The start of the U18 Midlands games was a game against NLD at Warwick School on Sunday 5th 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 2 training/assessment evenings, Staffordshire’s 23 players put their best foot forward.
The performance as individuals and more importantly as a team given the limited preparation was a credit to all the players and coaches. Rarely has a team come together so well.
The backs from the start had a very fluid attack and provided an excellent defence. The forwards showed some lack of detail in the set pieces but pressed the game line when in possession and defended valiantly.
NLD proved a challenging opposition with some significant forward power and well-honed jackal skills and achieved a number of turnovers particularly in the first half.
Staffordshire started the first half with a try after forward pressure on the NLD line with Christian Bannister touching down, 5 minutes into the game. NLD responded with a similar try after 26 minutes. With the strong wind in NLD’s favour a well-positioned kick was followed up and a try scored after 32 minutes. The half time score Staffs 5 – NLD 10.
The second half again saw pressure from NLD in Staffs 22, which resulted in a try on the 43rd minute. Three minutes later NLD were pressurising, with the ball moving down the back line which was intercepted by Staffs right wing Ben Meads in the Staffs 22. He ran the length of the field to score a try near the posts which was easily converted by Connor McCulloch. Making the score Staffs 10 – NLD 15.
Both sides remained very committed, and the game moved from end to end. After 63 minutes a scrum in the middle of the field which NLD won the ball came out at the side, Joseph Coleman the Staffs scrum half stole the ball passed it to fly half James Milan who moved it wide to Ben Meads who ran robustly down the touchline to score a try making the score Staffs 17 – NLD 15.
NLD continue to pressurise the Staffs line and a passing move down the backline with intercepted by outside centre Immanuel Shute who ran the length of the field scoring near to the posts. The try was again converted by full back Connor McCulloch. Final score Staffordshire 24 points and NLD 15 points.
In summary an excellent game of Rugby played from start to finish in the true spirit of the game with both sides displaying some excellent skills
|Ross Foxley Captain