Category: Under 9’s News

Hinckley Festival 29.04.2019 – U9s

The final few matches of the season saw us take part in the Hinckley Festival against Lincoln, Leicester Lions, and Melton. It was great to play revisit a few local rivalries and to pit ourselves against Lincoln, who we haven’t played before.

Team: Reuben, Matthew, Seva, Laurie, William, Thomas, Jack, Harry S, Eddie, Alfie, Leo and Ewan.

First up were Lincoln and we made a really positive start, with a some stand out individual play by a number of the team leading to most of our tries. I could tell the coaches were looking for more though, as they encouraged the whole team to get involved in all phases of the play. Overall, they ran through the defending tackles with strength and power, and on a fair few occasions showed us what they can do when they run on to the ball at pace. Oh, and the defence wasn’t too shabby either as they closed the space down really quickly and kept their tackles low. All in all, a good way to start the festival.

Our second match saw us come up against Leicester Lions – always a tough, competitive encounter! Passing between the team was much better, more accurate and quicker. Although our defensive press was even better than in the first match, Leicester Lions managed to break through quite easily especially as they had one particularly large player who looked well used to direct, brutal running through the middle. We seemed to be grabbing at players shirts, rather than trying to wrap them up and then use our own strength and body weight to bring them down. There was certainly a different tone about this match compared to the first one, which probably explained why we were a bit quiet and didn’t manage to take advantage of the space out wide. Never mind though and it was all smiles at the end as things finished quite even, despite not being quite on it defensively. Luckily, Leicester Lions seemed as disjointed as us and neither team could take advantage.

Next up, Melton Mowbray. And we seemed to have some midday blues. Our effort wasn’t as high as in the previous two matches, and it was clear that not all the team were putting in the same effort and energy levels that we’re used to. This match saw a bit of a reversal of fortunes, as our defence improved with some great tackles on some big, strong Melton players. However, our passing and handling strengths seem to disappear, as we dropped the ball quite a bit and often passed behind players. We were also a little slower to get the ball when it was free on the ground, something that Melton didn’t seem to suffer from. We seemed to let the performance of the Melton team phase us a little too.

Slightly worryingly, we had an hour or so gap before our final match. I say that because it gives the players (and the parents 😊) time for a burger, cake, beverage or other unhealthy snacks readily available at the festival. Still, all the money spent goes to help the club generate some much needed grass roots funds, even if it does sometimes lead to full stomachs and slower players.

The final match saw us come up against Leicester Lions again, and typically they have some vocal parents and coaches on the touchline. That seemed to bring out the voices of a few Oadby Wyggs parents and supporters too, which done the right way can really spur on our players on. And despite all the food, snacks and sweets taken on in the break they put in a really good performance. We couldn’t have asked for any more. Their defence was brilliant, they were passing up and down the line, and the communication between them all was fantastic! What a way to finish off the season. Well done everyone. Much to look forward to next season.

Andrew Shilliam

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LRU County Festival Finals 31.3.2019 – U9s

On Sunday 31st March the Oadby Wyggs U9s travelled to Melton Mowbray to take part in the Leicestershire Rugby Union Finals Festival. Spirits and expectations were high in anticipation of a round of entertaining and challenging matches against some of the best competition in the area.

The first match found the team taking on South Leicester. A very quick try by Reuben set the tone for this match. Showing early signs  of excellent teamwork and super handling of the ball, the Wyggs dominated the game. Some great tackling by Matthew, Jack and  Seva and superb running by Evan contributed to a fantastic opening result of 8-1 with further tries from Reuben, Evan and Seva. Some resistance from South Leicester was met by some excellent work by Thomas and Harry and for the second half the ball remained firmly in the South Leicester half.

Unfortunately after this first game, Matthew, who had been feeling unwell from the start, had to retire from the matches to rest.

