Wendens Ambo U10s Super 7 Festival
A strong start to 2018 for the U10s
Wendens Ambo Super 7 U10s Festival,
Carver Barracks, Wimbish
Sunday, 14th January, 2018
An overcast morning but the pitches were in good condition and it was great to see our boys back in action after a long break. Our last competitive match was back in November as we had lost fixtures because of the waterlogged ground but the boys quickly got back into their stride and we finished the Festival with an impressive tally of six wins, two draws and one loss from the nine games played. 27 boys played split into three teams each of which played three matches.
As usual there was some excellent individual play but it was particularly pleasing to see how well players in all three teams rucked. This gave us good clean possession which helped to set up many of our tries.
Cambridge Blood (Chris’ team)
Squad: Alex, Jack, Johnnie, Nile, Nikolai, Oliver, Rajmond, Reuben, Ted
Match 1 - Shelford ‘3’
Both teams seemed a little rusty after the long break and the early exchanges were a bit scrappy. The game came to life when Nile stole the ball in middle and burst through to make the opening score. Shelford then enjoyed a period of possession but were thwarted by some strong tackling by Nikolai, Nile, Johnnie and Ted. After forcing a knock on and winning the ball back, Reuben finally got his first touch, a dip of the shoulder, stepping round two defenders and a score in the corner. Reuben’s 2nd touch had much the same result as he showed tremendous pace up the touch line before cutting in to beat 3 defenders for a try putting us 3-0 up. Shelford fought back immediately with a strong run through the middle to score - there were a couple of obvious missed tackles from Cambridge though. Cambridge then remembered how to pass! A couple of off-loads and a strong run from Oliver allowed him to score in the corner. Shelford didn’t give up and despite a couple of try-saving tackles from Reuben the pressure paid off and Shelford scored out wide. Cambridge then seemed to lift their foot off the gas - slow to the breakdown and a lack of protection of the ball meaning they were starved of possession. However, Jack and Alex rucked hard to win the ball back. Alex made a mazy run through the middle with an electric change of direction which took Cambridge away from their line and relieved the pressure.
The 2nd half started with a big maul - the deadlock was broken by Nile who ripped the ball free and turned on the gas to score in the corner. Cambridge then dominated possession but repeatedly kept running into contact rather than looking for space. However, with Nile on form Cambridge wouldn’t be denied for long as he again arced wide and then stepping in beat the last man and score. A strong tackle from Alex and some aggressive rucking from Reuben helped win the ball back to see out the game.
Try scorers: Nile 3, Reuben 2, Oliver
Cambridge Blood 6 - Shelford 2
Match 2 - Wendens Ambo Knaves
A poachers try from Nile opened the scoring. Strong tackling from Cambridge at the restart. Oliver made a good steal to win back possession. Nile then blustered down the middle before offloading to Johnnie who burst over for a score. Alex and Jack showed some good rucking and a brave tackle from Rajmond - who got a boot in the face in the process - stopped a certain try. With possession regained Reuben went on a characteristic run and scored in the corner to put us 3-0 ahead. Wenden fought back straight away to score through middle. With the game opening up Ted burst though two tackles to reply instantly with a try. From the restart Cambridge backed off the Wenden runner to let him score unopposed. A soft try and out of character for this tough tackling Cambridge team.
Both teams made a scrappy but committed start to the second half. A long period of possession from Wenden followed but Cambridge absorbed it well.
A great steal by Ted led to another Cambridge try as Nile scored after strong run from Johnnie up the middle. Some strong rucking from Oliver, Ted, and Johnnie gave Nile the ball which inevitably lead to another try. Nile finished off a good Cambridge move after blistering burst from Jack. Once Cambridge get their offload game going they are hard to stop. A consolation try by Wenden ends the game. Try scorers: Nile 3, Johnnie, Reuben, Ted
Cambridge Blood 7 - Wendens Ambo 3
Match 3 - Royston Ravens
Again some strong tackling and good rucking from Cambridge saw them camp on the Royston try line. Alex opened the scoring with a burst of acceleration into the corner. Ted made a great head-on tackle at the restart but some slick passing from Royston lead to a try in the corner. Oliver took the ball at the restart and powered through the middle to score a superb solo try. Oliver and Nile then combined to rip the ball from the Royston at the next restart and Nile ran the length to score. Nile again powers through defence on his next touch of the ball. Try. The boy was on fire! and he scored yet again with another run from the half way line putting us 5-1 up. Royston didn’t throw in the towel and moved the ball wide and again found space to score.
