Hitchin U10s v Cambridge U10s
Cambridge rack up an impressive 74 tries across 9 matches
A beautiful sunny morning and perfect pitch conditions though there was a biting cold wind. Hitchin are a large club and typically field strong teams so it was a fantastic result for our boys to win 8 of their 9 matches and draw the other, racking up an impressive total of 74 tries whilst conceding only 20. The boys showed impressive levels of skill and enthusiasm and its clear that our intensive training sessions are really paying off.
Cambridge Blue (Coaches: Rob and Simon)
Squad: Andrew, Austin, Elia, Jacob, Kyle, George, Michael, Nikolai, Will
A fast flowing opening game developed into a try-fest. Andrew opened the scoring following some strong tackling by Jacob in the middle. This was followed in quick succession by tries from Austin, Jacob, Will and Andrew again. The second half saw more of the same. The first try came from an excellent long pass from Austin to George who beat three defenders to sneak in at the corner. The next score came from a burst of speed from Andrew as he ran in from the half-way line. A mazy run from Kyle, fixing the defenders with the ball in two hands, made a gap for Will to run in another try. A big hit from Will forced a Hitchin player to spill the ball which was scooped up by Andrew who side-stepped his way to the line. The try of the match was then scored by Will who mauled the ball free from three Hitchin players and then ran the length of the pitch. A couple more tries scored by Jacob and Austin wrapped up a convincing win.
Cambridge 13 - Hitchin 4
The second match sparked into life with a superb try from Elia running in from half way.
Some sloppy tackling in the centre then allowed Hitchin to equalise, but Elia responded immediately from the restart with a typically elusive run beating many defenders on the way to the line. In the next play of the game a strong tackle from Nikolai sent the Hitchin ball carrier flying and dislodged the ball. Andrew pounced on the loose ball and ran in another try. Three more Cambridge tries followed from Will and Elia (twice) before Hitchin fought back with a try of their own. George then prevented another Hitchin score with a try saving tackle in the corner. The next score saw Michael run in from the half way line his long loping stride reminiscent of a young Andy Ripley. Following some more tough tackling from Nikolai, Andrew ran in the last two tries with an injection of pace that nobody could live with.
Cambridge 10 - Hitchin 3
The third match was closer despite the emphatic score line. After the opening exchange the score stood at one all. George then broke the deadlock with a superb finish in the corner in very little space. Next, Jacob bulldozed through the middle, drawing the defence before a nicely weighted offload to Will who finished off the move. The second half saw some good short passing from Freddie, more tough tackling at close range from Nikolai and strong mauling from Michael winning valuable possession. The next try came from Will after George stripped the ball in the tackle. Hitchin immediately responded with a try of their own after some excellent passing. Cambridge then had to absorb some pressure from Hitchin with some strong tackling from George out wide saving another Hitchin try. A powerful run from Michael, spinning out of tackles saw Austin then fire up the after-burners and run the length of the pitch to score. But still Hitchin kept coming. Will was a tackling machine at this point hitting man after man to keep them out. The pressure was eased by Michael with another trademark bullocking run down the middle to score – taking two defenders with him! Some dazzling footwork from Kyle then saw Elia run in the final try with a bamboozling run, side-stepping 5 opponents.
Cambridge 9 - Hitchin 2
Cambridge Blood (Coach - Manuel)
Squad: Charles, Declan, John, Jonty, Lewis, Mateo, Rajmond, Reuben, Sam, Tobias
A positive start from Cambridge involving a strong attacking move in which a run by Lewis ended in an off-load to Charles who scored in the corner. Hitchin equalised quickly and the match was fairly evenly matched early on with Hitchin in particular showing good rucking skills. Both sides failed to make tackles during this phase and let in soft tries and the score moved to 2-2. Cambridge then shifted up a gear with Jonty, Reuben and Sam all making strong tackles, and our attack proved too strong for Hitchin allowing us to score three tries in the run-up to half-time: the first set up by a pass from Sam to Jonty, the second a gutsy individual run by Mateo and the last a strong run by Reuben who made a good pass to Jonty who scored. Hitchin had a couple of strong runners who caused us some problems but our defence was strong enough to keep them out though sometimes a bit too close to our line for comfort. The second half was completely dominated by our boys who ran in six tries - mainly individual efforts by Jonty, Mateo and Reuben. A special mention to Lewis who put in a huge amount of effort in the game gaining a lot of ground for the team belying his lack of experience. We managed to burgle the ball a few times by ripping it in tackles (and mauls) which was great though it’s less effective to do this when out wide as missed tackles can lead to us conceding tries. Try scorers: Jonty 5, Reuben 3, Charles, Mateo and Tobias 1 each
