Sunday, 30 November 2008

Match v Pencoed

Mike Morgan reports from the game this morning.

30th November 2008

Mumbles 0 - Pencoed 4

In the third game of our Invertigo Pepparami sponsored Autumn Series against the trilogy of the rugby giants of the Southern Glamorgansphere, we welcomed to Loftus Fferwald the Powerful Pencoedians. With their travelling arrangements with the local chapter of Ice Road Truckers courier services safely at their disposal, they were able to leave the frozen wastelands East of Sarn Park to arrive promptly for an 11 AM Kick off. Unfortunately, the ever popular Ice Dance Spectacular at Swansea's Winter Wonderland and a local derby at the Stadium of Liberties depleted the Pencoedians of a number of their regular players and consequently they arrived with only one team for what we knew would be a real contest of contrasting styles.

Having suffered at the hands of the Southern Glamorgansphere sides Porthcawl and Cowbridge, we knew this game was all about attitude and the players of the Crusaders responded in magnificent style, tackling and competing for every scrap of possession. Especially pleasing was some of the close quarter stuff where none of the Crusaders boys refused to give an inch or be intimidated by what was a very keen and legitimate Pencoed team in attack and defence. While our predetermined plan of making a raft of substitutions at set intervals to allow all 18 boys to have as much rugby as possible on the day may have interrupted the continuity of our game, our team objectives still remain constant, irrespective of the final scoreline.

Today's game had a nice little abrasive edge to it, and thanks to Dan, never overstepped the mark. Coupled to this the positive contribution of both teams, support coaches and parents ensured the game flowed in the correct spirit and didn't deteriorate into a free for all. . This element of the game, while thankfully is not encouraged by many coaches, it is in fact part and parcel of the game and exposure to this now is another important step in the teams and players development.

While as always, all players are worthy of mention for "fronting up" in the game today, three players really stood out for their all round contribution and tenacity - namely Cian, Rhys C and Lloyd John who collectively probably had their best games for the Crusaders. Again, despite the adversity of the scoreline, all players showed tremendous camaraderie and team ethic and the support from the parents was as always exemplary and welcoming.

Team Crusaders would again like to thank the excellent players and coaches of Pencoed for today's fixture and for sharing a similar set of values and beliefs to ours when it comes to Junior Rugby. Also thanks to the Cricket Club for hosting the after match cheese and wine food fight and for the Hot-Dog Police for their vigilance in making sure that nobody exceeded their given allowance for the day.

Remember the quiz night on Friday 5th December - start swotting on Wikipedia -

Sample Questions -

Geography - Sri Lanka used to be called Ceylon, but what was Iceland formerly called?

Science and Nature - What large land dwelling carnivore that eats seals and has white fur can be found in both the Arctic and Antarctica Regions?

Arts Literature - What was Captain Hooks name before he lost his hand?

Sports History - What is the contents of the Swansea Uplands Trophy Room?

Friday, 28 November 2008


Home at Bishopton

All the players required.

See you at 10.30am.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Dates to note

1. There is NO training this Wednesday. There will be training next Wednesday.
2. We are home against Pencoed this weekend. It will be a Matrix side.
3. Donna (Ben's mum) has organised a Xmas party for the boys at Playzone on Saturday 13th December from 3-5pm. It will be play, then food. £10 a boy, with first come, first served.
4. 5th December is the parents night out at the club, with disco, bar, quiz and shove-happenny. Kay (Aled's mum) and Donna for tickets.

Matches v South Gower

We played split our teams in half to play approximately two seven-a-side teams.

Team DC was made up of:
Rhys C, Tom G, Sam, Connor, Lloyd, Cian, Dom, Ben H. John Hinds ran behind the team and sorted out the substitutions expertly.

Team won the first game 5-3 and the second game 7-1. Again the tries we shared out. What was impressive was the passing before contact and the passing out of contact. The team spirit was excellent, with lots of positive energy between the players.

Here is Mike's report!

First Period Mumbles 3 - South Gower 2 (Captain Ben Marsden)

Second Period Mumbles 4 - South Gower 8 (Captain Keiran Morgan)

Having thrown the sacred bones of Diablo at the holy shrines of power that oversee our every move and appeasing the spirits therein, we were able to continue to play out of our adopted home at Bishopston. Having avoided the potential threat of being taken hostage by a gang of rebel Somaliland Pirates en route, the majority of the Mighty Crusaders safely reached port just before the 10 30 high tide, thus enabling us to field two strong and well balanced teams for an 11 AM kick off against our good friends from South of the Gower.

