St John's School, Leatherhead Boys-U14A vs King's College School (KCS), Wimbledon
On: Saturday, 26 Nov 2016
The opening 5 minutes of the U14As game against KCS Wimbledon looked like nothing had changed since our performance of the term at Hailebury last week. We were quick off the line, we were in the faces of our opposition and were looking dangerous in attack. An early score was just missed, working off the great play from Jack Goodman and Patrick Boothby, but alas a forward pass between them was all that stopped (what would have been) an outstanding opening to the game.
The feeling at this point was that KCS Wimbledon were just starting to wake up, and our forwards were made all to aware of it. Their forwards were big and incredibly well drilled, an issue most notable in the line-outs when a driving maul consistently drove our pack back 15m each time. A few penalties in the rucks gave KCS a moment of momentum, which unfortunately they took full advantage off and drove us back over our try line for the first score. The boys responded well, keeping their heads up, but KCS also had their heads up at this point and proved to be a very tough line to break. Some impressive takes from Joe Moss and Hugo Battershill broke the lines of KCS, but without efficient support and a technically proficient opposition we weren’t winning many of our rucks.
Without much of the possession, some heads began to drop during the first half which inevitably allowed two more KCS Wimbledon tries to slip past us, one around the maul off a line-out and one through a fantastic run by the opposition 13.
We required a restart much like the first 5 minutes of the first half, but alas it was not to be. Another try from KCS Wimbledon appeared to be sealing our fate. But a moment of hope appeared in the form of Patrick Boothby with an outstanding run from our own half, beaten upwards of 3 defenders in the processes. Being high tackled on the line gave us a penalty try, which was certainly converted by Ryan Trevitt.
We began to fight much harder throughout the second half, despite being bumped off a few larger boys we held on hard and dug in deep. A few decisions weren’t coming our way from the referee which made things a lot harder to come back from, but none the less the boys kept on going. To top things off we had to replace two players through injury as well. At this stage we were getting towards the end of the game and the 'mountain we had to climb' had become too steep. One final try from the KCS team ended the match.
This certainly acted as a reminder to some of the boys that we still have some lessons to learn. We need to be able to adapt to different oppositions with their differing strengths, and we need to be able to keep our cool - particular when decisions aren’t going the way in which we would like. But there were still some significant positives to take forward to next week, nothing suggesting that we still can’t win our remaining two games of the season.