The team went into the derby game against local rivals Colfes after a week of good training and big tension for the game on Saturday. The local derby began with a big crowd and lots of noise yet Colfe’s managed to score from their first phase of play. Heads didn’t drop and we maintained the energy to come back with a couple tries of our own. Colfe’s managed to get one back yet Eltham’s efficient and well-rehearsed set piece including 100% line-out and scrum retention and some steals, alongside some fluid back moves allowed us to pull away from Colfe’s. A hat-trick from OD including a cross-field kick from James B was one of the standout performances alongside a debut at flanker from Conrad where he worked tirelessly all game. The last try of the game, in the dying minutes with 8 passes down the line to the wing for James L to score, summed up the entire performance which turned out to be very convincing after the first few mishaps in the opening minutes. The final score was 47-12 and the team will be looking to build on this for the St Joseph College Rugby Festival next week.
It was geared up to be the biggest game of the season. A derby for all to behold. Armour shined, swords sharpened, and battle commenced. The game/battle was a tough physical encounter, but Eltham shone through with some touches of class and brilliance throughout. Some superb handling put Eltham in some strong positions during the game with Oli E being the driver of this well-oiled roaring machine. Guiliano was at the forefront of the battle and provided plenty of hard work to keep the wheels rolling. Despite adversity the boys defended their line heroically and didn’t give away an inch. A proud moment for this special group, going in to a massive week with two cup games ahead of them.
On a damp morning the U15s all arrived in a motivated mood. Without being asked to do so they began a handling warm up with accuracy and enjoyment. As we split in to our respective groups it became apparent that the B team may have to think outside of the box in terms of personnel, the As having called a number of our regulars up through a combination of deserved promotion and injury cover. This meant a number of players having to play positions they were perhaps unaccustomed to, a challenge that none shied away from. The match itself got off to a strong start, with a strong team ethic clearly evident. In the soggy conditions handling was superb and the way we looked after the it in the contact situation much improved from previous encounters, with excellent presentation at rucks allowing for quick ball and our power runners to get us on the front foot. Alex excelled in the contact, turning the ball over numerous times and proving a constant menace to the Colfe’s attackers. The control and communication from Uriel at scrum half ensured all knew what was happening and although we threatened to let the game slip, through ill discipline just before half time, we held ourselves together with three further tries in the second half to run out comfortable winners. The team spirit was no more evident than when Josh scored in the second half, having only recently started playing rugby, and the entire team rushed to celebrate with him.
On a weekend where there is much discussion of the mental fortitude and endeavour surrounding Eluid Kipchoge’s mammoth sub-2 hour run. Eltham U14A side were reminded in their own performance that successes are a result of fundamental preparation and practice behind the scenes.
After initially going a try down in the first five minutes, Eltham responded with an increased focus and uplifted intensity. Just when Eltham thought they had responded with a score of their own, celebrations were cut short after Matthew C was found to have stepped into touch. Shortly after the resulting lineout, Eltham were able to turn the ball over and highlight their ball retention abilities which culminated with Matthew C bundling over in what was this time an undeniable try. The second half kicked off and Eltham were full of confidence. Stampeding runs by Nikita T, Hector S, Zeka E and Ben A put the team on the front foot with the dog work of securing possession being effectively orchestrated by Oisin C. Tom R, Will S and Adem C who were exemplary in the loose; making several effective carries, clearing ferociously at rucks and committing whole-heartedly to tackles. This was contrasted with the silky passes of Joe D and Archie Q who (along with our other subs) made a noticeable difference when they came on. Today was a day where everyone contributed to the success of the team and played for each other.
Congratulations must go to the boy’s who have stayed motivated throughout this half term. Our improving performances have been hidden by unflattering score lines, and though winning certainly isn’t everything, it is something. On this occasion it is something which we should be exceptionally proud of.
The U14Bs really came together as a team, scoring in the opening minutes of the match that saw them assert dominance over Colfe’s from the outset. The aim was to have a stronger start to the game, and the “Es” responded to the call. Strong running and unselfish passing saw the ball spread wide with lots of defenders sucked into contact, creating space to exploit. Impressively, each team member stuck to the game plan and performed their role, illustrating how much of a difference playing as a team makes. Tries were scored by forwards, with Lucas FK and Ezana B crossing the line, as well as by backs, including Alex P and Oles C scoring a breakaway try at the end. The constant pressure, concentration and solid defending tightened the screw on the opposition. It was a pleasure to see new faces in the team, with varying experience of the game, all of whom made a terrific contribution, making it more difficult than ever to get into the squad. Special mention must go to Dhruv M, who executed an inch – perfect tackle on Colfe’s strongest runner. The final score of 51-17 was a fair reflection of the dominance the “Es” held during the match, and builds confidence going into the second half of term.
The U13A’s produced a resounding victory against Colfe’s as they ran in 10 tries playing away from home. An early break by Cam put the Eltham boys ahead and then Xavier doubled the lead from close range. Kola was in imperious form and scored 2 tries either side of the half time break. Eltham weathered a brief storm from Colfe’s after half time before pressing home the win with three more impressive scores to win 50-15.
The U13B team travelled to Colfe’s having not played a competitive fixture since early September. Unlike our two previous outings, Eltham showed no signs of maladroitness, starting the match with marked intensity and scoring two early tries through Dunming and Akhil. Oscar and Ed added ten more points before Eltham conceded an interception try. Notwithstanding this minor setback, Charlie S twice took advantage of some marvellous breaks from Thevyan and ensured Eltham went into half-time at 30 points to 5.
In the second half, Eltham scored 35 unanswered points. Josh L and Jarvis claimed a try each after coming on as substitutes; Oscar and Ed both added to their tallies to finish the game with braces; and Wilf — in his first appearance for the U13Bs — scored a second half hat-trick.
Every player in the team played a part in this victory; all should be duly extolled. Picking two standout players was an arduous task but after much deliberation, special mentions ought to go to Oscar, who showed true leadership in his offensive and defensive play, and Wilf, whose ball carrying and physicality was integral to Eltham’s victory.