Hoppers U12s v Warrington U12s
ACT 1 – Scene 1
Glen is sat atop his neatly preserved duvet. The air is clammy with the gentle erosion of the vocal chords ably assisted by an overactive central heating system and the thought of the impending war that seem assured in the following 24 hours.
The (Hopefully to be replaced!!!HINT HINT) Television is awash with the labours of the world’s seven a side players prancing like gazelles in their escape of the observant Lion, across the screen heated by the soft warmth of a Dubai Sunrise.
*NB My punctuation and spelling is not endorsed in any-way by Penguin books or any reasonable teaching establishment.
“I wonder if it will be as entertaining as this” Glen said, with a whisper of fear in his voice.
“Who knows?” replies his dangerously mentally fragile mind in clear, worrying tones.
“Dad, can I play the X Box?” Violently whispers his ginger as a ginger caked son from downstairs.
I could continue but then this would be a literary report as opposed to a match report. However the most obvious of considerations is the “Consideration” of this contest pending for our team of furious warriors; or dampened also-rans that waits eagerly for time to catch up and fast forward 24 hours from writing this introduction.
ACT 1 – Scene 2
Well here we are 24 Hours later. Fortunately fervent readers of these pages will note that a lack of the presence of a certain central coach has been sorely missed hence his recount of today’s adventure follows:
As most of you know Warrington are the current Lancashire champions and have long been the team setting the standard in our region. In fact the only time we ever won a festival was when we drew 1-1 with them at the Hoppers festival at U8’s.
We played them in the Manchester festival in September and for large periods of the game we were on top so I was excited for today and I fancied us to record our first win against them in a while.
Unfortunately today we were badly affected by injuries, sickness and absence and all those combined made the task ahead of us today even greater. Whilst Warrington turned up with 27 players we were limited to 19 plus 2 new starts. It’s actually quite intimidating when a team turns up with a bigger squad. I believe that today that was the first time such a thing has happened.
In an effort to give everyone some game time we agreed to play 4 quarters of 15min. As usual we started the first 1/4 very sluggishly and we were 2 try’s down after the opening 10 minutes. Despite the Warrington front row being half the size of our front row we were unable to hold them in the scrum and repeatedly lost against the head. It seemed that the very tactic we were going to use against Warrington was being used against us. They were quick to the ruck and maul and despite the best efforts of Louis we ended up having to defend and defend and if you let Warrington run at you there will only be one result.
Towards the end of the 1st 15 our forwards started to get into the game a little more and they started to grow in confidence. The second 15 minutes was all Hoppers, George Sako came on as prop and and all of a sudden we started to win scrums and some good ball. All of a sudden Warrington were scrambling on the back foot and looked under pressure. Hoppers got their just deserts when Charlie Smith finished off an excellent forwards try. Hoppers were transformed. The forwards were battling for everything, the backs were showing great line speed and the Warrington parents were screaming and shouting as their team struggled to deal with resurgent Hoppers side.
(Whilst we are here can I please say that the behavior of the Warrington parents today was amongst the worst I have witnessed in mini rugby. Please work with me and the coaches to make sure that we never behave like that. One thing I love about our boys and parents is their exemplary behavior.)
Back to the action. Hoppers were on top and Warrington were struggling to stay with us. Then up stepped Mr Tom Walker with the best play of the day. He showed the ball to his opposite man, sucked him in and then side stepped him like he wasn’t there. Then he turned on his turbo boost and left Warrington hands flapping in the wind as they grabbed at thin air. All of a sudden it was a very close game but credit to Warrington just like excellent teams do, they responded by attacking and responded with a try of their own.
For the 3rd quarter we started to make sure that all of the boys got a game and made lots of changes to the forwards. Amazingly even the new boys worked hard and kept Warrington honest. George Sako looked as though he’s been playing for years! Alas at this point our inexperience in certain areas combined with our lack of fresh legs started to show. Tackles were missed and Warrington started to look dangerous. We kept them at bay for most of the 3rd 1/4 but by the 4th 1/4 we were spent and Warrington ran in 4 quick tries to kill us off.
So it wasn’t to be. I’m not disappointed, in fact I’m delighted with the character shown by some of the team. Louis was awesome despite having a new experience in a ruck (you’ll have to ask). Jak’s tackling was was amazing and Daniel was like a little warrior. Player of the day had to go to George though. He worked his socks off, hit the rucks and mauls and didn’t look like a new player at all…well done George!
Next week we are away to Lancashire’s most improved team …..Vale of Lune, for what will be another tough encounter. If we play like we did in the first 1/4 today we will loose. If we play like we did in the 2nd and 3rd 1/4’s we will win.
The choice is ours.”
ACT 2 – Scene 1
Today showed that when we believe in ourselves we can prevail. As Justin so rightly said to stand up against a team that has had the historical edge on us is never easy. However today hoppers under 12’and the adjacent “Hopperites” were a credit to the sport that we have all spent many long hours playing, practicing, teaching, watching, shouting at, arguing over match day breakfast (we’ve all had the “are your boots clean” argument surely?), driving to, driving from and stood freezing like a penguin in a cashmere sweater; that not once was any ill will or overt “coaching”, shouting at the official (Neil – I’m sure that the forth touch judge was blinded by a strobe of poor manners, professional optimism and the lure of “engage mouth” before “engage brain” )
The boys were a credit to every single person on that pitch; the boys were a credit to every coach, supporter and parent off the pitch. As a team we are a family club, with a family mentality but professional ambition. I hope that as all the boys develop into the team that they are destined to be; we as supporters and advocates of the Preston Grasshoppers rugby football club as us as a team. Regardless of the result we can raise a glass (and I’ve raised numerous this evening as you might has gauged from my lengthy addition to the report) to the boys.
As Justin stated Vale next week and hopefully a full set of players with those rested and available it is now “our game to lose and their game to win”.