North Walsham Festival
By Claire Woods
A busy day for our team!
It was quite a lot colder in North Walsham than in Diss on Saturday, with a lazy wind (the sort that goes through you, rather than around you!) However our brave U9s were undeterred, and our two teams waded through their 5 games apiece with all their usual energy and enthusiasm, even finding the time to train before, and play around between their matches!
Some of the competition was indeed fierce. Our first match was against the mighty West Norfolk, which thanks to some admittedly very organised defence by them (including some dubious tackling), threatened to bring our spirits down before we'd even started. However this proved to be our most tricky game of all, and in any event by the second half we'd regrouped and managed to close them down, never again allowing them the space that they'd found in the first half.
More enjoyable matches followed, against teams from Beccles, Southwold, Medway (on tour), Norwich and of course North Walsham.
There were too many individual moments to list them all here, however there were a number of players who shone particularly on the day. Ethan showed a return to form with some brilliant dodging, and ran in a number of great tries with his usual trademark speed. Josh was as reliable as ever particularly in mid field, tackling fearlessly as usual, and putting in a couple of his favourite switch passes to good effect. Jacob also continued to tackle in his usual dogged style, and also got a good few tries, a couple of which involved him charging the full length of the pitch, using pure speed to shake off the opposition. Alfie scored an excellent and well worked try following a lovely little switch pass from Wilf (see the video enclosed). Ben (Ga), Fletcher, and Wes (who got his first match try - well done!) - also played really well.
Our two girls, Nancy and Charlotte, did well too: Nancy with her precision passes, including some brilliant pivots which confused the opposition a treat! Charlotte was, as usual, always in the right place at the right time, and scored some lovely tries by waiting patiently on the wing ready to exploit gaps when they opened up.
We are used to our smaller players (particularly Oli G) getting stuck in and tackling without fear - often getting dragged along the pitch for their pains! - however the last mention of the day has to go to Little Ben G, who joined us last autumn without experience, and is the smallest in our squad. All of a sudden he is tackling, and in the last match of the day - despite a knock to the face - got the ball up from the ground and ran the length of the pitch to score his very first try in a match. The great end to a good day of rugby, and a perfect example of the spirit and determination which defines this wonderful team of kids who make us so proud every week.
We come away from this festival aware of some areas to focus on for training, which is never a bad thing, and very ready to take on Lowestoft & Yarmouth away next week. The end of the season looms which - despite me enjoying a rare Sunday off - makes me just a little bit sad.