Cambridge replied immediately with a try from Reuben. Nikolai then ghosted through the defence beating 3 defenders before a pop pass to Reuben saw him run in another try. Oliver and Jack worked hard in the centre to win possession before Nikolai jinked through a couple of tackles to link up with Reuben again with a great offload in the tackle. Reuben finished off the move by cantering in unopposed to put us 8-2 up at half time. A high tackle gave Cambridge a free pass deep in Royston half. Ted drove through but was held up. Some scrappy play followed before the unstoppable Nile got his hands on the ball again. Try! Royston staged a determined fight back and scored again. At the restart Reuben runs in at the corner showing great pace. Reuben again makes it look easy with a wicked sidestep beating 5 defenders in one go to score yet another try. Rajmond continues to make a nuisance of himself around the fringes and made an excellent steal defending his own line before passing to Jack who then runs the length of the pitch to score the last try of the game. Try scorers: Reuben 4, Nile 4, Alex, Oliver, Jack
Cambridge Blood 11 - Royston Ravens 3
Cambridge Sand (Simon’s Team)
Squad: Alessandro, Elia, Elias, Jacob, Kyle, Louis, Sam, Will, Zach
Match 1 - Huntingdon Stags
It took both sides a few minutes to warm to the task but our pre-match drills paid off and our rucking was good right from the start and this gave us a huge advantage through plenty of good possession which our stronger runners were able to capitalise on. Jacob and Elia (2) ran in three tries in quick succession both running at least half the length of the pitch shaking off multiple tackles on the way. Huntingdon weren’t playing badly and their tackling and rucking was pretty good but they had no answer against our strongest runners. Our defensive work was also good with Will, Zach and Alessandro all making good tackles. Zach then forced his way past 3 or 4 tackles to score in the corner and Elia made an excellent run to put us 5-0 up at half-time. The Huntingdon coaches pep-talk seemed to work as they came out very positively in the second half. One of the Huntingdon players got away and was flying down the line but Will made a superb tackle to stop a certain try. Sam and Zach both made a couple of strong runs but Huntingdon had picked up their game and they were both stopped short of the line. Huntingdon stole the ball from a ruck close to the sideline, our boys were blind-sided and they were able to claw one back. We had to fight hard to gain ground during this phase of the match and there was some good team work involving runs and passes by Sam and Will in particular which lead to Jacob scoring his second and third tries. Good tackling by Louis who then made a super run 3/4 of the length of the pitch to score our final try. Huntingdon scored following a free pass 5m from our line. Elia was stopped just short of the line after making another super run. Try scorers: Elia 3, Jacob 3, Louis and Zach
Cambridge Sand 8 - Huntingdon Stags 2
Match 2 - Wendens Ambo Knights
This was a closely fought match right from the start with both sides showing good tackling and rucking skills. The deadlock was finally broken after Sam made a run, was stopped and managed to pass to Alessandro who burst through to score. Wendens came back strongly but we defended well (Elias, Sam, Louis, Alessandro and Will in particular) and it was hard for either team to make ground. Zach had our best chance making a strong run up the centre but he was tackled just short of the line and his subsequent pass was slightly forward so we went into half-time just 1-0 up. The second half started in much the same fashion and there was again some good tackling particularly by Elias. The pressure was relieved when Elias made another good solo run to put us 2-0 up and this seemed to re-inspire our boys and we saw some good passing between Sam and Alessandro and great rucking by Will, Sam and Jacob before Zach made a strong solo run brushing off several tackles to put us 3-0 ahead. It looked as if we finally had the match under control but Wendens fought back and when we gave away a free pass though a high tackle just 5m from our line Wendens were able to power through and they quickly followed up with another soft try when we failed to make tackles. A hard match and our boys worked hard throughout and thoroughly deserved the win. Try scorers: Alessandro, Elia, Zach
Cambridge Sand 3 - Wendens Ambo Knights 2
Match 3 - Royston Rooks
The boys had put in a lot of effort in the first two matches and only had a short break before their final match and understandably many of them looked tired. They lacked concentration at the start and a poor pass by Sand was pounced on by Royston who ran in an easy try to take the lead. Elia then made a good run and got close to the Royston line before being tackled and making an unselfish pass to Alessandro who levelled the score. Royston had some strong runners and we missed a lot of tackles allowing them to re-take the lead. Louis made another excellent run to bring the score back to 2-2 but we soon gave away another soft try when we again failed to make tackles. Our tackling was very variable - we went through periods when we completely missed tackle after tackle but then had other periods when our defensive work was very strong with Elias, Sam, Alessandro and Louis all putting in good work. It was great to see Kyle running in his first try of the season - much rejoicing in the coach’s household! Elias then scored what most people thought was a try but the referee was unsighted and did not give it and Royston scored shortly afterwards so we went into half-time 3-4 down. Jacob made a good run but failed to find support and we lost the ball only to regain it after a good tackle by Sam, and Louis ran in another excellent try. Elias then made a super solo run almost the whole length of the pitch to put us ahead for the first time in the match... only for Royston to equalise through another soft try. Alessandro made a strong run to put us back in the lead but the match seemed to go on forever and, despite some good defensive work by Sand, Royston managed to level the score with the last play of the match.
Try scorers: Louis 2, Alessandro 2, Elia, Kyle
Cambridge Sand 6 - Royston Rooks 6
Cambridge Blue (Rob’s Team)
Squad: Austin, Bo, Charles, Declan, Ebrima, Freddie, George, Harry, Lewis
Match 1 - Royston Crows
Our players had not had played any rugby together for several weeks and it showed. We conceded two soft tries in as many minutes. Thereafter, Cambridge Blue got into their stride with spirited tackling running and rucking including with everyone getting involved Declan and Charles. By the end of the match tries from Lewis, Ebrima and Austin (2) had earned us a draw. This was a fair result and both teams played well.
Cambridge Blue 4 - Royston Crows 4
Match 2 - Saffron Walden
Cambridge Blue outplayed Saffron Walden in all areas of running, rucking, tackling and determination to win. Try scorers were Austin (4), Harry, Lewis, George (2), Lachlan and Bo (2). Unfortunately this game was just not competitive and there was little for either side to learn from it.
Cambridge Blue 11 - Saffron Walden 0
Match 3 - Shelford ‘1’
Shelford fielded two players of exceptional size and strength. One, in particular, looked like he could hold his own in an under-12s match. Shelford used these players to great effect and Cambridge Blue failed to make leg tackles to neutralise their runs. Nevertheless, our boys showed excellent spirit and did not let their heads drop. The Cambridge Blue try was scored by Austin but there were two other fine efforts stopped just short of the try line.
Cambridge Blue 1 - Shelford ‘1’ 4