Lymm U14s 17 Hoppers U14s 19
11th October 2015
To those of you that are familiar with Radio 4, Sunday afternoon finds a spot for the contemplation of poetry modern and old. Poetry is a sincere literal appeal to the senses of the listener. A mode of showing emotion and expression that cannot be simply replicated in music, theatre, movie or dance. It is about showing the soul of an individual or situation in a prosaic style with enough imagery in its texts to make a 3D Hollywood blockbuster look like a stick drawing in pencil.
To those of you familiar with current exploits at the rugby world cup; there is no poetry. Well there hasn’t been as an England fan. Step forward Japan. Rugby greats? No. Quarter finalists? No. Inspirational as Keats, Coleridge or Byron? Yes. Passion and persistence has been 90% of their game. Belief, fearlessness and fitness their very core in playing the game.
How does this relate to the resolute young men of the hoppers ranks? This summer has seen a transformation in both the attitude, aptitude and fitness of our bunch lads. From the fatigue inducing screams of our Italian fitness leader or the precision promoting drills of “Stoogedogs” testing sessions; the boys have been expected to raise their game……by some way. Today was always going to be a test against one of our premier opponents. The Lymm boys have always been a well drilled side. Confident in both attack and defence; but organised in approach and consistency of positive “get forward” play. We have had a week to reflect on our undoubtedly positive performances either side of the Mersey estuary, and it seems it has been a week relatively well spent.
Just to take a short break from the superlatives that I hope to add to this report, it wouldn’t seem inappropriate not to recognise that the “poetry” of the match today:
“There were a team of boys from Preston.
They never had time to rest on.
From pillar to post,
They played at their host(s)
Who never got their chance to get vests on!”
Thank you. I can hear the applause from here!
Anyway, back to the action. The game was to be split into 3 x 15 minute periods. The first 15 saw our cup side take the pitch. From the outset it was clear that organisation had improved greatly from the previous season. The rolling mauls and ferocious rucking had some planning adding to their potential. The individual pods in the forwards seemed more resolute in getting over the gain line and forcing the opponents to try and “spoil” the ball. I recall a time when line outs used to be seriously stressful experience to watch, but now it seemed there was a fluidity built from the confidence of the second rowers getting clean ball to recycle to the expectant backs.
The Lymm coach paid a great compliment to the boys. He noted that our drift defence in the backs was really effective against their “monster” centres on the pitch. True, they seemed to like to drift in attack too, but managing to wrap up these strong powerful runners with a well organised field was, some achievement. Jak, Tom and Lincoln seemed to revel in pushing forward with inside runs changing direction of the back play from blind to open and vice versa. Lincoln used one of his traditional route one power plays to get the first score. This was well supported by a dominant forward display with “The Maxes” churning out their usual forceful display, well aided by the remainder of the lads showing that they had the fitness to compete all over the park.
Session two saw a change to bring a compliment of last weeks valiant development squad to the pitch. Yet again they did themselves proud. After an opening forward flurry on the right side of the pitch, Neo finished off with some sublime running. A period on the back foot followed with some dubious commitment of players both to the tackle and to the ruck. This led to two easy scores for our rivals following loose tackling and poor positional recovery after the tackle. Despite this it would be fair to say the development boys have “developed” well and I’m sure that the choice for places for next week will be very difficult. Special mention to Richard whom in my mind (sorry coaches! Didn’t ask for votes!) was my man of the match. It would take a scientific calculator not an abacus to count the number of critical tackles he made in all areas of the park. Add to that some great running with ball in hand; recycling to the guys in contact, one hell of a display.
Session three saw the development boys give way again for the cup faithful. Leading on from their peers springboard they showed a great depth in play to push their opponents into their own half. Some fierce defending followed with Harry managing to carry a loose opposition ball briefly down the left touchline. Stand up Max G! In a play worthy of the great Australian back rowers; a run some 80m down the left touchline and then under the posts sealed a great victory for the boys by a two point margin.
Anyway, I’m tired and needing of a cup of warm tea and forced support of the Irish. So I’ll leave you with a thought….just a thought……Have we finally found the combination to compete with the best consistently this season? We have the fitness. We have the numbers. We have the skills. Lets have the results…..Come On Hoppers!