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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