Cambridge 11 - Hitchin 2
The second match was a lot tougher. Our boys played positively from the start with Jonty, John, Mateo, Rajmond and Sam all making good tackles before Jonty made a strong individual run to put us into the lead. Every inch was hard fought and Sam showed some positive aggression driving the Hitchin defence back over the try line but failed to touch down as he was held up by 3 or 4 Hitchin players. Lewis scored a well-deserved try putting us 2-0 up but Hitchin came back strongly. We defended well and it was good to see everyone joining in with Jonty making a crucial tackle stopping Hitchin just short of our line and Declan strong in the rucks. A Hitchin runner finally got away running half the length of the pitch wasn’t tackled and scored. Sam forced his way through the Hitchin defence and this time managed to get the ball down to put us 3-1 ahead. We then gave away another soft try allowing one of Htchin’s boys to run 3/4 the length of the pitch - none of our players got close to tackling him so we went into the break just 3-2 up. We started positively enough in the second half with strong runs by John, Rajmond and Sam and some excellent tackling particularly by Reuben but Hitchin resisted the pressure and equalised after we again failed to make tackles. It remained hard fought all the way to the end with Tobias and Mateo both scoring after strong individual runs but Hitchin matched us try for try. Rueben nearly scored the winner right at the end but the ball was knoecked out of his hand close to the line and the final result was a draw. Try scorers: Jonty, Lewis, Mateo, Sam, Tobias
Cambridge 5 - Hitchin 5
We were short of time and could only play the first half of our third match. We got off to a great start with Tobias taking us into an early lead and Jonty quickly followed up with a characteristically strong run after burgling yet another ball. We then let Hitchin run in an easy try before Reuben made a superb, streaking run to seal the victory.Try Scorers: Jonty, Reuben and Tobias
Cambridge 3 - Hitchin 1
Our boys have every reason to be proud of their performance - our tackling was generally good - except for the times we let Hitchin’s faster runners get away unchallenged - and our individual running was very strong. Areas to work on: we lost the ball several times because boys were carrying the ball in one hand and either dropped it or had it knocked out of their hands - including what would have been a match-winning try. Many tackles were made around the body and were too high to be effective. There was little rucking by our side. This was partly because boys were quick to pass the ball after they had been tackled but often players on both teams stood back watching rather than forming a ruck or picking up the ball after we had rucked over
Cambridge Sand (Chris’s Team)
Squad: Alex, Bo, Harry, Hugh, Jack, Johnnie, Lachlan, Oliver,Ted, Zach
Lack of concentration at the start of the first match allowed Hitchin to take the lead but Cambridge soon got into the game with strong defence and straight running. Johnnie, Lachlan and Hugh all made multiple tackles. The typical attack was a strong direct run by our bigger ball carriers such as Harry or Bo; Cambridge rucked over, and speedier boys like Jack or Hugh scored. Johnnie turned-over Hitchin ball setting up Hugh for a try. Cambridge won multiple turnovers from Hitchin which was good to see. Pleasing to see the boys quickly gelling and playing as a team. Try scorers were Bo 2, Johnnie 2, Jack, Hugh and Oliver 1 each.
Cambridge 6 - Hitchin 2
Confusion at the breakdown by Cambridge allowed a physical Hitchin team to score first. This galvinised our boys who began the restart with huge determination and aggression. The team took the game to Hitchin and displayed great pressure at the breakdown. Johnnie’s defensive play was particularly strong with many big tackles. Good to see Andrew running straight and confidently with ball in hand. A great break by Oliver was stopped by a brave tackle by Hitchin but resulted in an injury to Oliver so he retired early. Hugh was on hand to take the off-load and scored. Zach won the ball at the breakdown and powered across to score a strong try. Another great team performance all round by Cambridge. Try scorers were Hugh 3, Lachlan 3, Johnnie 3, Zach 1, Bo 1, and Harry 1
Cambridge 11 - Hitchin 1
For the final game the boys were asked to concentrate on keeping a clean sheet – they delivered! Another great team effort. Again, Johnnie led the tackle count but the whole defence was good, with Jack, Andrew and Ted putting in some brave tackles. Pleasing to see the team keeping straight and flat in defence. Special mention for Bo’s strong run through the Hitchin line, he was tackled just short of the try line but Hugh was in close support to get the score. Bo had to leave the field as the tackle resulted in a leg injury. The game was shortened due to time constraints otherwise Cambridge would have extended the lead. Try scorers Johnnie (2), Hugh, Ted, Zack and Harry 1 each.
Cambridge 6 - Hitchin 0