Category: Under 14’s News

Match Report 24.04.2022

Wyggs-Lions 50(8) vs Forest 22(4)

Despite a recent run of positive results, there was still an air of hesitation before today’s fixture against Forest at Lions: a few players missing, the strong wind, the Easter break in fixtures, and memories of the red card in the same fixture earlier in the season added some trepidation and expectation to the morning’s proceedings.

Sporting brand new shiny white boots, Sam’s first touch was an unfortunate scuff at the kick-off, likely dazzled by the reflection given the clear morning sunshine. Forest won their ensuing scrum, the first of the game, but it wasn’t long before some strong rucking brought the turnover. Urgent phase play was too much for Forest to handle and the ever-hungry Tristan broke the line and opened up the scoring. Sam proved his new boots were also for kicking, converting well and Wyggs-Lions were up & running 7-0.

More good Wyggs-Lions possession was brought to an end when Forest were awarded a penalty. Several phases later and Forest scored a try of their own, breaking the line from a scrum to drive through the Wyggs-Lions defensive line. A difficult conversion was missed 7-5.

Dan and Alfie exemplified the strong line breaks by Wyggs-Lions but it was Forest who scored next: some poor defending from an offensive line out and Forest were again over the line 7-10, the last time they would lead for the remainder of the match. The team didn’t drop their heads and Tristan was soon back on the scoreboard handing Wyggs-Lions back the lead: a scrum won against the head eventually found its way to Jonny Sobek’s hands. Hauled down before the line having broken through several tackles, Tristan was on-hand to collect the final pass and dot down. Sam again converting 14-10.

Will continued to look industrious, Reuben belied his size with some brave and accurate defensive play, and it was James who provided the icing peeling away down the blind side of a ruck to score, the final play of a competitive and entertaining half 19-10.

The positive momentum continued into the second half: Jonny Sobek capitalising on a Forest fumble, collecting the ball and streaking the length of the pitch to score under the posts despite pursuit from several Forest players. Ethan picked-up where Sam had left-off and converted well 26-10. More domination ensued: Ziggy unlucky not to collect a pass when a 3-man overlap advantage would have lead to another score. More urgency and eye-catching play as proper rucking by Isaac Hirst and Finn Bent forced Forest to infringe. A pre-planned move from a penalty line out saw Lorenzo fool the Forest forwards and offload to Ziggy who showed a clean pair of heels to score in the corner 31-10. Sonny Alba also crossed the whitewash, finishing off a forceful run from Tristan after more dominant possession and Forest really were reeling at 38-10.

A bizarre interlude, where Forest won an uncontested scrum against the head(!) allowing their strong 10 to break through the bemused Wyggs-Lions defence and score, drew cries of anguish from the spectators 38-17. However, the switch in fortune was brief as Lorenzo, and then Finn both scored tries, Finn powering over half the length of the pitch to score, Sonny providing the covering support on his shoulder but wasn’t needed 50-17. Forest managed the final score of the game – capitalising on a Wyggs-Lions fumble from a kick-off – but the victory was already assured. Final score 50-22.

With 1 match of the season remaining, the team really are finishing of the season with some flair, confidence, and consistency demonstrated by their positive performances and results. Whilst today’s showing was not clinical and, at times scrappy with variable quality of tackling, what was apparent is the team’s mental resilience and urgency of play throughout the squad. Any small shifts in momentum are now shaken off. The high conversion rate by both 10s is also proving the difference.

The #driveforfive is still on!

Andy Sobek
U14 Team Manager

Match Report 03.04.2022

Wyggs-Lions 74(10) Mellish 5 (1)

Changing Room 1, the first team pitch complete with proper dugouts, and a Society Referee to officiate provided the professional trappings to Wyggs-Lions’ most complete performance of the season so far. Memories of the ‘cricket score’ win early this season when the two sides faced each other at Mellish were tempered with trepidation as to whether Mellish had improved in the intervening months in the same way Wyggs-Lions had. After 2 minutes’ applause for Simon Coles and Maddy Lawrence, the game was under way.

Wyggs-Lions kicked-off and in the initial exchanges conceded a penalty. Mistakes by Mellish at the first line out led to the first scrum. Wyggs-Lions set the tone for the morning’s scrums trundling through the Mellish forwards providing Toby Cox the armchair ride to setup the first attack of the day. The ball fizzed through the backs but the movement ended short of the Mellish try line. A Mellish scrum was again dominated and, against the head, Wyggs-Lions continued to apply pressure, and soon the first of seven first half tries was scored.

James was the first to score, some strong tackling and a turnover in Mellish’s 22 allowed him to barge on through. Sam Hall converted. Soon Jonny Sobek dotted under the posts for his first of the day, benefiting from creativity from Healey Heritage who dummied then kicked as he outfoxed the Mellish defence. Another Healey jaunt was unlucky not to be finished by Jacob Greiff as he was pulled short by some strong tackling. Toby Cox benefitted from more dominant scrummaging and, from a scrum won against the head, crossed the whitewash.

