Action Photos
Reading Blue Coat School Boys-U13A vs  Magdalen College School
On: Saturday, 08 Dec 2018
Venue: Away

Lost 35 - 15

Tries: Dance, Day, Naseem,

Celebrity Mention: Jack Leftley - Jack has wanted to play in the centre all season but has been picked as a forward in the As - never complaining, happy to prop, 2nd row - whatever is thrown at him. At MCS he produced another tenacious and gritty display, hitting countless rucks which exemplified the season he has had.

A lacklustre performance saw the As go down 7 tries to 3, where some old habits of tackling too high and poor ball retention crept in to allow an athletic MCS side plenty of opportunities to score.

A disappointing way to end the season, not only due to the score, but the lethargic and tired display (understandable according to the Director of the Lower School after Thursday's efforts) that didn't really reflect the team's abilities. I could list pretty much every player who did something excellent and then followed it up with something pretty average, which was probably a reflection of this.

The plan, again, was to play into the stiff wind first half and then use the elements in the second half, so a sterling display, particularly from the forwards keeping the ball was going to be essential.....so we let the ball bounce off the first kick off and were soon 4-0 down! At times the team played some good rugby where the ball was moved to the wings in some pretty precarious positions, as MCS's forwards gained the upper hand which meant our ball carriers were involved in committing to rucks, as opposed to being free to carry. Giving the ball away softly in the tackle and trying to force offloads (I sometimes forget they are 12) meant we were pinned in our half for large periods, so when a missed tackle did come, MCS were able to break through to score.

Losing the ball at the back of the scrum and ruck, as MCS got their hands in to disrupt the flow of quick ball didn't help but some forays into opposition territory by Nadir and Tom saw Sam narrowly held up just short of the line, only for Lucas to take a quick tap penalty to get us on the board and give the team hope for the turnaround.

With the wind on our backs, the game was (in my mind anyway) still firmly alive and an initial break by Brandon, now in at SH to try to speed our ball up from the ruck, was rounded off as Tom broke through tackles to make it 4-2. However, in the break Brandon received a knock and whilst he was receiving treatment, MCS went straight back to score to take the wind out of our sails.5-2 was still surmountable and Nadir (now 11 tries in 8 games) was fed by Sam, who has had an excellent 2nd half of the season, to go over to make it 5-3.

The tactic of kicking the ball down (not our favourite strategy but functional) and chasing was keeping the ball in MCS's defensive third. A couple of kicks were over-cooked but both Lucas and Tom had grubbers go agonisingly over the (very short) dead ball line when it looked like they might score as the team enjoyed the upper hand for the first time in the match. MCS then made a couple of subs and brought key players back on because, in their coaches words, 'You guys had made the game even" and their increased athleticism saw a couple of high tackle attempts punished with two tries as we fell off the tackles.The team did keep going and it was ironically, the last play of the game where a 50m kick bounced into touch 2m from their line that was the quality execution of strategy we had been looking for! (Again, I need to remember they are 12!)

Although it was a shame to finish this way, the team has made great progress over the two years at school. Next year, it will be good for them to have a new coach, with fresh eyes who may well ring a few changes in position and personnel to help the players keep developing. As a group they have trained superbly and with over 50 regularly at practice, this team have had to train well to keep their positions in the squad which they have done with aplomb. They have also bought into the team #RBCS ethos and rounding on team mates who have made mistakes has been all but eradicated. I hope they take this through to their other sports.

What I won't miss - 'Frozen' being sung/screeched on the way back on the bus, interspersed with tracks from Mr Dhanda's play list - Queen, Motorhead, Bon Jovi - not quite sure how Frozen fits with that lot?!

I would, however, like to say a big 'Thank you' to all the parents for all your support over the two years. As a coach it is great to have a set of parents from whom I have hardly heard a negative comment (despite one or two very average refereeing performances!!) - a real credit to the school and an understanding that whilst we all like winning, there are bigger things at play. I do hope your children thank you for all your support as with 8/11 away fixtures (not sure what I did to upset Mr Seward) a huge amount of time and expense has been committed to support this team.

JD