Below are the summaries from different age groups in CRUFC Mini and Youth. They reflect on the past season and look forward to the new one. Highlights were that the U13, U14 and U15 age groups were all county champions AND Easter County Champions. Well over 400 players represented CRUFC Mini and Youth and there is plenty of room for this to grow.
Let's have another great season. The future is bright, the future is Blood and Sand!
As last year's U8s Cambridge played some great rugby last season and their efforts saw more games won than lost. Narrow overall victories against Shelford and Newmarket contrasted with overwhelming results against, Stevenage, Ely and Hitchin. An early season highlight was to be crowned joint winners of the Peterborough Festival and just after Christmas a superb day in the light snow at a Bury St Edmunds tri fixture where Cambridge dominated both the hosts and Wymondham.
The weather that day proved to be apocryphal as the snow, ice and biting winds took over. All that good work was now pray to the bad weather and we lost so much training and playing time that momentum was lost. Having not been able to really see the players in action we choose two equal teams to go to the County Cup. Both did well with one team getting to the Semi’s only to lose narrowly to the eventual winners. The other team only lost their group to the other finalists. The truth was that lack of match practice and training meant we ran out of steam just when we needed it.
We were able to field four teams regularly and have added to our squad throughout the season. When I think of the players back in early October at the County Festival and how they have developed into the highly competitive players at the Cambridge Festival I know the future is bright. Where we were once a collection of individuals we are now becoming a team and the key to much of our good play was down to our defence. The players tagged like demons and often brought oppositions to a standstill. The effort and will to win has never been in doubt but the skills development and an improving attitude set us up nicely for the coming year.
Contact the U9s here
The Cambridge U9s had a strong season with a great turnout fielding four sides with upwards of 40 players on the roster. We were particularly pleased to welcome a number of new players to the team that included those new to rugby as well as those that had some experience. The team continued its ethos of inclusion ensuring that all players had good playing time and fielding mixed squads except under exceptional circumstances. This has served the team well with all players improving and in particular with the more experienced players helping the newer players.
The team adjusted well to tackling per the new rules and focused on moving the ball to space through passing and support. This served the team well and the overall record was 52-victories, 10-draws, and 24-losses. The U9s won their bracket in the Bishops Stortford Festival and took the plate in the Peterborough festival. The U9s tackled well and progressed in developing a sense of the whole pitch learning to hold their channel on defence and to better anticipate passes in support. There were vestiges of U8 play when the boys would try and run the length of the pitch rather than anticipate a tackle and look for support. However, towards the second half of the season they started to take pleasure in helping to set up a try rather than trying to win the game as individuals. The only teams that came out on top were those that played a relatively unimaginative straightforward ‘Give it to the big guy’ type of game although we were impressed by overall intensity and good play of Bedford and Woodbridge who did give us a bit of a wakeup call.
Even with the difficult weather this season, the coaches were impressed that all of our players showed up for matches or training even on the most miserable days. More importantly, the teams that we played were all very complementary to the style of rugby we played and the spirit and drive of our players. In many cases, our players were complemented by the opposition coaches for both team play and individual play.
The U9s showed excellent team spirit and morale and finished the season on Colours Saturday with an all-out scrimmage in the pouring rain and mud. They are all very excited to continue their progression with the New Rules of Play for the U10s that include mini rucks, mauls, and un-contested scrums. Thanks to the parents and other supporters for their help this year and particular thanks to the Coaches for their efforts. With the recent Level 1 course we now have 6 coaches with Level 1 qualification with another two coaches assisting and all are eagerly awaiting the start of the new season along with 40 soon to be U10s.
Contact the U10s here
This age group has a healthy and growing 40 players providing a real challenge to the 6 or so coaches to ensure they all get a reasonable amount of game time.
The age group is committed to trying to develop an inclusive (ie all boys getting game time), open, attacking and passing game of rugby, in the early part of the season results suffered as a consequence in particular when we came up against well drilled teams at the breakdown.
There is still a lot of work to do in this area however results improved in the second half of the season and with a relatively successful County Cup (two teams through to the semi-finals), some really positive comments regarding our style from opposition and Cambridge parents alike and with good results against tough opposition at the recent tour to Holt we are confident that we now have a strong platform to take into next season.
Towards the end of the season we have also started to see the boys really start to develop a strong team spirit. We have always had characters in the team who demonstrate their will win to win every match but in the last months of the season we started to see all the boys really beginning to fight for each other, in particular when facing the better teams.
Contact the U11s here
U12s enjoyed another successful season. With over 40 registered players the U12s ran two equal squads (Bloods and Sands). Both squads enjoyed success on the field and continued their development as competent rugby players.
The highlight of the season was the tour to Cardiff. Whereby the squad were able to experience 15 aside rugby on a whole pitch. Together with bonding and enjoying each others company as a squad.