The scrum was not the only part of the game that began to click: sustaining wonderful shape and discipline to maintain their posts, the backs fizzed the ball between each other as the half-backs directed play. Healey added to the scoreboard having had Mellish’s defence stretched by his teammates. Ziggy scored on the blindside wing having similarly picked-up a pass from Luca who had dummied his opposite number as Sam Hall and Jonny Sobek tore the Mellish defence apart. Soon after, Ziggy’s run then proceeded to feed Daniel who robustly palmed-away any Mellish resilience before touching down himself. Jonny Sobek scored the final try of the half, again after a scrum had provided the platform for the backs to have some interplay and fun.

At half-time, a scoreline of 43-0 buoyed the squad. Whilst Mellish had lacked some experience and luck, they tackled resolutely, had their own gifted runners, but it was the shape, communication, and determination of the Wyggs-Lions side that was the telling difference of the first half.

To their credit, Mellish did not drop their heads during the second half and continued to apply resistance. The Wyggs-Lions scrum lost its early dominance and a number of wheeling offences gave Mellish the front foot. Cold Wyggs-Lion substitutes allowed Mellish’s strong runners to charge up field and deservedly score first in the second half. However it wasn’t long before the home side scored were scoring again: immediately from the kick-off Sam collected the Mellish knock-on and fed Healey for his second of the day. An aggressive run from Will, some determination and support from Cayden, forceful tackling by Sam, and Cayden himself was on the scoresheet with a try of his own. Kicking duties switched to Ethan and he duly stepped-up and converted from a difficult position. The final score of the game went to Lorenzo who picked-up from the back of the scrum and drove over the line.

The scoreline itself does not do this performance justice. 10 tries from 8 different players, across both forwards and backs, demonstrates the breadth and creativity of the play, the depth of talent across the squad. Those who didn’t score – the like of Tristan, Luca, Isaac and other – provided the platform for the rest of the team. The substitutes – the likes of Will, Reuben, Ethan – continued the momentum until the end. The consistency of the backline in defence and attack, the formation of the 15 players to receive kick-offs, the persistence of the forwards at the set piece demonstrated how far this team have come and bodes well for the remaining fixtures of the season

Andy Sobek
OW U14 Team Manager

Match Report 27.03.2022

Wyggs-Lions 20(4) Newarke 17 (3)

What a difference a few weeks make! Having played Newarke RFC earlier in the season and suffering a heavy defeat, Sunday was a good day to measure just how far we have come as a team.

The early exchanges were very encouraging for Wyggs-Lions, who were on the attack right from the kick off, with play concentrated in Newarke territory. It wasn’t until around 10 minutes into the game that Tristan made a break from midfield to touchdown under the posts after some effective Wyggs-Lions rucking. Sam Hall smashed the conversion against a post and unfortunately the ball chose to fall the wrong side.

Straight from the restart, Will got hands on the ball and was only prevented from scoring a second try by a last ditch high tackle. Wyggs-Lions nudged the ball into touch and set up got the throw into the lineout from just 10 metres. Confidence in their drills and some great deception on the throw saw Luca, James and Alfie execute a perfect short throw and Alfie crashing through on the peel to add a much deserved ‘forwards try’. The conversion was missed giving a 10-0 lead to the home team.

Just as it started to feel like a comfortable lead, Wyggs-Lions knocked on straight from the restart, giving Newarke an attacking scrum deep in the home teams half which resulted in a well worked try under the posts and a successful conversion. So with the score now at 10-7 it was very much ‘game-on’.

A great run from Ziggy on the left wing was stopped just short of the Newarke by a last gasp tackle and Ziggy’s attempt to pop the ball to James didn’t quite go to hand with the try line calling.

From the resulting scrum it seemed that the Newarke winger was away, although deep in his own half, it appeared he had a clear sprint down the sideline to score but from nowhere Cayden Bailiss, playing as stand-in prop this week, pulled off a flying cover tackle to snuff out the danger.

In fact Cayden’s tackle count in the first half was immense. Jack and Issac marauding around the pitch imposing themselves in both in defence and attack supporting a commanding performance from Alfie at No.8 meant the back row helped the Wyggs-Lions hold a small 10-7 lead at half time.

All in all, a great 1st half with strong midfield tackling and slick handling from the backs and the forwards competing well. A tendency for cutting inside rather than using the available width would have yielded a couple more tries but a good thing for the boys to work on in training.

As the second half got underway, Wyggs-Lions resumed the attack and although we continued to give penalties away, costing us possession and territory, a string of unforced errors by Newarke helped level possession.

The breakthrough came after a great turnover at the breakdown, with Alfie cleaning out, allowing James to pick and go before a pinpoint pass to Healey Heritage, who lit the afterburners to cross the line for the third try, setting up an 8 point lead after Ethan’s conversion fell short.

