U9 Elks versus Matlock U9s (A)
By Jake Farrow
A day not without its issues......
Today saw us at glorious Matlock RUFC which is set in beautiful surroundings. Given that the ground sits in a valley next to a river and a canal it was a surprise at how hard the ground was on the pitches marked out for U9s. So hard, in fact, that there was a cut knee within the first few minutes in one game. The coaches discussed the suitability of the pitches and decided, much to the disappointment of all the kids, that it was probably better to play touch. The Matlock kids looked very confused whilst explaining the rules for this. It was clearly evident that touch wasn't going to work so we decided to move one of the pitches to a lusher, greener part of the field and, even though it was a little bit uneven (!), it made for a more enjoyable morning for everyone. It meant that only half the day was spent playing touch. Matlock came out of the blocks much better than us and scored a couple of good tries early on. They were snapping into tackles as well and had similar balance amongst their team as we did. They had some quick runners too and it made for a great game. The Elks came back into it as the game progressed and they subbed a few players in and out. The 1st match was played at a really quick pace and saw the teams needing a well deserved drink at half time as it was a warm day when the sun was out. 2nd half saw us start to impose ourselves as they suffered a few knocks (both physically and in confidence). We did have a small incident with a player losing their discipline and in the second game one of of the Matlock kids took one of the Ilkeston boys comments too literally. Both teams were spoken to after both of the incidents and apologies were made and accepted in good faith. It was a really even game which saw the Elks just to say edge it on (indicative) score in my view. Again, there were too many missed tackles and our positioning with and without the ball needs work - less swarming, please ....!!!!! Too many high tackles as well from one or two of our players.
2nd match saw the teams swap across from the Touch pitch. Again, it was obvious both teams were very keen to get into a contact game. We showed our dominance in this game and the strength of our squad overall. Whilst, Matlock scored some super tries, we just powered through the midfield to score more. Fewer tries were scored out wide but this may had something to do with the Wedge shaped pitch !!!
This weeks awards went to Reuben for being voted players player - he seldom fails to impress in both attack and defence and is rapid over the ground and always committed.
Coaches player of the week went to Louis Harvey who tried really hard today and showed some great tackling. Massive improvement and hopefully this will continue.
Other Coaches player award went to Charlie Hunter who just lives for tackling. Line speed and aggression were brilliant again.
In summary, a bit of a mixed bag today and still areas to improve. Running straight into the Contact area rather than backwards, understanding to step inside when near the touchline, side on tackling needs improvement and timing of the line speed so that we cant be easily side stepped would be good......but again, I say it every week, all the boys played really well. Hopefully, they all enjoyed it as much as we did.
Next week sees us at home for our festival with lots of rugby to be played. Weather looks favourable which is good news. Even though we have reduced match times to end the day earlier and reduce the amount of playing time, it is still a very long day for 8/9 year olds (and the adults!!!). Plenty of food and drink should keep everyone happy.......see you all on Sunday