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