It seemed that Wyggs-Lions then switched off, resulting in a lack of concentration which combined with a number of missed tackles let a Newarke ‘juggernaut’ trundle over to score straight from the restart, again reducing the Wyggs-Lions lead back to 3 points at 15-12.

Another scrappy period of play ensued with a series of knock-ons for both sides but then a moment of magic from Ethan who put in a great chip-kick over the approaching defensive line in midfield. They say fortune favours the brave and so it did on this occasion, as the ball bounced favourably for Tristan who, with a quick side-step, left the cover defence in his slip stream to score under the posts, restoring the 8 point lead at 20-12.

Intent on letting Newark run us close and again a lack of focus from the restart saw another juggernaut try reduce the lead to a nervy 20-17 scoreline.

In the dying minutes it looked like Wyggs-Lions were going to see defeat snatched from the jaws of victory when Newark were awarded a penalty in front of the posts but an infringement in the taking of the penalty resulted in a Wyggs-Lions scrum which allowed to us break out and win a penalty from a ruck on halfway. A great example of game management saw a tap penalty by Luca, passed to Ethan who buried the ball into touch followed by the final whistle.

So a hard fought 20-17 victory to Wyggs-Lions was greeted with celebrations from the players and supporters alike. No doubt we made the victory a bit harder than we needed but all good food for the training ground as the season edges into its final weeks.

The team celebrated under the posts with a photograph including all the team Mums to mark their thanks on Mother’s Day

Match Report 20.03.2022

Wyggs-Lions 7 (1*) – 41 (7*) Oundle RFC

Oundle were this week’s hastily-convened opposition, an opportunity to switch a training day into a match day. A society referee provided the officiation on this warm clear spring morning.

Wyggs-Lions chose to kick-off and, with the ball not going 10 metres, immediately relinquished control to the Oundle team. However, a strong showing at the first scrum demonstrated the early intent. Both sides brought their physical A-game, Dan, Alfie, and Issac Hirst in particular showing the desire and physicality in the ruck as possession continued to switch between the sides. A long period of attritional and strong phase play proved the sides were well-matched in the forwards. Tristan again provided the standout tackling physicality amongst the backs, as his teammates shied a little from good tackling technique and giving extra territory to this strong Oundle side every time they attacked.

And so it was that Oundle broke the deadlock deep into the first half with a converted try. The importance of scoring first further demonstrated as, having had the deadlock broken, Oundle scored a further 3 tries: a maul from a line out, a long run from the backs, the 0-26 scoreline at half-time not a fair reflection of the performance.

The second half started very much like the first: it taking a long while for any points to be scored as the Wyggs-Lions substitutes made their presence felt. Lorenzo took some stopping every time he charged with the ball up the field, Cayden provided some new defensive intent with some strong tackling, William looked urgent whether with ball or without the ball on defensive duties. However, once again, it was Oundle that broke the deadlock with the first try of the half. Determination continued from Wyggs-Lions, Lorenzo with a clever pick n go, promising runs from Will were unfortunate to end with knock-ons. Jonny Sobek eventually scored for the home side, clever distribution from Toby Cox from the base of a dominant ruck and Jonny was able to shrug off several tacklers before dotting down under the post. Sam Hall provided the extras.

Two more tries from Oundle, facilitated by some more poor tackling from Wyggs-Lions, meant this good-natured but competitive match finished 7-41. 5x hill-runs as a post-match ‘warm down’ exercise demonstrated the Coaches’ disappointment with the performance, as was a long and soul-searching post-match talk amongst the players. Another strong performance from Dan in his second game showed how well the forwards continue to contribute, however the ball is not making it to the backs often enough to switch the play and leverage the talents across the whole team and keep the opposition thinking.

Andy Sobek
U14 Team Manager.

Match Report 13.03.2022

Wyggs-Lions 20 (3*) – 36 (6*) Broadstreet RFC

A Wyggs-Lions team shorn of a number of regular players, including their captain, lined-up against today’s opposition Broadstreet Rugby Club, hastily arranged given original opposition Ashby’s Cup commitments. Alfie Barnes was nominated captain on the day and, low on coaches, a resting Sonny Alba provided organisational support on this breezy spring morning.

As they took the kick-off and chased the ball, Broadstreet’s physical advantage was apparent, though forceful tackling from Alex Castledine personified from the off the determination across the team. Broadstreet kept up the opening pressure and despite further tackling from Jonny Sobek, and an unfortunate knock-on from Ziggy Wightman from a turnover, their possession and territory yielded an early score: a driving maul over the line that the Wyggs-Lions defence were powerless to prevent 0-5.

Rather than drop their heads, as in fixtures past, the concession of a try shook Wyggs-Lions to life. What followed was a passage of fluid passing and pressure in the opposition’s half as Wyggs-Lions probed the Broadstreet defensive line. Ultimately drawing a penalty in front of the posts, Ethan claimed the 3 points and Wyggs-Lions were off and running. Daniel Pollard in his impressive debut fixture took off with ball in hand and, with his physicality, forced another penalty. Alfie crossed the whitewash with his first score of the day from the ensuing line out. 8-5.

