U9s @ the Ilkeston Festival
By Jake Farrow
Another successful festival at the Stute
Even before the festival began, it was a great show of teamwork to sort out the pitches on the Saturday and ensure we had the best Base Camp set up on the Sunday with everyone turning up early with their Fuddle and chairs !!!! Before we knew it, the rugby had started and Team Green were up against Chesterfield Blacks on Pitch A. They brought their A game and are the best side we have played all season and that didn't change. Strong tackling from both teams and the wide pitch saw the game to and fro. The result ended up 10-10 (ignoring the fact the ref played loads of extra time after the call for them to score a 3rd !!!). Great game and both teams were fully committed. That set the tone for rest of the day with great performances from all the visiting teams and brilliant displays from both Elks Blue and Green. We weren't quite at full capacity so some players played even more rugby than others.
Overall the winners of the Core Values awards went to Chesterfield Blacks and one of the Burton teams, so well done to them.
I think overall there were 20 games of loosely 8 minutes in length and across the full day I think it ended 10 minutes late or so even after reshuffling a few games. A great effort from all the volunteering officials to keep the schedule so tight - special mentions to Liv Grimwood, Fiona Harvey, Claire and Paul Gallagher for their efforts. Best effort of the Day was Jay Doherty who hand delivered pints !!! Top man.
With the exception of one , the standard of refereeing was great and it really helps the kids to understand when there is consistency. 14 bemused faces when there isn't !!!! All the players represented their clubs brilliantly and the banter between the coaches was spot on all day - I would like to thank Miles (Casuals), John (Chesterfield), Nat (Burton), Euan (Mosborough) and Hannah (Matlock) for their excellent attitudes today (and also to their respective coaching teams).
In all a successful day despite a slightly iffy start. Everyone involved in this festival should feel very proud.
Player of the Day awards went to Charlie Hunter for his immense tackling,speed off the line and leadership. Reuben Doherty got the other award for just being a mad, passionate rugby player who wants to tackle the world, score loads of tries and have a great time doing it.
We say it every week but they all deserve medals for today. I didn't hear anyone moaning at any time which is surely the best measure of them all. My last point is that in 20 matches I only witnessed a single knock on which is unheard of but really helped the rugby flow. Thanks go to Andy Evans for providing us all with beautiful new match balls which were obviously very grippy indeed.
Next weeks the fortunate (?) few attending the joint U9/U11 tour in South Yorkshire. I expect this be brilliant and completely incident free (!) and I will feed back next week.