Team MM consisted of Tom P, Jack P, Liam, Harry, Tom L, Alex, Ben M, Max and Keiran.

In the two games the players from both teams tried to play an open and expansive game and demonstrated a high skill level with their ability to run and pass coupled with some neat little offloads which allowed the games to develop some continuity. Given the heavy conditions and the biting northerly wind, a lot of credit goes to all the players for the manner and spirit in which they played the game and the esprit de corps of the Crusaders players and parents. Particularly pleasing in today's "Abbreviated Games" was the amount of ball and tackle time given to each of the players and the distribution of tries amongst the team (not sure who scored in total, but yet again Gaynor's conversation got into 3rd gear causing her to miss her sons moment in the sun). Also it was nice to see the majority of players looking for the open spaces and not running back to where the pass had come from and the system introduced at the first line of defence being fully embraced with considerable enthusiasm by all.

Team Crusaders would like to thank South Gower for providing us with the opportunity for fielding two teams thereby ensuring everybody from both sides got plenty of rugby, irrespective of the scorelines. Thanks to the South Gower coaches, Gareth and Rob who continue to do excellent work with their players and aim to instil the correct values into their teams and for their support towards the sympathetic refereeing decisions that allowed the game to be played in the spirit of the law rather than to the letter of the law. In the difficult conditions such an approach was required and welcomed as the majority of players today made the odd yet unpunished mistake and they all seemed to thrive upon finding mud in various orifices of their body.

My thanks goes to Joanne and Vicky for masterminding the substitutions, which, as the cold set in, the players enthusiasm to seek the sanctuary of a cuddle on the touchline and a bit of TLC grew ever more appealing. Also thanks to the tactical guru that is John Marsden, who after a relatively successful start of his tenure suffered his first defeat as Director of Performing Arts and Science and whose record in this role is now only marginally better than Martin Johnson's - Beware of the Fleet Street Scribes and the personal backlash that may accompany this - welcome to the real world of Junior Rugby.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Sunday v South Gower

At Bishopston 10.30am meet

ALL the players involved this week.

A matrix team for Pencoed the week after.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Mumbles 6 Dunvant 4

It was a great pleasure to welcome a much improved Dunvant team to the Bishopston school playing fields this Sunday. The weather was similar to the state of a Mike Morgan Saturday sing song. A bit blustery, a bit wet and not sure of whether things would brighten up. Thankfully it kept dry and we were able to train well for a good half an hour before the opposition turned up.

It is worth noting we have introduced some new systems in attack and so we tried to implement these in the game. We are keen to keep the passing going and players not to run back on themselves, in other words towards where the opposition are coming from.

There was some difficulty identifying the opposition since they looked more like an Under 13’s team. With matrix coughing up a new team for this week, the sundries went off with Mike Morgan for further training and Mike Davies (Rhys’ dad) took on the substitutions duties.

Playing down the hill in the first half, Sam whisked off to score a couple of tries, plus Cam dived over after some good running. But it was Dunvant who kept up the pressure and only some resolute tackling stop more tries being leaked.

It was particularly good to see Connor and James Parker making such a positive contribution, whilst the other players made their usual good impressions on the team. Another positive was the team effort in terms of passing.

Coach Lyndon was a constant threat behind the team. At one point he confused the substitutions to the extent that we had eight players on the pitch. However his half time team talk galvanised the players, focusing their efforts on the ball on the ground. Going up hill against a big side was going to be tough.

The boys picked up their game extremely well with most of the pressure being in the Dunvant half. Some fine tackling from the visitors from Killay held out James, Cameron, Rhys C and Tom L from near scores. Rhys D, Sam and Rhys C however did make it over the line (I might need some confirmation of this!)

There was plenty of great tackles, with captain Cameron leading the way, but other notable tackles came from Tom L, Dom, both Rhys’, Tom G, Cian and Aled.

Alex was his usual strong self in close quarters and Harry kept the ball alive well, linking to take the ball away from contact.

The game was won 6-4.

Afterwards we went to the cricket and I believe it was a successful way to get together after the game.

Training at the Astroturf on 4.30pm on Wednesday.

Don’t forget December 5th at the clubhouse for parents' disco and quiz.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Match v Dunvant

10am meet for the whole squad at Bishopston.

We will train for 30 minutes, and then the non playing squad will continue to train until 11am.

The match starts at 11am and then back to the cricket club for hot dogs etc.