Wyggs-Lions were soon at it again, this time Lorenzo pounced on a loose ball, kicking it down field. Another penalty, another line out, another Alfie try. 13-5 and Wyggs-Lions were bouncing. Broadstreet however dusted themselves down, and stepped-up their physicality typified by a strong tackle on Finn. From the base of the scrum they scored again, this time converted successfully and the margin was narrowed 13-12. A period of concession of penalties and line outs handed Broadstreet the upper hand, further exacerbated by being marched a further 10 metres either through backchat or not retreating swiftly. Broadstreet managed to sneak a try in the final minute of the half to walk in 13-17 up.

It took Wyggs-Lions some time to wake up in the second half: Broadstreet were able to score 3 unanswered tries, the first directly from the restart. Some sloppy tackling, along with knock-ons and penalties exacerbated the situation 13-36. The team however recovered and, after a period of sustained pressure, Jonny Sobek found a way through the defensive line with a deceptive sidestep, and Ethan duly converted. 20-36 the final score.

An entertaining game that further demonstrated the depth of the team’s capabilities, especially the forwards dominating in the scrum and on the rampage. The team were able to cope with the change in personnel, and Daniel’s debut impressed.

Andy Sobek
U14 Team Manager

Match Report 27.02.2022

Wyggs-Lions 36 (6*) – 27 (5*) Melton RFC

Despite a break of a few weeks since the victory against Forest, the optimism was still palpable through the squad and coaching staff. Could the 3rd fixture of the season against Melton be third-time-lucky having lost 2 close contests this season already? Crisp early-spring sunny conditions provided the perfect environment in which to have a go.

The importance of an opening score on the confidence of the scoring team, and the negative impact on the morale of the conceders, is ubiquitously known. And so it was that James opened the scoring for Wyggs-Lions, a close-quarters drive from a penalty line out on the Melton 5-metre line. Sam Hall duly converted and Wyggs-Lions’ heads were held high. Despite strong tackling from Alex Castledine, Cayden, Jacob Greiff, and Tristan throughout this opening quarter, Melton were able to score 3 tries of their own through some weak contact, likely due to some match-rustiness throughout the squad.

The physicality of Lorenzo, James, Finn, and Alfie was outstanding today, and in the second quarter Lorenzo scored from close range, later supplying Tristan for his try too. Inventiveness from Sonny from the back of the scrum, and stout defending on the try line from the team, demonstrated the new-found breadth of creativity and confidence. Melton managed a single try of their own, the score at half-time 21-22.

In the second half, more marauding by Alfie kept Melton in their half. A hungry Will, playing for the first time since needing to sit out for a few weeks and follow safety protocols, finished an exquisite passage of play running onto a Tristan pass into space at speed. Melton were unable to respond. A fresh Toby Cox also applied pressure with consistent tackling, complementing Isaac and Finn Bent who continued to jackal aggressively, frustrating Melton who were beginning to get demonstrably riled.

In the final quarter the backs opened their lungs. Jonny Sobek combined with Tristan to slip the Melton defensive line and streak down the pitch and dot down under the posts. An intercept by Sam Hall was unfortunate to be brought down before the try line but, with Melton scoring themselves and pulling the score back to within 1 score, Healey controversially kicked-ahead and collected his own ball to score near the final whistle. Final score 36-27.

Determination to not concede, creativity from both forwards and backs, and squad selection now providing the competition and consistency of performance, provided the watchable and varied performance of the season so far. Alex Cole was Man of the Match having returned with confidence after some confidence-inducing performances with the U13. Lutterworth up next.

Andy Sobek
U14 Team Manager

Match Report 06.02.2022

Wyggs-Lions 49 (9*) – 10 (2*) Leicester Forest RFC

The most complete performance of the season so far, and a merited scoreline of 49-10 to be proud of, compounded the belief that recent results did not fair reflect actual performances or progress in training. A hastily arranged fixture vs Forest, with original opposition Syston on County Cup duties elsewhere, allowed both Wyggs-Lions and Forest an opportunity of a competitive fixture on what would have been a training day for both. Despite inclement conditions throughout the weekend, the weather gods once again smiled with a window of dry and bright if cold, breezy conditions.

Wyggs-Lions kicked-off with the wind behind them and a textbook tackle from Tristan immediately let Forest know today’s game was being treated seriously. A knock-on brought about the game’s first scrum which, with the soft ground conditions, Wyggs-Lions struggled to defend. Possession flip-flopped between both sides as cold wet hands struggled to warm up but the first try of the day, from Jonny Sobek on the wing in the corner, set the early tone of the morning and again demonstrated the importance and psychological advantage getting the first score is to the applicable team. Sam Hall converted from a difficult position and Wyggs-Lions had a spring in their step.

