The second of the U18 Midlands games was a game against East Midlands at Warwick School on Sunday 19th December 2021. The preparation for U18 was clearly hampered by a lack of a U17 programme last season due to Coronavirus restrictions. So after only 3 training/assessment evenings, Staffordshire’s 23 players put their best foot forward for the second time..
The first half commenced with pressure by Staffs in the East Midlands 22m, however this was not converted into points. East Midlands broke out and after a short time in Staffordshire’s 22m converted the pressure to points with a try after 11 minutes. Staffordshire again gained good field position but could not convert this into points after several good opportunities, East Midlands responded with a breakaway try from their 22m and scored at the 24minute point. Making the score 10 points to nil.
A few minutes after Ben Mead the Staffordshire right wing intercepted a pass and ran over half the length of the field to score near the posts, which was converted by Alex Goodyear. Bringing the score to a more representative 10 points to 7 points which remained the score until half time.
The second half started with a penalty after 4 minutes and a penalty conversion decision was taken, a good kick by Connor McCulloch hit the middle of the cross bar and bounced back into the field of play. Pressure continued in East Midlands 22m after 7 minutes into the half East Midlands made an excellent break away with good backing up which resulted in a try bringing the score to 15 points to 7 points. Some minutes later another breakaway occurred which was defused by an outstanding tackle from James Christopherson.
East Midlands continued to pressure, eventually Staffordshire moved the ball to Immanuel Shute on the wing whose speed, excellent lines of running and footwork took the ball just over Staffordshire’s 22m and ran the length of the field to score a very well executed try, bring the score to 15 points to 12 points after 14 minutes. Staffordshire nearly scored again after an excellent run from the other winger Jay Rosenbach. The pressure in the East Midlands half was rewarded after 23 minutes by a try by Prop Sean Bullous converted by Connor McCulloch bringing the score to 15 points to 19 points.
The restart by East Midlands was a difficult kick into Staffordshire’s 22m which was knocked on, the result scrum and pressure by the East Midlands Forwards resulted in a try near the posts after 27 minutes which was converted bringing the score to 22 points to 19 points.
Seconds after the restart 2 of Staffordshire’s backs had an unfortunate collision in lose play and both required medical assistance on the pitch which brought the game to a premature end. Thankfully both players walked from the field to receive further medical treatment.
In summary a game of Rugby played from start to finish in the true spirit of the game with both sides well matched and displaying some excellent skills, however both sides made many simple errors which disrupted the flow of the game. The difference between the two sides, East Midlands capitalised on their opportunities and in the first half their forward’s set pieces were much more effective, Staffordshire’s backs again showed their flare and capability with ball in hand and distributed well to the flanks, looking consistently dangerous.
|3||Ross Foxley Captain||Prop|
|4||John Ball||2nd row|
|5||Louis Rouffet||2nd row|
|8||Harrision Durham||No 8|
|9||James Milan||Scrum half|
|10||Oliver Rowbery||Fly half|
|15||Archie Edwards||Full back|
|18||Ollie Platt||2nd row|
|21||James Christopherson||Scrum Half|
|22||Connor McCulloch||Full Back|
Next Game Sunday 9th January 2022 at Warwick School
Staffordshire V North Midlands Kick Off 1030hrs