Sunday, 14 September 2008

Pontyberem Sevens Report

Ten boys travelled the 40 minutes or so over to Pontyberem to play in their Sevens tournament.

On a bright day, we faced two other teams in our group, the top teams going through into the Cup semi finals and the bottom team the Plate semi final.

Our first game was against Tumble. It was their first game of contact as well, so both sides didn't know what to expect. However seeing the son of the former Welsh International and Wales strongest man line up for the opposition was a little daunting. We decided not to tell the most worried mums that a child of Robin McBride was about to engaged in physical combat with their little darlings.

We lost the toss and Tumble tapped off. In a sweeping movement, the ball bypassed the McBride boy, but fell into the hands of their quick winger who cheerfully stepped his way through our boys to open the scoring with only a few seconds gone. Revenge was swift though. New self appointed coaching supremo Donna Marsden's Ben, took the tap and ran into level the scores. Both sides then discovered tackling and the game rattled on at a fair pace. Cameron Lewis sparked into life and Lloyd John began drive players back in the tackle. Some great support work, with Rhys Cottrell showing the way led to an eventual 6-5 victory. Cian Lewis was ever present around the ball and Harry Thomas took the ball forward vigrously. Rhys Davies got his knees up and when he ran forward, he was particularly dangerous. Having run into touch once he was warned by the coaches that he was walking home if he did that again. Dad Mike agreed immediately and this did the trick.

With Cian's dad, Adam, handing out ice packs as fast as Mike Morgan leaves a curry house, the team rested. Rest it seems means re-enacting wrestling moves, rolling in the mud and eventually disappearing into the woods. Meanwhile the parents discussed the finer points of the game. Max's dad, Brett won guess the weight of the coach and his prize is to cook a team chilli, without peppers. Kay Midha offered to do the washing up because apparently men make too much mess in the kitchen.

Suddenly it was time for the next game. With a quick warm up and huddle, the boys went onto face Pontyberem, who had earlier beaten Tumble. The first half effort was magnificent, because the boys refused to let a couple of early scores dampen their spirits. Aled Midha and Dom Marquis got themselves more involved in this game and with Max Jones' elusive running and solid tackling from Rhys C, we turned over the home side 5-4.

This meant a long wait until the semi-finals against Kidwelly. In the meantime Nick John, Lloyd's dad was able to exhibit his scrum half skills with the boys, before Ben's mum told the coaches exactly how the game should be played.

The team gathered for the game, by which time it was nearly 3.30pm. Kidwelly were, in the end, too strong on the ball for our boys. Ben scored in the first half and Max's two tries in the second half were not enough to prevent some good running and support play from Kidwelly. Only some excellent tackling from Rhys C again, Cameron and Lloyd prevented more tries. But, when you looked around at the end of the game, not one of the boys had not put their full effort into the game.

Reflecting on the day, all the players can be very proud of their achievements. And this comes back to the whole squad. We emphasised the importance of our core values and held it together until almost the final whistle. With Mike Morgan reporting a great session from the park, we have a lot to pleased about in terms of the way we want to play the game. Of course there is plenty to learn from the day. But not one player looked out of place and two or three boys achieved things on the field beyond their own expectations.

Of the tournament itself I would say it was well run and played in completely the right spirit. Perhaps one or two decisions did not go our way, but we reached where I think we deserved to be at the end of the tournament. Praise goes to our upbeat and positive parents as well: proud of their sons' efforts but also supportive of how we should behave.

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