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