Forest were not about to give up early and what followed was a delicious passage of scrums, line outs, and determined tackling from both sides, each trying to set the agenda knowing the next score would be significant. Play largely took place in Forest’s half, Alfie charging with menace, Healey at one point clean through and threatening but heroically pulled down by Forest’s last man. Jonny Sobek was soon back on the scoreboard again however: Sam Hall quickest to pounce on a Forest mistake from a successful turnover. Whipped through sets of hands to Jonny out wide and he dotted over, Sam Hall again added the extras. More combative spirit from both sides provided a viewing spectacle for the watching parents, the talismanic Lorenzo with a particularly eye-catching steal. 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Two more tries for Wyggs-Lions in the second quarter: Jonny Sobek completing his hat-trick seemingly teflon-coated as Forest could not make a tackle stick as he slid down the wing. High tackles on Reuben and Jonny prevented Forest from getting the platform on which to build as Wyggs-Lions were able to maintain territory and possession from the ensuing penalties. With Wyggs-Lions camped on the Forest try line, Lorenzo plucked the ball from the air and dived over. Forest grabbed a try late in the quarter, Wyggs-Lions determined not to let them cross the try line but doggedness from Forest was eventually rewarded 24-5.

With the change of ends, this good-natured fixture briefly and uncharacteristically flared-up. Elbows & punches resulted in the Forest player who’d seen red to be shown red and a difficult task for them instantly became a mountain to surmount. A quick tap-n-go from Owen Kent allowed Healey Heritage to grab his first try in a while and his first of the day. More try line resistance prevented a Forest score before the ball again made it to Jonny Sobek on the wing who, from inside his own 22, turned on the afterburners to run the length of the field, tip-toeing through the Forest as he did so like a modern-day Little Red Riding Hood 34-5.

Forest grabbed another try of their own in the final quarter but, by now, Wyggs-Lions’s tails were up and they really began to enjoy themselves. Isaac Hirst and Finn Bent continued to make nuisances of themselves all over the park, jackaling and disrupting whenever possible. Healey Heritage the first of the home side to score, capitalising on a clearing in the Forest giving him the time to make some unopposed distance. Toby Cox, Lorenzo, and Isaac Hirst combined perfectly, pop-passing for fun, feeding Ziggy a try scored in typically theatrical fashion. James was the last to score, Isaac Hirst again pop-passing and capping an excellent performance with an eye-catching feed. The score at the final whistle 49-10.

The positive buzz was tangible as the players left the field. A strong victory had been a long-time coming and, boy, did it feel good when it came. In addition to varied training sessions, the coaches selection policy has also begun to bear fruit, not only providing consistency of performance during a match as fewer substitutes allows players to find a groove and reduce disruption, but also provoking an increase in intensity as players looking to impress, retain their squad position, and get to the next training session to move on. Support for the U13 team has also borne fruit with Ethan, Logan, and Cayden today giving laudable tangible support and, in the process, a positive impact on their own confidence and drive to join their U14 teammates next time.

Andy Sobek
U14 Team Manager

Match Report 05.12.21

Wyggs-Lions 32 (6*) – 37 (7*) Hinckley RFC
(* denotes number of tries scored)

After the disappointment of freezing weather robbing the team of a fixture last week, Wyggs-Lions were grateful for marginally warmer weather permitting Sunday’s game against visitors Hinckley to go ahead. Fielding a number of U15 players, Hinckley looked like they would be the more physical side.

Both teams started tentatively, Wyggs-Lions kicking-off but almost immediately knocking-on. A Hinckley scrum was valiantly defended and some strong early Wyggs-Lions pressure presented a scoring opportunity – a 2-man overlap – sadly squandered by an unfortunate dropping of the ball. Against the run of play, Hinckley scored a pretty try as they smoothly ran from their own 22 to score in the far corner 0-5. More slick play from Wyggs-Lions – good shape and positional play – was again hampered with mistakes in the final movement, Hinckley doing all they could to ease territorial pressure pegging back Wyggs-Lions with accurate kick play. Alas, an identical determined run from the 22 from the same Hinckley player moved the scoreboard against the home side further, at the end of the first quarter 0-10. However, players and watching parents knew there was much left in this game.

And so it proved. A neat inside pass from Sam Hall fooled the Hinckley defence, allowing Ziggy to power through and redress some of the deficit 5-10. Hinckley’s mongrel mentality continued to disrupt the Wyggs-Lions play with good counter-rucking and forcing final mistakes from good positional play. Despite this, Will brought the Wyggs-Lions level with a determined run through numerous failed tackles 10-10. A high-tackle gifted Hinckley a penalty on the Wyggs-Lions 5-metre Lion and a tap-n-go drive for the line gave them the advantage before half-time and the swap of ends 10-15.

Buoyed by the scoreline and half-time team-talk a re-energised Hinckley turned the match into a great contest, a real arm wrestle with both sides playing some fabulous rugby stringing multiple phases together, and strong tackling. The passion displayed by both sides matched only by the watching parents. Two tries from Hinckley tested the mettle of the Wyggs-Lions players, a much-improved Lorenzo pulled a score back for the Home side to finish the 3rd quarter 15-25.

