Rugby Report – 9 November 2019

1st XV

Having had some disappointing results and following a team meeting earlier in the week, the team decided that they would treat the rest of the season as a ‘mini season’ and look to put right some of the areas where they felt they had under performed. So it is fair to say that this game marked the start of the season and after a tough preseason, the 1st XV kicked off with a superb win to begin the new season, beating Langley 34-13. Tries from McCool, Roberts, Wildman and Agboola depicted the hard work ethic displayed by the boys, emphasising the teams ethos of fittest, fastest, first.

While discipline was refereed closely by the official, this handful of setbacks was greatly outweighed by the iron defence, silencing the Langley ‘one out rugby’ style of play.

Ultimately, individual performances, such as Jamie Roberts’ superb finishing, deserve merit. However, it is the collective squad’s effective execution of game control and hard working mind set which saw such a deserving win. The team now move forward to extend their winning run next week.

U15B

On a bright but fresh Saturday morning at Ravens Wood the U15Bs played against a physical looking outfit. This proved to be the case as Eltham defended resolutely for the majority of the opening exchanges. Some excellent tackling, discipline and no little skill at the breakdown allowed us to keep our line intact under increasing pressure. However, all that defending took its toll and as Eltham tired one of Ravens Woods’ strong ball carriers found a couple of weak shoulders on his way to the line. 12-0 down at half time.

The second half was largely played in the centre portion of the field with Eltham responding well to the requirements of the referee at the breakdown, and getting a foothold in the game. Despite conceding again the boys did not give up and a couple of barnstorming runs from Massimo Gillarduzzi gave encouragement before he eventually breached the defence and went over for a wonderful solo effort. The comeback was on… some lovely options chosen by Theo Austin at 10 and brilliant organisation from Charlie Thompson at hooker, as well as putting his body on the line, brought some belief, although it wasn’t to be. The teams exchanged further scores before the end of the match with Ravens Wood taking the spoils on this occasion.

U14A

The U14A match was a hard fought encounter between two teams eager to make each other work hard for their rewards. Our performance was especially pleasing considering we were coming off the back of our worst loss of the season against Chis & Sid in the Kent Cup game before half term.

Against Ravens Wood (a much better outfit) we made them work for their tries and forced their skill by putting them under consistent pressure. Considering this was the focus for the week we were exceptionally proud of how we changed the way we played. Special mention must go to Lucas Carey who slotted seamlessly into scrum half a few minutes before the game and was able to provide our backs with good ball, Ethan Chaplin for his enthusiasm around the break down and his stellar coachability, Ben Adamson for his barnstorming runs and much improved tackling, and Will Stone for his speed of reaction to loose balls alongside his silent but deadly work ethic.

Score 24 – 5 Loss

U14B

The U14Bs staged a spited comeback but fell short losing to Ravenswood 31-5. The game immediately became an uphill struggle after conceding two soft tries at the start, however team spirit was evident in clawing our way back into the game during the first half, where a lot of rugby was played inside the oppositions 22′. Special mention goes to Dylan H, who as substitute worked out the counter-strategy to the opposition and communicated it clearly to the team: Ravenswood had strong runners in the middle that allowed the recycling of phases close to their dominant forward pack. Dylan pointed out that spinning the ball wide, creating the rucks further away from the previous play would allow our more mobile forward pack to have an advantage. As a result, Eltham got back into the game very quickly, and with the score at 19-5 and all the territory and possession, the team were smelling a comeback. This was not to be however, as more basic errors cost the team the chance to put their stamp on the game. A loss that will hurt, as the scoreline paints a different picture to the quality of rugby played by the team; the lesson being that focus needs to be maintained throughout the game. There are a lot of positives to take away, especially the fearsome tackling of Marko M at full-back and the control in the middle of the park exerted by Rafa K. The team will be looking forward to next week’s fixture, with the knowledge that a great performance is just a few minor adjustments away.

U13B

The U13B team travelled to Ravens Wood. While the boys were expecting an attritional game, their confidence was elevated due to the return of many players from injury.

Ravens Wood scored an early try after occupying some propitious field position for the first 10 minutes of the match. Eltham wasted little time in levelling the game through a try in the corner from Jarvis. Charlie ensured Eltham took the lead with a scintillating run all the way from our 22 to the opposition try line. Prior to half time, Ravens Wood levelled the match, albeit against the run of play.

In the second half, Eltham played their best Rugby of the season: Charlie continued his purple patch by making it five tries from two games after being promoted to the B team; Alex went over under the posts; and Joshua made the Eltham win a certainly with a try right at the conclusion of the match.

There were strong performances from Oliver, who controlled the game well and was brave in contact; Bleddyn, who was bellicose in defence; and Joshua, who frequently gave Eltham the requisite momentum from which to attack. Two players, stood at the apex of this team performance. Alex Bush was central to everything the team did well, his deft hands, hard running lines and kicks out of hand were indispensable to our victory. Charlie Shaw also deserves untrammelled commendation for his illusive running and unrelenting intensity.

Final score 25-15 Win