reflect the game.

It wasn't a day for pretty rugby (although both teams did try) )and the outside backs had a tough time but a mention should go to Max Dhanda (I'm pleased I didn't have to do his washing) who was another MoM contender as he was challenged to have a 'big game against big opponents' and he duly delivered.

Overall, a loss gets recorded but in the team huddle the first that was said by a player was, 'a lot better than last week' - he was right!.