Here is the matrix team //cu.jim.e./o2joy//

Rhys C
Tom L
Rhys D
Cameron (captain)
James P

Christmas party Friday 5th December

An Xmas quiz, disco and dancing at the rugby club on Friday 5th December starting at 8pm.

Tickets only £3 (to cover Mike Morgan's costume for the disco) from Donna Marsden (Ben's mum) or Kay Midha (Aled's mum).

The event is open to all parents and dog carers from the U7 through U11s (and anyone else).

The quiz will be run by Dr Rav Midha in the style of Jeremy Paxman.
There will be a professional disco playing all the tunes you love.

Obviously there is a bar for the all the non-dancers.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Astroturf tonight

4:30 - 5:30 at Ashleigh Road. Drive up the lane between the football and rugby pitches and park near the tennis club. Our pitch is the one nearest the buildings. Wrap up, it'll be cold later.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Cowbridge Match Report 2

Cowbridge 10 Mumbles 0

Team DC was made up of Rhys C, Tom G, Alex, Harry, Ben H, Ben M, Tom L, Cian and Connor.

Both halves were hard fought, and the boys did many good things...passing before contact, tackling, mauling and keeping their team spirit up. But we faced a tide of speed and strength. As Mike says in his match report, it was a learning curve during the game and some reflection afterwards on what is required at a better level. If we don't play these teams and lose we will never progress.

Everyone made a tackle and some players made some significant tackles, keeping the score down. We rarely came close to their line, but continued to recycle some good ball. Running forwards with support and now presenting the ball to the opposition were not our strong suit though.

Many thanks to John H (and Brett for a short period too) for running behind the team. Also to Donna and Jo for their help with bottles, first aid and then in the kitchens afterwards.

I think Bishopston is an ideal facility for us and I would echo Mike Morgan's thoughts on that.

Cowbridge Match Report 1



On a blustery and squally morning we welcomed our venerable guests from Cowbridge. With our visitors having beaten the ancient drovers' paths West to arrive by 10.30, and thanks to the excellent facilities at Bishopston, we were able to kick off at 11.00 prompt. Despite some coaches not feeling mentally and physically up to the demands of cross regional championship rugby after playing to much table top football on a dodgy surface, the needs of the team, as always, came first and there were no 11th hour panic changes to our matrix formation or Wendy Boy excuses. Consequently we were able to field two sides for what we knew would be a formidable challenge in front of us.

Team MM consisted of Captain Tom P, Jack P, James P, Liam, Lloyd, Max, Vice Captain Aled, Sam, Cameron and Keiran. In an enthralling game, it was quickly apparent that today's guests were slick proponents of the game, where their all round game had few weaknesses. Their ability to play as a team was important in all of this as they quickly looked to offload and pass to any member of the team in space or better positioning and not worrying about who scored or who scored the most tries. For Mumbles, yet again, all the players are worthy of credit for the way they stuck to their task and resilience in adversity. The solitary try was scored by Max, who worked energetically throughout. Particular mention for today's game goes to the superb Sam, the total commitment shown by Aled and the outstanding and belligerent efforts of Keiran.

Today's game was an excellent learning curve for the players development as they played a team they knew little about beforehand and therefore takes them out of the "Comfort Zone" of playing local teams where the players know each other either from school or other contexts. Games like this require the players to adapt to the regional variations and styles of the game found throughout Wales, and in this respect, especially in the second period, all the boys seemed to front up well to the challenge and play some confident and controlled rugby.

Our thanks goes to our gracious visitors and their outstanding team of players who were worthy winners on the day. Thanks to our old friends Stuart "The Punch From Hell" Roy, Chris "Babbling" Bradshaw and Big Paul, who after distinguished first class playing careers are coaching the correct virtues of rugby both on and off the field to their players and supporters. It is a return fixture we look forward to soon to see if we are developing as a team and to use the old adage, learning lessons . Thanks again to all parents and supporters of Team Crusaders who continue to show their appreciation and good humour to both sets of players in all conditions.

Also thanks to Mark "Skinny" Jones and Julie for the hospitality offered to the players, parents and supporters of all age groups and especially for the rarity of being pleased to welcome a slightly embarrassed Mike M in the rugby club the day after a Welsh International Game.

To quote a line from the film Support Your Local Sherriff when Jason McCullough (James Garner) says: "Why do these jaspers always have to hit town at meal times?" Mark and Julie warmly welcome all players and parents after the game and sometimes it is important to support your local club as it serves an important part of team bonding for players and parents alike.

Cowbridge win

With further reports to come in, I will just note that we lost both games today.