Taking the confidence from this super start into the next match, the Wyggs took on Ashby A. Expecting some stiffer competition, the team worked hard from the off with some great possession and passing with fantastic supporting movement. Super team efforts led to tries from Seva to even Ashby’s early lead. After showing some persistent pushing forward and fine passing, Thomas scored a fine try and, with continued pressure, great defending and aggressive attacking, the team won by 5 tries to 3.

Leicester Forest were the next opponents and from previous encounters, the team knew this would be a challenging and well matched competition. A game full of excellent defensive work, particularly from Laurie and Jack, a large amount of pressure in attack, including some great runs from Leo, and some very tight battling between the two sides followed in a really entertaining encounter. Long spells of possession with super passing by Harry, Jack and Laurie led to Ewan finding some width to score a great try. Further tries from Harry and Seva with some brilliant tackling by Ewan led to a final score of 3 all.

Undefeated, the team went into their final match looking to maintain their record against Syston B. Pressure from the opponents led to some fine defensive play by Jack, Laurie, Ewan and Leo. First half tries by Reuben, Thomas and Evan took the team to a strong half-time position.  Early in the second half, Laurie took a knock on his shoulder but bravely recovered as some fantastic tackling from Ewan, Seva and Harry kept Syston’s attack at bay. With a sudden burst, Leo scored a great try and this was followed by a fantastic run with some excellent twists and turns through the defence by Evan to score. As the final moments approached, a great run from Evan and a pass to Reuben who drove through the Syston defence led to an incredible off-load to Thomas for a wonderful try. This brought the game to 6-4 and a well deserved final win for the Wyggs.

Overall, it was a fantastic afternoon of excellent rugby by the U9s. Every player gave 100% in a brilliant team performance that evidenced not only the growing confidence of the team but also their developing skills and tactical thinking. Thanks to coaches Mark, Raonull, Chris and Dave for all their coaching and to Gaëlle for the team management.

Adrian Manning

 

Stoneygate vs OWRFC vs LFE U9s 24.03.2019

This week everyone was determined to put the memory of the performance last week well and truly to rest. And with three teams (Leicester Forest East, Stoneygate and us) playing each other in a mini tournament of sorts, it was certainly a great opportunity to dust ourselves off and get rid of some of the lingering cobwebs.

The coaches set the tone from the start, bringing all the pep talks and team conversations back to two or three simple and straightforward points. By focusing on an organised line of defence and attack, as well as encouraging the team to run straight and to keep hold of the ball once tackled everyone seemed like the knew what to do to improve. After last week, where we seemed to run anywhere but in a forward direction and whenever we did get tackled the ball was turned over time and time again, the small tweaks they had planned didn’t seem like too much of a big step forward.

Our first match of the day was against LFE, who almost always have a solid, well drilled and formidable team whatever the age group. Both teams exchanged score after score, with what looked like quite evenly matched groups of players. On occasion we were bunched up in defence and attack, with the coaches constantly reminding them all to get in a line. Despite the tenacity and often overzealous play of one or two LFE players, we managed to hold our own and importantly we kept the ball when under pressure. A good start overall.

Next up, Stoneygate 1 and 2.

First, some top tips from the coaches in the short break about how to tackle properly, especially since each team here today seemed to have a big ‘target’ player. We all know that makes for a team of reluctant tacklers, despite the fact that no matter how big they are if you get them in the right place they’ll fall down like everyone else.

This first of the Stoneygate matches saw some hard, determined running combined with a much more organised line. We do miss an organiser in the team at the moment though, someone that has a good understanding of the team requirements and who can convey the necessary messages in a positive yet commanding way. Nevertheless, we still managed to find our way in another up and down game, and as things progressed we got better and better.

The second of the Stoneygate matches was a little ‘niggly’. On more than one occasion the referee was forced to remind the opposition who was in charge, eventually penalising them for appealing against refereeing decisions a little too often. There were also a few incidents in between plays that you might expect in a game with a different shaped ball. Despite all that, the U9s represented the club well. Support was good, cover defence was excellent on occasion, offloads got a bit better and we managed not to spill the ball nearly as much as last week.

