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