[quote_left]Wild Geese play with confidence after an uphill start[/quote_left]
With our longest drive of the league programme tackled, the U13 Geese pitched up for the first time at Old Caterhamians in SE London. Despite the weather, the pitch was remarkable dry, benefiting from its position perched on top of a Surrey hill.
The Geese duly lost the toss and were handed the task of playing up the hill in the first half. Fly-half Oscar kicked us off and the Geese forwards went straight to work. Hard rucking and tackling, led by back-rowers Johnny and Blue, turned over the ball. The expansive game was parked as the forwards went to work with a big drive by lock Morgan bringing us to the Five. Strong rucking and a quick recycle got the ball to lock, Jed, who powered over for the first Try, on three minutes. Conversion was missed. Score: 0-5.
[blockquote]Report from Trevor Burns[/blockquote]
OC kicked off and immediately the good start was undone by allowing the ball to bounce and the resultant mess produced an OC scrum on the 5m line. OC obviously put great stead in their scrum (they even had some Italian-esque flowing locks) and they clinically pushed the Geese back and charged for the line. Irish defence went well but OC were too close and targeted and they went over to level the scores. Kick missed. Score 5-5.
[quote_right]Surrey League 4 Old Caterhamians U13 v London Irish ARFC U13 Geese[/quote_right]
Irish kicked-off and went right back up the field. The Geese pack were physically dominant in the loose and excellent driving and rucking from hooker Connor, flanker Sam and good linking back play from scrum-half Killian and Oscar saw consistent line breaks and progress. The backs broke clear and found Morgan on the charge who took an excellent pass and galloped over to restore the Irish lead. Conversion was good. Score 5-12.
OC kicked off and there was no repeat of the earlier error. Prop Chris took an excellent catch and would continue to for the rest of the game and charged off to gain territory. Strong forward running, led by Connor and Blue and good hands from Oscar and inside-centre Ollie created great space and outside-centre Josh didn’t need a second invitation and ran clear and touched down behind the posts. Score 5-19.
OC, however were a committed group and came right back. Their forward led their efforts and were just stopped short of the line. An Irish scrum on the Five saw the box kick returned and great defensive work from Killian and Morgan held up the dive over the line. There was an inevitability however about proceedings with the Irish scrum requiring some adjustments and OC went over under the posts. Score 12-19.
Irish powered on with a great speed to their attacking play being constantly supported by excellent breakdown work, frequent turnovers and good defensive work from tight-head Jonno. OC worked valiantly to come back but were well marshalled by the Irish defence and great positioning play on a small pitch by Irish FB, Rory, meant OC had no outlet to use the wind. The wingers also joined in with a great run from Cody bundled into touch on the Five. Strong Irish play upfront and in midfield saw another try from close in by Jed, again. HT score: 12-26
Irish had the wind and hill in the second half and fresh legs with James at lock and Jack on the wing. Encouraged with their play, there were numerous line breaks from Johnny, Morgan, Blue and Jack. Coupled with bullets from the breakdown from Killian and great distribution from Oscar and Ollie, space was frequently created. This saw two further tries from Josh, both around the end of the defensive cover. Wing Alex, finished the game at FB and ran back a rare kick from OC which prevented any idea of a comeback.
The solid defence continued with a line-break saving tackle from Cody, strong tackling from James and a one-man breakdown steal from Oscar. OC did get over for one more try from in-close, which again came from their forwards hard-charging. Lesson for Irish here in getting out to tap penalties quicker to prevent such straight forward scores. The game finished with an Irish break-out from their own 22 with Killian sprinting to half-way but the overlap went ignored. FT Score 17-38.
A super performance showing the benefit of the training game the previous weekend and most importantly, the mental retention by the lads of the lessons learnt. The play structure is coming along very well, however the tackling needs to be much lower towards the legs and the passing option needs to be used better on line-breaks.
We were well looked after by OC with a lovely MOTM drinks race in the bar afterwards. A return fixture is being planned for next season. Their coach was also highly complimentary about the Geese play and commitment.
MOTM was Connor who played at hooker, flanker and prop. Goose of the day was Josh for great running, kicking and a hat-trick of tries.
Pictures courtesy: P. Sanders, S. Maguire, T. Burns[/blockquote]