Diss U14's 45 vs Crusaders 17
By Peter Allott
Another step forward - "this is what it feels like to play rugby"
“This is what it feels like to play rugby”, were the words Coach Mark said to the U14 boys at the end of their 45:17 victory over Crusaders. It was a result that built on last weeks close match with North Walsham as the team put into practice many of the points the coaches have been advocating this season and the boys took another step forward.
Fair weather greeted both teams and supporters for this home match. Before kick-off a minutes silence was held to remember Graham Brighton, a great friend of Diss Rugby Club and connected to our U14 team through his son Liam who plays so well for the team.
Crusaders were a few players short so borrowed some Diss players on a rolling basis. As has been the case in the past this is always a ‘sweet and sour’ moment as the Diss players on the opposition team appear to be the ones doing the work and the damage for the opposition. It was the case on Sunday when Kit Brodie opened the scoring for Crusaders against Diss with a fine sole try. He and Aaron Locktich backed this up with strong tackling of the Diss line in the early moments.
Despite Crusaders having some larger players one always felt that Diss had the upper hand, but this would depend on whether they delivered on the basics – strong rucking, retain the ball and pass it down the line out wide. The good news is that this is exactly what happened. Diss rucking was strong and their counter rucking even more impressive led by the towering influence of Ryan Anozia. Tackling across the team is getting better and better with players supporting each other. Will Worley again deserves specific mention at Fullback for numerous try saving tackles, a one-man wall and example to the team. ‘Bread and butter’ passing is getting better across the team with more players realising the value and power this brings in result. Aaron Locktich, Joseph Davison, Harry Edmund, Santos Ledesma, Toby Dickenson, Nathanial Abenowu all passed really well, and although not scoring trys they need recognition for moving the ball on and out wide to enable the chances and trys to happen. The forwards did well against a heavy opposition pack, as the front row - Tom Vettraino, Connor Fell and Toby Groves - held strong and engaged across the pitch. The second row engine room of Charlie North and Liam Brighton made typical strong, fast probing runs to gain territory, and Ryan Anzio at number 8 for the first time blasted through the opposition. Indeed, Ryan led the charge on many mauls with the forwards fully supporting and gaining significant ground. It is always good to see work from training make its way onto the match pitch.
The backs are the biggest weapon the team have and were used to great effect. Santos Ledesma stepped up this week and was much more vocal in his leadership role, shouting and organising the line. It is something we need more off and was very welcome. The ‘pacemen’ of Jaiden Mutsambiwa, Kit Brodie, Finlay Dyson and Will Elliott were again outstanding – strong, fast, and great in defensive tackling- and scored all the trys.
All of the Diss scores came by passing the ball out wide – we need to keep reminding the boys of this statistic, the secret to their success. The opening Diss try came from Will Elliott, the result of great team interplay. Ryan Aznio broke from a scrum and made good ground, then as tackled passed to Jaiden Mutsambiwa who moved out wide. The resulting the ball was moved the other direction across the pitch to reach Will Elliot who broke through for the first score. It was converted by Will Worley who had his first go at kicking. Next up it was Finlay Dyson who showed his natural pace to race in for the Diss second score. At half time it was two trys each so work for the boys to do, although they led thanks to the boot of Will Worley 12:10.
The first score of the second half went to Crusaders which left the Diss supporters with that nervous ‘would this become one of those games’ feeling? Thankfully the answer was no as Diss found their mojo and put on a brilliant team second half display. First Finlay Dyson scored racing down the touchline to finish under the posts. Then swiftly followed by a good team move, passing the ball out to the other wing where Will Elliott burst through to get his second. Then it was Finlay Dysons’s turn again as he had the measure of the defenders around him for his third score. Will Worley’s kicking got better and better as he converted every extra point. The final Diss try was the ‘blue ribband’ moment as it featured pretty much the whole team. A lineout on the far touchline allowed the ball to be passed across the whole Diss team, one by one to the other touchline, where Kit Brodie was waiting to break past 3 defenders and score in the corner – good for him to score for Diss this time !!
Final score was a healthy 45:17 to Diss. It represents a really good performance, something the Coaches were very keen to complement the boys on. As Coach Mark said – “you won because you played Rugby”. The lessons about the power of passing and effective rucking need to be taken in to the next matches, which I am sure they will with this positive reinforcement.
There were outstanding performances across the team as mentioned in this report. Of note particular note were the passionate running and tackling of Kit Brodie, the ‘last man standing’ tackling of Will Worley and his kicking from hand and the ground. However, Ryan Anozia shaded ‘man of the match’ reflecting the impact he made in rucks, and probing runs that tied up so many of the opposition while retaining the ball. The whole team needs to take a bow too, well done.
Next match is versus Bury on Sunday 11th (13:00 kick off) and U14 training on Tuesday at 18:45.