Still all to play for. The passion continued into the final quarter with Wyggs-Lion scoring 3 tries in succession to lead for the first time. Ziggy the first to score after a wonderful string of passes in attack. Finn brought the scores level after some determined running, Harry Hine and Healey Heritage combining to set up the position following a run from Tristan on the wing brought the try line into sight. The ever-busy Tristan saved a sure try with some dogged tackling before Amman’s efforts rewarded him a try which Sam Hall converted, 32-25.

Alas, the euphoria of going ahead and bridging the earlier deficit caused Wyggs-Lions to switch-off and, in the dying minutes of the match, some poor defending allowed Hinckley two weak tries to finish winners on the day 32-37.

The disappointment felt was only marginal however. For the players, the coaches, and watching parents, this performance combined skill, shape, and consistent energy and passion cross the team. No one could fault a spectacle that ebbed and flowed between 2 evenly matched sides with contrasting styles. Despite Hinckley edging the victory, perhaps deservedly so, Wyggs-Lions gave a great account of themselves and responded to recent disappointing performances.

Andy Sobek
U14 Team Manager

Match Report 14.11.2021

Kettering RFC 87 (15*) – 0 (0*) Wyggs-Lions
(* denotes number of tries scored)

A Remembrance Sunday to forget. After a poignant paying of respects, the teams lined-up to start the first quarter. Coaches and parents quietly excited that the highest number of players available for a fixture this season, and the frank discussions and targeted training since last week’s game against Melton, could together yield a stronger performance this weekend.

An audibly vocal Kettering side demonstrated their greater togetherness from the off, and so the beginning of a familiar pattern for the match commenced: a promising Wyggs-Lions passage of play, a strong individual piece of defence or attack, typically ended with some sloppiness that a clinical and cohesive Kettering side needed little encouragement to capitalise on. A strong scrum, a good run, would end with a rip or a fumble that Kettering would turn into an advantage that was rarely challenged, poor tackling or positioning allowing a strong and quick Kettering runner to score relatively freely.

Kettering were able to score 3-4 unanswered tries per-quarter, after each score opting to kick-off and begin the cycle again. Cayden, Will and Tristan brought their trademark grit, Sonny and Jacob Greiff put in some accurate tackles, Healey and Finn periodically terrorised the wing and the centre of the pitch respectively, but were typically unsupported and isolated when brought down. Kettering didn’t have it all their own way however: whether penalised for their own transgressions when high tackling or for off-the-ball incidents, else a Wyggs-Lions defensive wall providing strong resistance before Sam Hall kicked the ball away for respite, both garnered some cheer from the visiting parents.

A strong showing from recent recruit Alex Castledine was a small silver lining on an otherwise dismal day, this tight, hungry and well-established Kettering side proving a test too far this Wyggs-Lions team still looking to find the appropriate level of uniform quality and consistency. Video footage to study at Wednesday’s training, and the comfort of a home fixture next Sunday, will hopefully consign this one-off underperformance on a Kettering battlefield to the history books.

Andy Sobek
U14 Team Manager

Match Report 07.11.2021

Melton RFC 42 (7*) – 23 (4*) Wyggs-Lions
(* denotes number of tries scored)

A biting wind greeted the team on yet another high and exposed Leicestershire rugby pitch, everyone at least grateful for the lack of any prospect of rain. A physically imposing Melton side were already warming-up as Lions-Wyggs took to the field to commence their own pre-match routine. Winning the opening rock-paper-scissors “toss”, Lions-Wyggs opted to kick and, through Lorenzo, put immediate pressure on the Melton defence. The first of many knock-ons and scrums, which characterised the game, ensued. Whether it was cold hands or the time passed since the last competitive fixture, Wyggs-Lions inaccuracy soon led to the first of Melton’s tries which they duly converted. Whilst Sonny tackled to touch a sure Melton scoring opportunity, some energetic running from Tristan, and Jacob Grieff demonstrating more determined tackling, these flashes of brilliance failed to prevent a second Melton try capitalising on open space down the middle of the pitch. The first quarter ended 13-0.

The second quarter continued in the same vein. Good territory and possession for Lions-Wyggs was spoiled by inaccuracy and a lack of conviction. Amman injected some physicality, Healey some good running, but Melton again added two further tries in quick succession to extend the lead to 25-0. Cayden Bailiss in his first match since returning from injury, injected some much-needed bite and William, having earlier cut through the Melton defence with some deft side-stepping, converted effort into points with a try in the corner, a reward for Wyggs-Lions but still a mountain to climb at 25-5.

More mistakes and low energy gifted Melton another try in the third quarter, scrums and fumbles preventing the game from gathering any sort of momentum or consistency. Some determined runs by Jonny Sobek then pegged Melton in their own half. Alfie and Sam Hall capitalised on this passage of territorial advantage, scoring 2 similar tries by bundling forcibly over the Melton tryline from close quarters. Melton responded with some find defending, a well-executed tackle on Will stopping a promising position. Melton themselves squandered a 4-on-1 overlap with some fumbling of their own, their anguish audible by the watching crowd. But another strong run by the Melton 13, again directly through the middle of the park, kept the 3-try gap into the last quarter 35-17.

