Colchester u13 v Wymondham Spartans
A good game and a good performance.
Colchester u13 v Wymondham
Jamie Allen; Mckenzie Bishop; James Carver-Hardy; Will Curnow-Soper; Flynn Dalziel;Brendan Edwards; Nathan Gardner; Josh Garrard; Jasper Ivory-Castile; Matthew Johnson; Kieran Kanathapy;Jack Light; Finlay MacBrayne; Toby Machin; Finn Mackman; Jay Lewis Matthews; Lewis Matthews; Jack Milsom; Theo Richmond; Roman Seal;George Welsh
With 12 players unavailable due to the Rosslyn Park Schools 7s tournament this was not going to be a repeat of the scoreline when the two teams met earlier in the season - which led to one of the best reports from the opposition we have read.
What it did do is allow some other players to step up and demonstrate our strength in depth.
From the outset there was evidence of real fluidity between the players particularly in defence where our line speed placed real pressure in the Wymondham players. The breakdown was a physical battle all game and although we showed some technical development from Lee Soper's session on Tuesday this is still an area to work on. The backline was well organised with Jack Light, Theo and Lewis Matthews all leading the line getting the ball to Nathan G, Finn Mackman, Fin MacBrayne and Toby M.
The forwards worked hard to find gaps with good carries. Flynn and McKenzie cleared the ruck and Matt Johnson released the forwards with George, Flynn and Jack M all punching holes. With the defence sucked in we went wide to find McKenzie in the backline to score.
We allowed the ensuing kick off to bounce but Toby collected it and cleared the ball into touch. The line outs are always a lottery but we were grateful for an early win on the Wymondham ball. Wymondham were relentless in contact and tackled resolutely as we went forwards forcing us into some mistakes.
From the resulting Wymondham scrum we again put them under pressure with tackles from Jack, George, James C-H allowing Brendan, Josh G, Flynn and Mckenzie to compete for the ball. As we again moved up our line was a little uneven and Wymondham found a gap to exploit. Toby M helped by Nathan G and Fin MacBrayne stopped them just short and then the recovering forwards held the big Wymondham runners up over the line.
Good tackling and line speed from the backs forced a mistake and allowed us to clear our lines.
Buoyed by their play Wymondham gained the upper hand and a well worked backs move enabled them to get on the outside to score a well deserved try.
This was turning into an even battle.
Wymondham continued to link well with good offloads and continuity creating concerted possession, but consistent defensive pressure saw us make tackles forcing tem to play behind the gain line. Defence rapidly became attack and from a scrum on our own 5m line we play a confident exit strategy. Matt J feeds Jack L who identifies the space and takes the ball to the line and puts Theo into a gap. What follows saw applause and appreciation from both sides. Theo breaks the first tackle with a Maori side step and gets over the tackle line. In open space he sets of crossing the 22, he then fends of the covering player. The first chasing Wymondham player meets another strong fend but the second defender gets a great tap tackle in sending Theo into a forward roll and back to his feet. Eventually he is tackled inside the Wymondham 22. Supporting players secure possession and James Carver-Hardy picks the ball and reached over the line to score.
Undeterred Wymondham get the Windupem and continue to press forwards. Jay-Lewis, Jack, George and McKenzie make their tackles felt. This sees a change in tactics as Wymondham start to use the wind to their advantage and put kicks in behind; which Toby and Roman deal with effectively. Kieran Kanatahapy fields the ball well and uses good footwork to go forwards. With all 6 substitutes rotating in and off interchanges were a regular occurrence to ensure maximum game time for all of the group. Despite resolute defence Wymondham hands just allow them to break the gain line and an audacious step and accelerate from the Wymondham 15 sees him get to the outside and just evade Roman's covering tackle.
Lewis Matthews claims the restart and beats a couple of players. Nathan G, Jasper, Flynn, Will Soper and Mckenzie clear the ball. Jamie Allen sends the forwards round the corner with carries from George, Will S, Jack M and Flynn. This gave us good momentum and when Jack L released the backs Theo again benefitted.
Jack Light added the conversion
We started to show a great pattern of play with against a Wymondham side who continued to defend well. Using the forwards to draw in the defence with direct running and quick support allowed us to move the ball up the pitch. But Wymondham relished the breakdown and disrupted our possession.
A great scrum from the forwards saw Brendan steal Wymondham ball and the ball was worked along the back line to Kieran who was well tackled. Playing with the wind and down hill in the second half was helping. Flynn and McKenzie made gains and then a another great bulldozing run from George saw him bounce through and over the tackles. As he was driven on only great work from the Wymondham defence brought him down just short. Flynn, Jay-Lewis, Jack M and Jamie all went close. As we went wide a great off load from Jack L stretched the defence but Kieran was stopped just short. Jay-Lewis sensed his chance and picked up from the base of the ruck and crashed over.
Wymondham continued to be direct and were constantly met with solid defence. Roman and Nathan worked well to deny space and used the touchline well to manage the Wymondham break. We started to get the upper hand in contact and were now regularly winning turnover ball. A clearing kick from a penalty just avoided going into touch and a great run from Wymondham winger resulted in a well deserved try as his audacious footwork bamboozled our tacklers.
We quickly returned the favour with Toby M chasing the kick off and putting the Wymondham player under real pressure.
The support that followed saw us win yet more possession. Jay-Lewis stooped well and picked the pass off his toes. This planned move created a gap in the Wymondham defence and Jay-Lewis powered through to score from 40m.
Jack L added the conversion
This was great game to watch and credit goes to both teams. The breakdown was crucial and in the first half honours were even with both sides securing turnover possession when the ball carrier was isolated. The second half playing downhill and with the wind started to see us gain the upper hand in contact which allowed more space for the backs. It was nice to see the forwards making strong carries and then the backs linking well. This game reflects how well all the group has progressed - demonstrated by our regular interchanges which saw most players play in two different positions.
Link to wynondham's match report