Date: Sun 23rd Oct 2016

Match Report

Despite being a fresh morning, the sun was shining and the rain stayed away which made for good playing conditions. Jason Pite deputised for Paul Eynon for this match and did a great job in his absence – both Nick Jacques and James Keys-Kidd assisted and the Referreeing was provided by the Upminster Club. The team had a great turnout today with 17 kids and as well as welcoming another new recruit to the club, Ethan Houghton – welcome! Upminster showed-up with 12 players which meant a 9-aside ensued.The under 11s managed to squeeze – in 3 games today which gave all the players some decent time on the pitch and kept them warm for the duration.

1st Game Line-up:

Henry, Montel (c), Morgan, Joe, Will Pite, Teddy, Archie, Bailey and Charlie

Despite the usual pre-match trepidation, Montel led the team and kicked-off the match with great confidence; we really took the game to Upminster. Both Henry and Montel put in some great runs and Teddy did a great job with clearing-out. It took until just over 5 minutes until we saw a try – this one from Upminster. Will and Morgan provided some ground-gaining runs and Archie really got stuck in. Charlie took a fierce tackle that earned him a burgeoning black-eye and Bailey demonstrated his side-stepping prowess. The 1st half finished 1-0.

The 2nd half was led by Dillon – and here was his squad:

Dillon (c), Henry, Teddy, Gabe, Jacques, Amity, Freddy, Callum and George

Upminster were very quick out of the blocks and managed a cheeky 2nd try within 9 seconds of the whistle. Unruffled by their opponents start, Harlow quickly re-grouped and Gabe/Dillon/Freddy demonstrated their ability in the scrum.. A momentary lapse in formation allowed Upminster through our defence as they scored a 3rd at 2 mins 33. Joe certainly had his running-legs on today and scored from a blistering run quite soon after at 3 mins 32. The game really got competitive and Upminster managed to put down another at 7 mins 21. Archie provided substitution for Henry in the closing stages of the game and it finished 4-1 to the visitors.

2nd Game line-up:

Montel, Charlie, Morgan, Amity, George, Freddy, Gabe, Archie (c) and Bailey

Upminster kicked-off the 2nd match which initiated a very evenly matched game. George defended excellently when it counted – as did Bailey. An early try from Upminster at 1 min 10 prompted Harlow to re-group and maintain a disciplined line across the park. A cheeky manoevre from the visitors delivered a 2nd try at 4 mins 36. Montel took advantage of a loose ball and weaved through Upminster’s defence – only to be stopped by an extreme high tackle which prevented a gauranteed try.. 5 mins 30 and it was scrum-down with Gabe/Morgan/Freddy providing some formidable opposition to the visitors. A good spell in the Upminster half gained us great confidence which culminated in Archie setting the ball down and scoring his try at 6 mins 23. The end of the 1st half was punctuated by a crushing tackle from Montel that unfortunately saw an injury sustained by Upminster. Great credit to Montel who quickly recognised this and ran to the other team’s camp to check he was ok and to give a sportsmans-handshake – a great display of maturity. Upminster were up, but the gap was narrowing; 2-1.

The 2nd half line-up was as follows:

Joe (c), Dillon, Callum, Henry, Teddy, Jacques, Will, Freddy and Amity

The 2nd half saw the fresh legs of Amity running confidently in the middle of the field and Will got himself stuck into the action. Despite being under the weather today, Callum really came into his own and didn’t shy away from one their larger players, putting in a great tackle. Another early try from Upminster at 1 min 9 injected some vigour in Harlow and Joe ran the length of the pitch to score a belter at 5 mins 41. Jacques did the family proud and weaved around several players before getting the ball safely away. Dillon was rucking demon and he displayed great confidence at close-quarters.. The game ended 3-2 to Upminster, but there was hardly any daylight between the 2 sides..

3rd Game line-up:

Henry (c), Montel, Morgan, Will, Teddy, Archie, Bailey, Charlie and Harley

Harlow kicked-off the final match and a determined Upminster scored first at 2 mins 10. Harley took-up position on the wing and really stood his ground as the ball was played down the blind-side. Henry maintained the discpline in the team which saw a collaborated push over the line with the ball being put down by Charlie at 7 mins 15. Teddy and Morgan led the charge through the middle of the park and Montel gained us some really useful ground. A long spell in the opponents half saw Teddy go to ground and be the recipient of some foul-play; this was promptly dealt with by the Referee in the sending-off of an Upminster player.. The 1st half finished a very close and tense 1-1..

2nd Half line-up:

JoeJacques, Henry (c), Harley, Gabe, Freddy, Amity, Morgan and Callum

The final half of the game and day was kicked-off by Upminster and within only 20-seconds, Joe streaked down the wing to put down our first! The game was one of great attrition – both sides not wanting to relent to the other.. Upminster replied with 2 try’s at 5 mins 10 and 6 mins 30 respectively.. Once again, Henry rallied his troops and all of the team had fire in the belly. With much grit and determination, the team flew in formation and fed the ball out to a hungry Montel on the wing. Surrounded by the opposition, Montel floundered which popped the ball into the air – only for him to pirouette and re-catch it and dive across the try line at 7 mins 13! The passage of play was sensational to behold and certainly betrayed the age and experience of this young player.. The last game ended 3-3.

It was after midday and both teams had given their-all on this crisp October morning.. There were highs and lows, but all the kids had a cracking game and did themsleves, their families and the respective clubs proud. Jay wrapped-up the day with a morale-boosting talk that really encapsulated the spirit of the day and recognised the great efforts of all the players.. A very well deserved Man-of-the-Match trophy medal went to Henry who displayed great leadership and play throughout the day.