Focus on a few simple things seemed to do the trick this week, and there were certainly lots of positive things to take into next weeks’ cup competition.

Team: Laurie, Jack, Seva, William, Harry BB, Harry S, Ewan, Evan, Alfie, Matthew, Thomas and Reuben

 

Andrew Shilliam

 

 

OWRFC vs Leicester Lions U9s 17.3.2019

To say that things didn’t quite go to plan today is probably an understatement. Everything that the team have been learning over the past few weeks and months just didn’t quite come together as we’d all hoped today. But, our young team will grow better and stronger as they look to learn from the things that didn’t quite work out.

Despite their effort and endeavour, some of the more simple elements of the game seemed to be out of reach. Confidence in their own ability seemed to be missing. The usual tenacity and desire normally shown by our big tacklers wasn’t as high. Our normally fleet of foot players, able to burst through at ease as they’ve shown in previous weeks just couldn’t pull it off this time. And on the few occasions that we managed to run forwards and not sideways or backwards, despite trying hard to find that quick pass to the supporting players, we ended up losing the ball quite often. Our defensive line looked much less energetic than usual, when we managed to go forward we were often doing so in ones and twos rather than as a whole team. But, considering all of that, they were still competitive!

For next week, it’s probably a matter of focusing once again on some of the basics of the game and trying to keep things simple.

Team: Evan, Ewan, Harry BB, Harry S, Leo, Reuben, Seva, Jack, Matthew, Laurie, Finley, Jo, Alfie and Eddie.

Andrew Shilliam

 

OWRFC vs South Leicester U9s 27.1.2019

Today saw us play hosts to our near neighbours from just down Welford Road, South Leicester. After hearing really positive reports about the performance of the team at the match last week, hopes were high that the same would be the case once again this week.

Our team identity is developing clearly this year. The coaches want us very much to be a team characterised by evasive rugby, moving backwards and forwards together in a line, passing well under pressure, and when necessary being strong in the tackle. They’re also trying hard to make sure that we’re alert, aware and switched on during the whole match. That bit is easier said than done.

Some of those qualities were present today. Our attacking play was clear to see, often scoring tries with ease. Though, single player tries are probably something we’d like to see less of. Easy on the eye it may be, but it doesn’t always reinforce the qualities and attributes that the coaches are trying to establish throughout the whole team. Certainly makes them feel good about the game though, and it’s important they enjoy the game.

At times the team played outstandingly well. One occasion towards the end of the morning saw them work together to prevent a South Leicester try. They worked brilliantly as a team to repel the attack and push them all the way back to the South Leicester try line. Everyone was involved in doing their own bit to make it work. More of the same during the whole match, we’ve shown we can do it!

Squad: Thomas, Harry S, Finley, Reuben, Matthew, Seva, Laurie, William, Jack, Harry BB, Ronnie, Joe, Eddie, Ewan and Harry F.

Andrew Shilliam

 

Oakham vs OWRFC U9s 13.1.2019

 

Oakham have one of the newest clubhouses we’ve had the pleasure of visiting recently, not to mention a sprawling selection of pitches covering a vast area of open space and a very generous amount of parking. A few more ‘directional’ signs to help those who don’t know the area well would come in handy too.

Once again, our squad was split into two teams and because of the distance between the two pitches it wasn’t possible to get a good feel for how both of them faired.

On the team I was able to watch, at times it seemed like our players needed a fair bit of ‘direction’ at times.

The morning had been turned into a bit of a mini tournament, minus the usual burger vans, bouncy castles, tournament photographers and long breaks between matches. The matches came quick and fast, with breaks long enough only for a brief pep talk from Head Coach Mark or one of the other coaches and a drink to freshen up. I’m certain the parents were all thankful as it meant less standing around on an exposed touchline in pretty rubbish weather!

