Sunday 16th December: Ivybridge Vs Topsham (plus Teignmouth) U14s
With pretty much every rugby match in the SW called off due to the weather, Rob Saltmarsh played a blinder and got us invited to visit Ivybridge’s ridiculously lovely new 4G pitch. Immune to the weather, this pitch also had the effect of making me feel
Because we had been rostered to host Teignmouth’s reduced squad, we invited them to join us to take on Ivybridge. Whilst their 4 lads added a degree of complexity in team selection, Harry, Ben, Barny and Isaac really enjoyed the experience and it felt like a very positive thing to do. It also required a degree of adaptation from our backs that they were initially unprepared for. Consequently the first 15 minutes consisted of a well structured sustained period of possession and territory for Ivy. When Topsham did get the ball Ivy’s rush defence overwhelmed our backs who repeated spilled the ball. Despite this, Topsham’s defence held firm and eventually the forwards gave the SH a decent platform from which to launch a good steep attacking back-line resulting in a score under the posts. With limited subs in the pack the extended time they had on the pitch meant they increasingly settled into the game and started to take control resulting in another good platform for another successful back-line score. After the break, with a completely new back line, Topsham once again had to settle and Ivy took advantage of this with a good forwards try after multiple pick and go drives over the gain line. However the last 20 minutes turned into 1 way traffic with Topsham’s pack and backs taking control and scoring a further 4 tries. With all but one try converted and Ivy missing their one conversion attempt, the match finished 40-5.
Considering Ivy had beaten our friends at KB the previous week and the untested combinations in the 2 sets of back lines, this was an impressive win. In particular the defensive commitment was immense from all Topsham and Teignmouth players. Despite facing a very talented Ivybridge team there was not one clean break through back-line.
The edge was slightly taken off this impressive performance by some Topsham players failing to control their frustrations at the way the match unfolded and at some of the challenges they experienced. The coaches feel very very supportive of all of our players and we really do understand how hard it can be on the pitch sometimes. However, the whole squad has to show discipline and the real test of character is in how players react to this kind of pressure. Not only does the team under-perform if they are not all positively pulling together; players risk being sent off if they do not stay in control of themselves. I’m sure valuable lessons were learnt.
All that’s left to say is well done all. It feels like what was a good start to the season has developed into a very positive end to the first half.
Happy Christmas from all the coaches.