The Sarries boys were told at the team talk we were missing arguably some of our best tacklers, but to their credit not only did they meet the challenge, they surpassed expectations with a fine display coming out 24-0 victors.
The Sarries defence from the kick off was organised, disciplined and solid; whereas our attack was clinical, aggressive and flowing, and the pace set meant the opposition were always backtracking. But for a multitude of last ditch tackles from Thornbury the score could easily have been double the four try haul.
From the outset surging runs made by man of the match Kian were a fantastic sight paying back the coaches intuition by giving him the no.15 jersey. In addition to some crunching tackles in the middle of the field, he didn’t waiver when left as the last man.
Not bad for a lad who started playing rugby a matter of months ago!
The first of his two tries was scored by determination and pace that pierced the defence on 9 mins, stepping a couple of players and dropping a shoulder into a defender and diving over the line. Importantly it paved the way for the team to have faith in winning even though we had a skeleton squad of barely 16 with a few playing out of position.
The belief continued with the centres combination of Harry and Cole gaining quality yards every time the ball was span wide. Barring a couple of different decisions in the heat of battle they could have bagged a couple of scores each. Both keen to penetrate the defence they set up countless attacks. None the less, they would not have been in such space if it wasn’t for a near faultless display from Kean who bossed the game at ten with quick and decisive ball. He had a great game and really shone today. The wingers, Jaden and Taylor (The Ninja!), weren’t to be undone and threatened with some cracking runs of their own. A good defence by the Bristolians stopping at least two definite tries in each half.
Now, Lodgey and anyone who would listen to him… would have us believe it’s all about the forwards; and in today’s game he wasn’t far off the mark as strikes against the head by Tank (Thomas) were frequent, and in failing that, an 8 man drive stole the ball from Thornbury on numerous occasions at scrum time.
The backs gained most of their ball this morning from the endeavour and hunting nature of our hungry pack. In addition the lineout was always quick and accurate with quality ball supplied, and when spoiling was called for, the boys didn’t disappoint forcing the opposition 9 to make poor decisions under pressure.
A first half highlight was a 5mtr lineout front peel feeding back to Tank & was a joy to watch – bar a blade of grass on the whitewash, it would have been a training ground dream !
I’m not sure how but the first half ended with the Sarries only 7-0 up. Now the fear was that we would switch off as we had done in previous games.
However, we needn’t have worried as following stern words in the huddle the boys got hungry & gave the opposition even less ball in this second period. Charlie had another great game in attack, and defence, and the stealing from Leo, Adam and Ryan was great to see.
The forwards continued as they left off and it was evident when the decision to run a maul from an early line out we maintained the upper hand as territory was never hard to win with some good body positions and a surprised opposition in retreat.
The same power from our leg drive also saw off any resistance at many of the rucks with Sam Budge, Ryan and Toby bossing the game with some good dog along with clever thinking and quick hands from Adam and skipper Noah jackling like good back row were born to do. In fact every time there was a breakdown, the hunger from the lads came through and the chance of a steal was snapped up. It was from such a turnover around the 4th min and quick ball pickup saw Charlie mash his way through the Bristol defenders and there was only one winner from 10 metres out with a lovely try giving us a 14 -0 lead.
Of course without sniping runs and quick distribution from Fred, many of the attacks would have been thwarted early on, but a good sports brain and the fact he’s developing into one of those annoying scrum halves (cheers Pross..!) denting the oppositions defence with quick ball and good decisions from the boot or hand.
The next try followed just a couple of minutes later after a team effort from start to finish with a turnover ball scruffily won then smoothly distributed to the backs well worked and supported that used interplay between Harry and Jaden with Kian running a cracking line creating an overlap for his second.
With further changes seeing Cole leave the field and the pack rearrange to release Growler into the backs at centre where he showed us some of those quick feet he loves to use, more akin to Strictly (!) he had great change of direction and Guscott-ess in its effectiveness. In fact the last was scored by him but this was a shorter crash-through try, well deserved and capped a nice way to spend a Sunday morning.