Perhaps resulting from the Christmas and New Year break, there was a little rustiness in the play today. Head Coach Mark was reinforcing his usual high standards as he seemed to be constantly reminding everyone to be alert, to switch on and to improve their overall intensity and support.

As usual, when we worked together as a team and supported each other it seemed like we were able to score with ease in each match played. Likewise, when the whole team stayed positive and got involved, scoring and defending came easily to them.

We attack together and defend together, and when we do its fantastic to watch. Players running onto passes, support players receiving the ball and making ground to set up try after try, not to mention the intense tackling by a handful of our players.

However, on a fair few occasions we did seem to lack the intensity needed in the entire team. We needed to get a bit closer as a unit in both attack and defence, a little braver and lower in the tackle, and to show the eagerness and desire take control of the ball in the loose. We also seemed to be relying on two or three players to put a defensive shift in for the team.

Can’t fault the attitude of the players I watched though, especially on one occasion in the last match where it all came together they drove the attacking line back all the way to their own try line!

Overall, some work to do to get everyone switched on throughout the whole match and on our defence.

For the team I wasn’t able to watch, if their eagerness to tell me all about how well they’d done at the end of the morning was anything to go by, they had a good few matches.

Next up, Lutterworth.

 

Andrew Shilliam

 

 

Kettering vs OWRFC U9s 16.12.2018

Our final game of 2018 saw us travel down the A14 to Kettering.

As we arrived, we soon realised that our opposition U9s were very strong in number, with a rough count showing that they had over 20 players. They were warming up hard even before we’d managed to muster a handful of players ourselves. With one or two players short of a starting line-up things weren’t looking promising for us, though things soon improved. Because of the size and location of the playing space at Kettering it turned out that most of our team had struggled to locate the pitches we were allocated.

We joined in with the warm up organised by the Kettering coaches, which was a great way to get everyone together from the start. I’m sure there was a bit of ‘sizing up’ taking place, which isn’t such a bad thing before the start of the matches as it gives everyone a chance to get a feel for what and sometimes who they might be up against.

Our identity this season so far has been shaped by trying to keep the ball in hand, to go forwards and backwards as a group, and to keep the pressure and support up together. On this occasion in particular Head Coach Mark was especially keen to make sure that we kept the ball as dry as we could and off the floor. And when we did inevitably end up going to ground, Mark was keen for the team to pop the ball up quickly where possible or for the scrum half to come in swiftly at the ruck.

After borrowing a player from Kettering, it turned out we were able to field a couple of teams ourselves. And neither team let themselves down. They did everything that was asked of them, against a Kettering team who had apparently showed good form recently coming into this final match. The tackling was intense, with exactly the support in defence and attack that was asked for at the start, as well as some really impressive passing up and down the line. What was really pleasing to see was that some players who might have previously been overshadowed by others in the team really came to the fore. We competed well in all the matches, and even though we know the score doesn’t really count, I’m pretty certain we came out on top in most of the matches.

Overall, the promise and creativity of the team really shone through which bodes well for the U9s in 2019 and beyond.

 

Andrew Shilliam

 

LRU Prelim Festival 4.11.2018

To my memory at least, this was the first appearance of this U9 group at the County Festival, a tournament where winning actually does make a difference for once. Handled properly, there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition and one eye on the end result, for once.

Much to the pleasure of all the parents, who secretly probably didn’t fancy standing around on the side lines until late in the afternoon, the fixtures had us playing four other teams (Colaville, Melton, Lutterworth and Stoneygate) and all in quite quick succession. We’ve come up against most of these teams in recent years and knew straight away that all the games would be competitive and played in the right manner.

Just like the performance of team, the weather started off brightly! Great news for parents again, though the grey clouds quickly made their way over. The coaches started by putting the players through their paces with some warm up drills that involved some passing games, some tackling drills and even a little bit of wrestling on the ground to cap it all off.

