u9 vs Chiefs - Evidence of Lessons Learnt


With thanks, as always, to Dan Brett

Sidmouth U9’s v Exeter Chiefs

27th Jan 2013. A bright and breezy, January day

As mentioned in an earlier post, part of our mid-season evaluation over Christmas highlighted the need for our players to play the game with more width – both in attack and defence.  We have an inclination to “honeybee”, that is to say we lose our shape and all crab towards the ball and the ball carrier.  All of our coaching and match sessions since then have tried to focus on keeping our spacing correct and utilising the full width of the pitch.  This is not easy for young ones to do, as they naturally want to be as close to the ball as possible – but their progress and commitment to the cause to date has been admirable, and the fruits are there for all to see.  Where we were comfortably beaten by Chiefs earlier in the season, as their pacier team outflanked as, we were able to nullify that today and score some well worked and direct tries of our own – testament to the great work the boys have been doing on the training paddock.  We will continue to make this our focus for the remainder of the season – WIDTH, ALIGNMENT, SPEED and EXECUTION.

And so, onto the actual matches themselves:

Game 1.

Having warmed up Sid started the game with great gusto, George Taylor running in the first try of the match. There were many tries to follow (Jimmy Brett, George Taylor, Reuben Bennett and Ollie Brealy) and that was just the first half! The second stanza produced 3 more from Finn Hourihan, George Manley and Ted Osborne.  Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough as Chiefs did extremely well to use their speedster to break the odd tackle and force a final result of Chiefs 10, Sid 7.

In the interval between the two matches the plucky Sid team assessed the opposition’s performance and their response to it. It was highlighted that basically they had one very fast runner who, on the restart managed to speed his way through our defence. The coaches highlighted the need for defensive “line speed” and to shut down their space in the second game.

Game 2.

Sid were extremely motivated and sensed victory!   After a series of hard tackles by Sid the Exeter boys scored the first try. Sidmouth were tackling well, and hard, but so too were Chiefs – the match being very evenly contested. With fantastic, concerted defence, we turned the ball over and Ted Osborne ran in our first of many for the second game.  The scent of blood was in their nostrils now!  Try scorers included Alex Bennett (after a fantastic run down the pitch) George Taylor, Big James Allen and Reuben Bennett (another great run). George Manley was on fire, running in 4 consecutive tries on top of his previous 2. This may have something to do with George now being a semi-professional player earning £1 a try from his dad.  This could prove to be an expensive season for Dave…

With Noah Innes-Kruger and Ollie Brealy providing excellent continuity from the breakdown as scrumhalves, Sid were clearly in the ascendancy!  Chiefs, however, were determined to make their mark, and attacked relentlessly – at one stage they had the ball and were on our try line, but then, with Big James Allen’s arms around the opponent’s ankles and Jimmy Brett driving him back, we turned them over and won the ball. The boys’ commitment to the jersey and their team mates was fantastic to see.  Now was our chance, if we could score in the next 4 minutes that would give us a 2 point lead, surely that would be enough to taste sweet victory. And sure enough through grit, determination and not a little skill Sid pushed up the pitch and with a final flurry Alex Bennett got his hat-trick. Sid had won. Final score Sidmouth 12,  Exeter 10.

A tremendous result and a great day’s fun!  Many thanks to Chiefs for hosting us on the rubber crumb pitch at Sandy Park!