Some poor tackling gave Melton their final try of the game, Wyggs-Lions seemingly wishing the final whistle to arrive. A late flourish – some swift textbook scrum-to-wing passing, finished off by Jonny Sobek dotting down under the posts – gave some cheer to the visiting crowd, the final word to the losing side, and again demonstrated the potential within this Wyggs-Lions team. An aggressive tackle on Toby at the final whistle ended an increasingly ill-tempered and vocal match with a bad taste, the final scoreline 42-23.

Bemusement was the overriding emotion from the watching parents at the end of the day: good territory and potential squandered with inaccuracy and lack of conviction. With some quality individual performances and a solid debut from Reuben at scrum-half, Lions-Wyggs knew they were the equal of this Melton team and this fixture is one that got away, some raw soul-searching the theme of the post-match team talk. Hopefully this lesson, and back playing matches after a lengthy half-term fixture hiatus, will improve the performance against Kettering next week.

Andy Sobek
U14 Team Manager

Match Report 03.10.2021

Match Report 03.10.2021: Mellish RFC 29 (5*) – 78 (12*) Wyggs-Lions
(*denotes number of tries scored)

After an early start and long travel time to a far-off club no one had heard of, the gathered players, coaches, and parents were unsure of what was to unfold during the morning. A biting wind whistled across the exposed playing fields, requiring the first official unveiling of winter woollens amongst the spectators now that autumn had truly arrived. Clouds gave way to sunshine as warm-up routines finished and the players lined-up for the kick-off, Mellish opting to take advantage of the slope, and fielding a number of their U15 players to bolster their numbers.

However, it was Lions who fizzed first, Ziggy scoring a brace in quick succession to lay down the marker and announce that Leicester had arrived in Nottinghamshire. His second try of particular note as he darted unchallenged through acres of space down the centre, a prior series of rucks committing bodies from both sides and opening-up territory to take advantage of. Sam Hall had brought his kicking boots and began to make the difference count on the scoreboard. A series of line outs finished with Alfie scoring a try before Mellish managed to get on the scoreboard due to some poor Wyggs-Lions tackling. Alfie scored his second try at the close of the quarter and Wyggs-Lions had already seemed to open up an unassailable lead, 5 – 26.

Finn Lawrence was soon on the scoreboard in the second quarter, benefiting from some heads-up rugby as James opted for the blind-side from a ruck. Sam Hall again on-hand to add the extra points. A passage of determined tackling, Jacob Grieff particularly exemplary, held Mellish at bay for a while but Wyggs-Lions were unable to sustain the pressure for too long. Territory, pressure, and some good decision-making were rewarded with 3 unanswered tries. Unable to convert with the same consistency as Wyggs-Lions meant the scoreline remained a healthy 22-33 despite some cause of concern.

A switch of ends saw the 3rd quarter redress the scoring balance in Wyggs-Lions favour, now having the slope to their advantage too. Logan was first to add to the scoreboard, followed by William, a delightful take by Toby Cox at a maul, through the hands of Sam Hall, before he was able to barrel over. Tristan was unlucky to be rewarded for his sharp running, being robustly taken into touch by the Mellish fullback last man. Toby Cox got himself on the scoresheet, being quickest to react as Mellish fumbled from their own scrum, Sam Hall duly converted. The sight of Alfie charging downfield with several Mellish players clinging on drew particular pleasure from the watching parents. The quarter was finished-off with William pouncing on a loose ball, peeling round the still-formed maul, and able to strongly pile over the line. 22-59 with one quarter to play.

Errors and missed tackles again allowed Mellish to score and convert, but their tails were down and, as their substitutes reduced the average player height still further, there was fear in the eyes across the team. Tristan was rewarded for his persistent effort by a scorching try, Alfie completed his hat trick with a repeat charge down the centre, and Tristan scored the final try at the death, with support cover provided by Amman, Sam Hall unlucky not to convert as his attempt rattled the paint off the upright.

Despite an imperfect performance, two victories in succession, the welcome return of certain team members, and some great performances across the board, should provide the momentum and confidence into the next fixture for this group of players.

Andy Sobek
U14 Team Manager

Match Report 26.09.2021

Match Report 26.09.2021: Wyggs-Lions 45 (7*) – 35 (5*) Leicester Forest East Rugby Club

(*denotes number of tries scored)

Wyggs-Lions ran out convincing winners against Leicester Forest in the first U14 home game of the season to be hosted at Lions’ ground. Late summer dry conditions meant the ground continued to be unyielding for the players but agreeable for the numerous spectators supporting both sides that contributed to a lively atmosphere.