It was an excellent, if tough experience in windy conditions. The team I was with kept their spirits up throughout and played with heart. However Cowbridge were a very strong and fast team and though we defended well, we could not get much forward momentum.

We have Dunvant at home next week and plan to play at Bishopton again.

On another note, I had a couple of calls this morning on my mobile which I missed. It is better to ring me on my home phone on a Sunday because there is a poor signal in the house.

More soon.


Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Cowbridge Challenge

This Sunday we are back at Bishopston School Playing Fields (hurray!) for a match with Cowbridge, who will have travelled from the darkest depths of the Vale of Glamorgan. We will of course endeavour to make them feel welcome. All the squad should be at Bishopston by 10:30, for an 11:00 kick off.

Apres rugby, everyone is invited to venture back across the common to the clubhouse for nutritious hot dogs, where the finer points of the matches will be dissected over several pints of Mumbles' finest ale.

Rain information: The pitches have been in good condition this week and the match is very unlikely to be called off because of them. So it looks like it will all be on. But we know that thundery showers are forecast so please make sure you have some clothing to keep the boys dry before the match and something dry to change into afterwards. It is also important to change before going into the clubhouse so the boys aren't wearing muddy kit or shoes.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Gowerton Match Report

From the Bishopton High Veld

Filed by Francois Morganeer

Sunday 2nd November 2008

Mumbles 11 Bishopston 0

On a beautiful November morning, where conditions and temperatures were ideal for the type of rugby embraced by the Crusaders, we sought to gain an early psychological advantage over our respected opponents by moving the First Test from our spiritual home Parc Dan y Bryn to play in the energy sapping altitude and thinner air of the Bishopton High Veld.

With all the data from the matrix not fully available until half an hour from kick off, we finally were able to call upon 15 good men and true to enter into the complex matrix code //2468 never 2 late 3579//. This allowed us to formulate 3 groups as follows:-

The players and groups

Group A Group B Group C

Rhys C (1) Max (6) Aled (11)
Rhys D (2) Harry (7) Alex (12)
Keiran (3) Tom G (8) Connor (13)
Cameron (4) Cian (9) Ben M (14)
Lloyd (5) Sam (10) Nathan (15)

After weeks of general frustration but recent gradual improvement, it seemed to finally click today for the team and the Technical Director of Rolling Substitutions, who eventually mastered his 5 times table and ability to recite and recall the first three letters of the Modern English Alphabet. With this difficulty seamlessly resolved, the boys played with tremendous enthusiasm, continuity and collective pride against what was, despite the misleading scoreline, a very good, well drilled and determined Gowerton team.

Especially pleasing was the enormous pride and determination everyone took in a Herculean defensive effort in which we were quite rightly rewarded with another "BIG D" shut out. This type of hardnosed attitude in rugby cannot be instilled into players but is something that comes from within, to quote the old saying for all sports, especially ones like rugby, " A coach cannot put in what God left out ". However, this particular aspect of today's game gave all associated with Team Crusaders an enormous amount of satisfaction and was a general discussion point amongst all the touchline Connoisseurs of Colossus.

For the record, and equally pleasing, was the number of different names on the scoresheet, with contributions from Rhys C (4), Max (4) Rhys D, Harry, Cian and Keiran (editor's note: we think these were the scorers, but the high altitude might have got the better of us, please advise). However it is important to note that in a TEAM GAME all these scores were as a direct result of the hard work of all 15 players used on the day, where it is fair to say, we probably played as well as we have ever done.

Team Crusaders would like to thank Bishopston for allowing us to use their facilities and also thank the Gowerton team for their efforts and never-say-die attitude today. The game was played in a fantastic spirit and this is a credit to the players, coaches and parents of both sides. Thanks especially to Gowerton coaches Dai and Lyn for graciously accepting the better team on the day won and the manner in which they encourage their players to play the game. It is again another fixture and welcome we look forward to honouring.

Key Dates For The Diary

* Wednesday 5th November - NO TRAINING

* Wednesday 5th November - 5.30 - 7.30 An effigy of Mike Morgan's former DT teacher climbs up a pile of wood (St Helens)

* Thursday 6th November - 7.30 - 8.15 Lyndon learns how to play buzz using the number 7 (Ostreme Hall Mumbles, all welcome.)

* Sunday 9th November -Mumbles Crusaders v Cowbridge 11am kick off. They are bring TWO teams so everyone is required.

Tom gets held up on the line and Harry takes the offload to dive over.

Max and Rhys helped themselves to a couple of tasty breakaways

The boys listen intently to Gaynor's post match debrief