Cold and windy
By Ian Walker
and it got colder and windier
Banbury U13 vs Long Buckby U13
Final Score 25-20
Player Report by Will W
On Sunday Banbury u13’s played a well spirited match against Long Buckby. In the match there were many exceptional individual performances and displays of pace and skill. The team played four quarters and in two teams.
Banbury started the game strongly, with Callum scoring a try that showed excellent personal skill beating four defenders and running over half the pitch to score a well earned try. This was an instant moral boost to the rest of the team, this then led to two more tries from Callum. Charlie scored an excellent try which displayed pace and power leaving many of their players for dead, and Alex gathered a loose ball to beat one of their players and score on the wing.
In the middle of the match Banbury were struggling to get over the ball fast enough, this lack of intensity in the rucks led to their number 6 scoring a hard worked try beating three home players. Banbury weren’t badly fazed and started to set up pods in their 22’ which the team had been working on in training, the forwards made ground up to the 5 meter line but were then turned over in a ruck and Long Buckby did a clearance kick to give themselves space. Banbury let two tries slip and finished the match 25-20.
Man of the Match: Charlie
Special mention for Aidan (who only played one quarter)
Chosen by Mike, Long Buckby Head Coach
From a coaching perspective, the game again showed how well the squad can play. It also highlighted that those who train more regularly are showing the greater improvement. The first quarter typified the the positives where the players work for each other and implement the coaching points that they have received. With the forwards providing a stable platform at scrum and rucks, the half backs controlled the game well, allowing a re-jigged back line to put this year's running line sessions to good use; stretching the opposition and creating gaps for supporting players. The regular focus on restarts (chasing hard to compete on our kick off) saw Callum collect an unclaimed bounce and, untouched, cut a swathe through the opposition to score.
The second and third quarters saw the 13 Long Buckby players come back into the game and actually control territory and possession for the vast majority of that time. With Banbury's defensive line losing shape and missed tackles providing a wealth of opportunity for the visitors, Long Buckby claimed two tries in Q2 and a further try in Q3. Despite this, Banbury's attack showed signs of promise - the ball being moved wide only for the touch line or handling errors to provide turnovers to the opposition.
With the game tight, Banbury's defence finally found it's desire and drive to compete - possibly showing the most ferocious defending to date and setting the level of expectation for the boys to target again. With Long Buckby building through several phases and surging into the 22, the Banbury defence finally kicked into action as a unit, with players involved in driving the ball carrier back from the try line and other then holding the ball carrier up over the line, winning a penalty as the attackers went off their feet - a try saved being as good as a try scored!
With the score at 20-15 at the end of Q3 (but feeling closer due to their control of the game), Long Buckby had the impetus and continued strongly at the start of Q4, crossing for a try to level the score at 20-20. Pressing hard, a well visioned crossfield kick from Long Buckby went awry, allowing Alex D to capitalise on great defensive pressure on the opposition winger to collect the loose ball to score the deciding try with only the final moments of the match remaining.
Overall, an end to end and touchline to touchline game with control shifting from Banbury to Long Buckby. From total control, to somehow feeling lucky to have a draw and then to poach a try against the run of play! A game that could have ended either way. Thanks to Long Buckby for the manner in which they conducted themselves - we look forward to playing them next season.
Special mention for Alex H (outstanding tackling) and Maxwell (tackling and carrying exceptionally well).