So immensely proud of the Beckenham U8s
By Jim Hogan
A coaches recipe for beautiful rugby
Take a few snow flurries in Easter Week. Add a constant breeze that became bitter as the sun slipped behind clouds. Dust a pinch of un-communicated player no shows. Throw in a last minute dash out of the house as 'Johny' had a late night, car park queues, wholesale team changes on the back of some scrap paper and 2 coaches for 3 teams then you have the recipe for 'Saurer Kuchen' which is German for Sour Cake.
What followed next was anything but. In fact if I had to face that all again I'd do it in a heartbeat. The 16 players who made it were entirely focussed on the job in hand. First thing to sort out was the sides. The Bears fielded Dexter, Lulu, Matt, Adam, Phoenix and Caius. The Bulls grabbed Oscar, Arthur, Arnold, Thomas, Florence and Tom while the Bobcats had the 'Core of Four' Chrissy, Rebecca, Amber and Charlie. The extra two spots were filled by spare Beckenham players and a couple of Sevenoaks lads who answered my MayDay shout as all teams played at the same time.
The Bobcats got off to a solid 7-6 win over Beccs with Chrissy and Charlie each getting hat tricks and Arthur scoring his first competitive try. An entertaining 8-7 win over Colfes with Amber and Rebecca chipping in some great scores and hard work organising our defensive line. Arnold running straight to set up offloads for others to score from and Arthur scoring a brace from more direct running left me beaming. Chrissy getting in a late entry for tag of the season as he ripped a tag off and took the whole belt with him. Yes!!
Up next my frantic efforts to field a team of 6 for Dunstonians and the ingenious idea to nab some of the Sevenoaks hordes. Their coach offered up his son and another lad. As you'd expect they were all passes and runs, just like their fellow Blue and Gold players. End result 7-5 to Beckenham. A match full of patchwork runs from Charlie, more hat tricks, smash tackles from Chrissy and realisation that a straight run will set scores up if you're stopped. Everything they tried worked. A long floating pass from Rebecca cutting out four of her own team to bring a try for Tom. More straight defensive lines!! A successful chain of tags and turnover ball to Beckenham.
Dartfordians, our final match. Could we win this too? You bet. It was more of the same from the Core of Four plus Arnold and Tom. Straight runs, bar Charlie who seemed to shimmy left and right at ease, tags, strong tags, sublime running from Amber and Rebecca who didn't shirk their defensive duties either. I think the final score was 8-6. Who cares. For the first time, we'd finished with P4, W4, D0, L0. For 30, Against 24.
I have to give honourable mentions to Oscar for the deluge of assists he handed his Bulls team mates. No tries this weekend but everyone loved him setting them up. Arthur kept his competitive spirit up in the face of some unnecessary digs from one player so got his revenge on the scoreboard. Tom was steadily supporting and scoring as was Arnold and Thomas while Florence had some solid runs and tags. Thank you Jack for the coaching and reffing duties.
Finally the Bears. I didn't see much of them, but what I heard was in much the same vein as the other teams. Straight runs, tags, turnovers, big scorelines and an 11-8 win over Beccs. All the players excelled themselves and particular props to Lulu who bagged 5 tries in one match while brother Dexter had to make do with 1.
All I can say is that I was so very proud of all the players. I loved their commitment to each other and willingness to put bodies on the line when we had no subs for any team. Knocks were walked off, tears wiped away. They just played like they knew they would win each game. At one point I remember repeating my mantra during the final half time team talk. 'Rugby is simple; run straight, pass backwards, score tries.' Someone said 'you forgot to say have fun!'
Don't worry, I did ;-)