In the spirit of the game, the coaches also took a moment to explain to the players and the parents that the referees would be paying particular attention to the conduct and attitude of those on the pitch, as well as to the conduct and attitude of the parents on the sidelines. Neither disappointed, though there was confusion among both sets of parents when one of the referees marched over and gave us a telling off for questioning his decisions during the first half of one of the matches. Slightly confused by it, everyone shrugged it off and got on with things as we always do on a sunday, in good spirits and by offering support to all those involved.

We started off really well in the first two matches, winning against Lutterworth (5-4) and Coalville (5-1). During both matches our overall defensive play was well organised and resolute. On several occasions during each match there were some robust, try saving tackles that received some well deserved applause and praise from both sides. The team worked so well together that they even managed to prevent two or three certain tries with some strong defensive play on our own try line. Our third match, against Stoneygate, was always going to be a tough game. They’re an organised team, but we’ve been competitive on each occasion when we’ve played them in the past. We looked a little less organised and a bit slow out the blocks in this match, losing 4-3. The food, drink and sweets taken on during the short interval might have had something to do with that! Nevertheless, we came back strongly in our final match, knowing that we needed a win against a strong Melton team to be sure of progressing. In the end, it turned out to be another even match as it ended in a 5-5 draw.

Overall, the attitude and approach to the tournament by the whole team was first rate, as was the desire, determination and all round defensive effort on the pitch. Even when we lost, their heads didn’t drop and everyone stayed positive to the end! Well done guys. You did the club proud.

Team: Harry B.B, Matthew C, Ewan D.D, Jack G, Leo H, Oscar H, Joe J, Evan K, Laurie M, Reuben M, William M, Harry S

Andrew Shilliam

 

 

Syston Festival – U9s – 07.10.2018

This morning started a little on the chilly side! The first frost of the autumn visible on the cars, no doubt presenting parents with the first dilemma of the day – would full base layer be needed? That didn’t seem to put the kids off though, that or we’re just lucky to have so many committed mums and dads!

We ended up with 14 players turning out today and were therefore able to field two teams – named as Oadby Wyggs Eagles and Oadby Wyggs Falcons for the day. The following players made the trip: Jack, Matthew, Ewan, William, Laurie, Evan, Eddie, Reuben, Seva, Thomas, Harry BB, Jo, Leo and Harry S.

It seems to be customary for all rugby tournaments that we attend for the schedule to go out the window quickly. Not ideal, considering we knew we weren’t due to start our first match until at least an hour or so after our arrival.

With lots of time waiting around, it gave our coaches more time to get the teams in order and to set the objectives for the day. Thankfully we were far away from the bouncy castles, burger stand and the sweets/cakes.

Head Coach, Mark Cox gave the parents the necessary pep talk. Something about not setting out to win the tournament and giving all the players as much game time as possible. He also explained the decision to field two teams of 7. This meant no subs of course, but it also meant no standing around waiting to play. I’m sure all parents and players appreciated this, even if some of the parents (and players) looked a little on the tired side towards the end of the day.

After the rousing pep talk for the parents, Mark moved onto the players and set out the three simple objectives for the day. Don’t drop the ball in the tackle. Support the play – whether it’s attack or defence. And, I’m sure he said something about not moaning at the ref because “it’s not football!”.

We finally got our first matches going at about 11am and just as we experienced a delay in the start to our matches, it seemed to be a while before things got going on the pitch too. At times the opposition players were breaking through with ease, evading tackles and bursting through our defensive lines as we tackled high and stood off their attacking lines.

Nevertheless, after some encouraging words from the coaches at half time of the first match, it started to come together for our teams and from that point onwards we witnessed some great attacking moves and some tenacious and committed defensive play.

