U14s London Irish RFC Festival
By Katie James
Hazelwood, Sunbury on Thames, the home of London Irish RFC, was the location of the U14s Rugby Festival.
Topsham U14s travelled with a competitive squad to compete against teams from Germany, Wales and England, which made for a great day of exciting, high quality, fast paced rugby.
The festival format consisted of 15 a-side teams, playing initially in group stages and then advancing to the knockout stages, followed by play-off finals.
In our group stage we played SC Frankfurt 1880 from Germany, Alton RFC, Bracknell RFC and Maidenhead RFC, winning two games and losing two, both by a solitary try. Some fantastic, fast paced rugby on the 3G pitch, led to some great passages of play. Our game play improved throughout and we became more accomplished at dealing with skilful, tough opposition teams, as the stage progressed.
The knockout stage, saw Topsham draw against Henley RFC, in what was our best performance of the day, resulting in a 25-0 win. Topsham’s defence was excellent and our blitz speed closed the big Henley runners down early on, stopping any momentum. Passing and off-loading was superb and we dominated the breakdown area throughout.
Due to the waterfall festival format and based on points scored during the day, our final play-off game was the 3rd/4th place play-off, against Effingham & Leatherhead RFC. Again another polished performace from Topsham saw us take an early 10-0 lead, but the opposition rallied towards the end and the final score ended 10-5 to Topsham - leaving us in 3rd place overall.
This was an excellent experience for the players, against high quality opposition and after the initial nerves of playing unknown teams, our game play developed and improved markedly as the day went on. Great for the players to take part in a first rate festival, played in good, competitive team spirit.
Thanks to all parents and coaches for making the trip to the South East and to the boys for representing the club impeccably.