Category: Under 14’s News

Match Report 12.12.2021

O Scrum All Ye Faithful

Wyggs-Lions 7 (1*) – 55 (9*) Market Bosworth
(* denotes number of tries scored)

A festive tinge and warm conditions found the team in good spirits as they prepared for today’s fixture. A defeat to today’s visitors, Market Bosworth, earlier in the season at Oval Park added some spice as the players, knowing they themselves were now a more disciplined and skilled side, could look to settle a score. Despite some individual flashes of resistance and brilliance, the Wyggs-Lions side passively allowed Bosworth to dominate the game, retain possession, create space and use it more effectively.

The first quarter showed some promise, the now-typical early mistakes tempered with some determination. Personified by Jack, making his first start since his early-season injury, he stuck in and demonstrated he’d overcome the nerves since recovering from his break. Strong tackling from Amman from the off failed to prevent Bosworth being first on the scoreboard, his teammates not heeding earlier training and tackling lower to tackle effectively 0-7. A series of penalties pegged Bosworth in their own half with Wyggs-Lion possession that permitted Finn to charge over the try line and Sam to duly convert 7-7. A scything charge from Healey, passed to Will, who was unfortunate to slip and bring a promising scoring opportunity to an abrupt end. Bosworth showed good shape and scored on the wing, leveraging the space and time offered them by the home side. 7-14 at the end of the quarter.

3 unanswered tries from Bosworth in the second quarter, scored almost identically with a several-man overlap, gave Wyggs-Lions a mountain to climb. Substitute Jonny Sobek added some tackling ballast and go-forward carries but this was only sporadic resistance. Tempers began to fray towards the end of the half and only a loud charge from Cayden provided the spectators with some passion to raise the adrenaline. 7-33 at half-time. 3 more unanswered tries in the 3rd quarter compounded the misery and whilst Tristan, William, Sam, and Luca continued to demonstrate some ownership and bite, stemming some of the tide with try-saving tackles, the inaccuracies and poor tackling technique failed to arrest the leaking of points 7-50.

With nothing to play for but pride, Wyggs-Lions dialled-up the hunger, perhaps eager to make it to the buffet whilst Bosworth also happy to ease off. Alfie was unlucky not to score, instead finding touch, however Bosworth found 1 more try with a pick n go at a ruck and a charge up the centre on the field, ending the match 7-55.

Unfulfilled potential is becoming a theme of the season and, despite great training sessions midweek, and flashes of brilliance on the weekend, the players are simply not starting games with the right hunger, accuracy, and cohesion to gain early points on the scoreboard and thus the psychological foothold that turns close games to the advantage of one side versus the other. One hopes some rucking around the Christmas Tree, and some time resting and recuperating over the festive break, will re-energise the players for the second half of the season.

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