The players and coaches alike are now looking forward to playing and adapting to Youth (U13s) rugby, where playing on a whole pitch will no doubt suit our running rugby style.
Contact the U13s here
Last season CRUFC U13s grew as an age group and welcomed at least 10 new players to the squad, which now stands at 34 players. Our fixtures were disrupted by the weather but we battled through playing 19 fixtures, winning 14, drawing 1 and losing 4 scoring 99 tries along the way and converting 43. We scored 624 points and had 261 scored against us.
The U13's went on tour to Oswestry where they played 5 matches over 3 days in varied conditions. They took their on the field performance a step further off the field by winning the mars bar boat race and entertained the locals with their Haka and egg catching antics.
Highlights not only include winning the County Cup and the Eastern Counties Cup Winners Cup but playing with such style and passion and never giving up.
Sam Hurd was awarded Players Player of the Year
Byron Sparkes was awarded Most Improved Player of the Year
George Marlin scored the most tries, 24 in total excluding any scored in 7's
Marcus Gaiser-Porter was awarded the Hard Man award for his bodyline tackling.
Contact the U14s here
The Under 14s have had a busy season playing 29 fixtures including tournaments winning 27 (lost first & last) scoring 192 Tries & 92 Conversions in the process.
Team Honours include winning the County & Eastern Counties, Northampton Saints Tournaments at both 15 & 7s & finishing runners up in the Cambridgeshire 7s, We still have 1 fixture left representing Northampton Saints at the Premiership 7s being held @ Bath RFC on 9 August.
Individual honours include 17 players being selected for the County Squad & 4 for Northampton EPDG, Japer Dix (No8) won Foremost Development category @ Cambridgeshire annual awards & both Sam Cridland 1013 ( 197 T / 14 C ) & Fraser Dingwall 1048 ( 172 T / 94 C ) have broken the 1000 point barrier for the club.
Along with winning the Northampton Tournaments at both 7 & 15 formats, 14-12 win over Huntingdon in CC SF in difficult conditions, Our 36-5 win over local rivals Shelford in the County Cup & 14-5 win over Colchester in the Eastern Counties Shield + On-going development of our squad of 26 players.
Apart from the weather our 36-15 defeat by Wymondham in our first game which we hope to put right.
Contact the U15s here
The U15s had a memorable season. With a squad of around 28 boys going on men, and welcoming several new faces this season, we stepped up a level in performance. Having to travel further afield and meeting new opposition in a Super league containing Chelmsford, Westcliff, Aylesford and Tonbridge Juddians, we needed all our player resources all season and it was inspiring to see so many different people who stood up and were counted upon in different hours of need.
We misjudged the start of the season and lined up two of the most powerful opposition, TJs and Chelmsford, essentially as the first matches. It was too early in the season and we were rolled over both times by excellent opposition. But we would love to have played them later in the season once we had found our confidence at a new level.
We played 16 games, won 12, lost the 2 just mentioned and technically drew the other 2.
One of those draws was our low point of the season. A home match vs Ipswich in torrential rain that the ref abandoned at half time for fear of someone drowning at the bottom of a ruck. We scored 614 points for, 238 against.
After the Christmas break the quality of 15 man rugby really went to new levels. Beating Saracens in front of their Coach, ex England Kieren Bracken, was special. Going to Westcliff and rolling them over was exciting. Passage through the county cup was straight forward but the resulting Eastern Counties Cup Final, vs Ipswich YMs (hosts) and North Walsham was a special event and a highlight. The squad of 20 boys who travelled all performed heroics as we stopped the YMs steamroller and then held our composure as we came from behind to beat Walsham 5-14.
All that was left was to take the inaugural county 7s crown at Shelford and tired legs got to the semi finals of the Ipswich 7s.
As this squad moves into the Academy, we look forward to greater things. 6 of the squad have been seelcted for Eastern Counties. But well done to everyone who played for the U15s last season!
Contact the U16s here
Last year’s Colts were one of the founder age groups for the new Academy initiative and we were pleased to recognise the sponsorship we received that provided funds for kit and external coaching resources.
The Colts made it to the QF of two National U18 competitions; in the LV Cup we lost to Tring, and in the National Plate we lost to Westcombe Park who went on to win the final. In the last EC U19 Cup the team narrowly lost to Colchester. The U17 squad have supported the Colts all season with players when they can as we have had a number of injuries this season.
Overall our playing record was:
P15 W 9 L6 Points For 542 Point against 241
The Academy was established to help with the movement of M&Y players through to senior rugby and five (5) Colts have played for Wanderers/development squad in both the Cambridgeshire Senior Cup and a midweek friendly, plus players turning out for the Exiles.
Three (3) of the squad will be involved with the development squad in the pre season training for next year.