Wyggs-Lions kicked-off the first quarter and after some mis-handling by Forest were soon back in possession, looking energetic with probing runs testing the cold Forest defence. Player-of-the-match Healey Heritage soon scored his first of the morning from a hard-won scrum, Sam Hall on kicking duty missed the conversion as he looked to get his eye in for the opportunities later on. After a period characterised by scrums and crisp passing from both sides, Forest took the lead with a converted score, their full-back capitalising on space on the wing and showing the Wyggs-Lions defence a clean pair of heals with a blistering run in virtually unchallenged. One try soon become two as Forest scored again from a fumbled kick-off, collected and determinedly run-in through some poor Wyggs-Lions tackling. Another try from Healey, this time successfully converted by Sam after a forceful run from Ziggy, and another from Forest, who continued their 100% conversion record, gave Forest the first quarter 12-21.

The next quarter was a tight affair, determination from both sides leading to multiple knock-ons and scrums. Amman Dhillon’s physicality in the contact continued to impress, and Healey Heritage was unlucky not to add to his tally with an unfortunate try-line fumble, the only score of the period coming from Jonny Sobek benefiting from sustained territory and multiple phases of accurate passing. At the end of the second quarter, there was little between the teams at 17-21.

Switching ends, Wyggs-Lions turned on the class in the 3rd quarter: 3 unanswered tries, all converted by Sam Hall, fairly represented the domination they enjoyed. Healey sealed his hat-trick, William scored in the far corner, and a backdoor pass from Sam Hall set up Jonny Sobek with a steely run from the half-way line. Wyggs-Lions were good for their 38-21 points advantage.

Fatigue began to show in the final quarter, an opportunistic rip from Amman allowed Forest to open the scoring again. Wyggs-Lions however showed great determination to not leak any further points, Tristan and Amman demonstrating great physicality in a solid defensive line across the board, as Forest went hunting for a late victory. Finn charged over the line to take the number of Wyggs-Lions tries to seven before a try at the death by Forest, unlucky not to have been stopped by Tristan, meant the score at the final whistle was a deserved 45-35.

In only their third game of the season together, and this their first victory, this harmonious barbarian side is now demonstrating the consistency of performance and communication across the forwards and backs that the coaches have been working on midweek. Pride and intensity, through strong rucking and tackling, provides this team with an in-game platform to score, as well as a confidence they can carry into their next fixture.

Andy Sobek
U14 Team Manager

Match Report 12.9.2021

Match Report 12.9.2021: Wyggs-Lions 35 (7*) – 54 (10*) Belper Rugby Club

(*denotes number of tries scored)

The first match of the season for both the new-look Wyggs-Lions U14s and visitors Belper took place on an immaculate pitch under warm autumnal skies at Oval Park. The Wyggs-Lions eager to appreciate how the combined squad would operate, as well as benchmark progress from the training sessions so far.

Belper kicked-off the first quarter and an immediate handling error from Wyggs-Lions forced a scrum deep in their own territory. Despite an early collarbone injury to one of their players, Belper looked the hungrier of the 2 sides and scored from a penalty with an unopposed run down the wing. Wyggs-Lions upped the pressure thereafter, demonstrated by some determined running from Alfie, before Belper capitalised on some sloppy defending and scored again. Already 2 tries down and it only being the first quarter, the onlooking home parents began to look anxious. Tristan collected the next kick-off and set-off down the touchline to open the Wyggs-Lions account for the new season, steadying the early-season nerves. Jonny Sobek picked-up where he’d left off the previous season with a trademark intercept try. With the scores quickly levelled both players & spectators began to get excited. Belper began to panic and make mistakes with a series of high tackles, the ensuing penalties and territorial advantage giving Healey Heritage the opportunity to dot down from a Jonny Sobek run. The Wyggs-Lions ran in 3-2 tries up at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was a spirited affair, that saw Belper come back with force. An early run by William looked a certain try before he was ripped by Belper’s last man. From then on, Belper rained down the tries, demonstrating the more aggressive running and rucking energy to force Wyggs-Lions onto the ropes. The second quarter finished with the scores turned at 3-5, and Belper had cause for optimism.

Not for long though. Once again the Wyggs-Lions roared: 2 more tries in quick succession from Jonny Sobek pulled the scores level. One another intercept try, the other a run down the wing unopposed. Ethan collected the following kick-off and again dazzled Belper with his clean set of heels. Healey Heritage and Jonny Sobek again combined following a spirited run from Umman Dhillon – his strength belying his inexperience in his first ever rugby match. However 2 late tries from Belper levelled the scores at 7 tries apiece at the end of the third quarter. All to play for in the final quarter.

Conversions were instated for the final quarter of the match and Belper again capitalised on some sloppy defending and lack of concentration. 3 tries, 2 of which were converted, meant Belper finished as outright winners. The crowd were left wondering what might-have-been but also quiet satisfaction, however, that a good-natured match had demonstrated plenty of promise for this burgeoning Wyggs-Lions relationship with the squad having mixed almost seamlessly into 1 cohesive unit with a high and consistent level of skill throughout after only their first fixture together.

Andy Sobek
OW U14 Team Manager