Match Report
The Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School Boys-U14A vs  Hitchin Boys' School
On: Saturday, 14 Sep 2019
Venue: at Home

Having had three good training sessions since preseason numbers swelled from 11 last Saturday to 23 for the match day squad. The players who did not attend the Biarritz trip or preseason all worked hard to bring themselves up to speed. Enthusiasm has been great and so everyone was excited about the first match of the season against Hitchin.

Basking in glorious sunshine, with weather more attuned to test match cricket at the Oval, the U14A team took the field for their first match of the season. The starting team was comprised mainly of those who had attended the most training and were thus most familiar with the game plan but the whole squad were to get the opportunity to game time on the pitch. After some strong defence and holding the opposition near the halfway line a clean break after a couple of missed tackles resulted in Habs conceding the first try of the game. Appreciating that it was simply a missed tackle and nothing more than that the team responded well and soon took the lead after Will Andrews scored a try that was converted by Saad Khan. Habs were playing their way into the game, based around a simple but effective game plan. Big strike runners (Andrews, Suissa, Mack) were making good yards and the communication of the players meant everyone new what they were doing. The game ebbed and flowed a bit but after a good turnover in our own 22m are Charlie Mack cam away with the ball and ran the length to score the second try. Good pace and well balance running was demonstrated at Charlie ran into space, along the touchline and then finally touching down under the post with Saad converting again (12-5). More possession was had by Habs and even with numerous changes occurring throughout the half the style of play, commitment and success was almost seamless. On the whole defence was strong with good line speed and tackles were being completed. The only issue now was that the ball was being carried into contact too close to the breakdown, making it easy to defend. The half finished with another try by Andrews, again converted by Saad, before the last play of the game allowed Hitchin back onto the score board. A tap penalty was given to the player running at depth and with a 20m run up made it easy for him to break tackles and score under the posts, with the try converted. Half time score 21-12 to Habs. The importance to closing down the attacking space was raised at half time but the general message was to keep positive, maintain the line speed and try to get the ball a bit wider into space. The second half saw Habs show good commitment with their tackling although the number of penalties been given by us was beginning to pick up which put us on the back foot- offsides at the breakdown and in the midfield seemed to be the main problem, due to a combination of lack of communication, over enthusiasm and fatigue! After one of their players tried to unsuccessfully run over the top of Will Heselton who stood his ground and made a fabulous tackled which allowed Will Andrews to then strip the ball and race in from 30 yards for his third try. With Saad now off the pitch the extra two points were not scored (26-12). More changes continued to be made but still Habs held their structure and positivity. What was most pleasing was the final few minutes of the game which was now already won. Penalty after penalty was been conceded but the tackles still flew in and when a tackled forced a knock on Charlie Mack look to clear the ball out of our 22. It was not the prettiest, but more so than the flood of blood from Alex Taylors nose which I was dealing with as Will Andrews completed the scoring with a long run down the touchline. Will finished with 4 tries and the final score was 31-12 to Habs.

All those involved did themselves proud and put on a really good show. Shaurya Sharma and Eshan Davda carried the ball well, Sacha Tobias-Tarsh demonstrated his athletic ability with a number of powerful runs and strong defence. Alex Taylor lead the forward pack, setting the example whether it be tackling or hitting rucks. Both fly-halves (Ethan Mahendran and James Collins) orchestrated things well and made sure those around them knew what their role was.

Man of the match goes to Will Andres for his 4 tries.

Training focus this week:

Speed off the line- ensuring onside

Getting the ball wider and into space

Carrying the ball further away from the breakdown

Not over committing into lost rucks

Training on Tuesday games afternoon, Wednesday after school and Thursday lunchtime

Next fixture:

Saturday 21st September v Mill Hill (away) 2.30 kick off