Overall, it was great to see all players involved during each of the matches and a genuine appreciation for the good build-up play and defensive work. Some players certainly seemed to enjoy hunting the ball down (and opposition players) and getting tackle after tackle in! There were even times when we had runners coming onto the ball on the right side, bursting through with good momentum making them unstoppable in the tackles! Seems that the lesson from Mark might have sank in towards the end. Our communication in the line is also improving well.

Further strong foundations on which we can build. Well done to all those involved!

Andrew Shilliam

Match reports: Wyggs U9’s vs Lutterworth U9’s

Squad: Reuben, Evan, Seva, Laurie, William, Jack, Oscar, Harry S, Harry BB, Joe, Eddie, Leo, Finley, Ronnie and Ewan.

The opening fixture of the 2018/19 U9’s season saw Oadby Wyggs take on Lutterworth in their very first contact match. Gum shields ready, body armour on, a few scrum caps here and there, and a bunch of eager boys (no girls so far this year, but more than welcome if you know anyone interested) who all seemed to be well up for the challenge. Time would only tell if all the hard work over the past four weeks in training would pay off. Well done to Chris for taking up the referee’s whistle. Always a tricky job, especially with eager (and opinionated) parents watching on.

First match
The match started off brightly, with Evan showing a different side to his game and putting in two big tackles to set the tone for the rest of the morning. Two or three tries in very quick succession by Evan, Harry BB and Laurie went unanswered by Lutterworth, though after some tenacious defensive play by the whole Wyggs team, Lutterworth managed to get a couple of tries themselves with some excellent direct running through the middle. Wyggs started the second half well, managing to soak up several hard tackles without losing the ball in contact and going on to score. Those parachute fall drills seemed to have paid off. At times there were a couple of occasions where the speed of play seemed to catch out the touch judges, with each team benefitting equally and importantly with no grumbling from players from either side. Harry S took a knock to the face in the tackle and went off for some attention and as the match progressed things got a little less organised in defence. Some of the bigger Lutterworth players started to influence the game, scoring a couple of tries to narrow the gap. However, after some excellent interplay between William and Eddie, Finlay was able to receive the ball close to the line to drive over for our final score.

 

Second match
Just like the first match, Oadby Wyygs started off strongly with Harry BB running straight through from kick off, keeping two hands on the ball at all times and driving forwards. Not one of our biggest players, the look of determination on his face was enough to put the Lutterworth players off. I’m sure. With neither team able to build lead, tries were exchanged evenly during this match. Naturally there were times where there was some reluctance to get to grips with one or two of the bigger Lutterworth players for fear of getting a bump or two, but overall the whole team worked hard to put the tackles in. Joe, one of the newer players to the Oadby Wyggs set up put try saving tackle in against a player that looked at least twice his size! Textbook tackle with two arms wrapped firmly around her legs. Once again, as the match progressed a few players began to fall away in the tackle and there were one or two occasions where they needed to be reminded to line up from side to side, not front to back. Remember those voices Wyggs! Despite a strong tackle by Ewan at the end of the half Lutterworth finished strongly and secured a try to draw the match.

Third match
The defensive issues that came through at the end of the second match were obvious at the beginning of this one, with Lutterworth running straight through the middle from the start to score a try. After the restart, Lutterworth managed to get a turnover ball once again and with a lapse in concentration from Wyggs and some gaps in the defensive line, Lutterworth managed to turn possession into a try. Nevertheless, Wyggs didn’t give up and heads didn’t go down which was great to see. After a turnover by good work from Reuben, William picked up the ball and drove successfully for the line. The second half saw Wyggs up the pressure with two tries after some good running by Harry S. Lutterworth replied with two tries of their own after evading a host of Wyggs players in the tackle, by a whisker! Ultimately, Wyggs managed to come out on top in the third and final match.

Fantastic start to the season Oadby Wyygs. The support play both in attack and in defence was there to see from start to finish and the attitude of everyone involved was fantastic, especially considering we have several players new to the team this year.

Andrew Shilliam