Derby day was here and with it came a slight change in rules. Cottesmore had not been practicing contested scrums in their 3 weeks of Games sessions so we had to concede the ball on the opposition put in. There was also a no kicking rule, which suited us as we like to play a running game and a shortened game time of 15 minutes a half.

It was clear from the first kick off that we were going to go on to dominate the game and it wasn’t long before Shams took a short ball to crash over for the first score. We were building our attacks patiently and next it was Luke who found space to cross the line for 2-0. Archie was next to join the party; again from some steady phase play we worked our field position well to score in the corner. Some rather lacklustre tackling allowed Luke to wriggle free and cross for his second of the game and it was Shams again who barged through to finish the first half scoring at 5 tries to nil. The try scorers always pull the headline but as a collective we did not give Cottesmore any time to settle. It was the defensive display in the first 15 minutes that I was more impressed with. At times we could and should have moved the ball wider, earlier but it is difficult to get that in to your head when gaps appear in front of you.

The subs carried on being rotated and still we kept Cottesmore feeding on scraps. Our counter rucking was brilliant but we must now be quicker to get the ball from the ruck once it has been won. Shams completed his hat trick, again from close range but then the game became a little scrappy. Lots of loose balls and handling the ball on the floor made it difficult to control but the boys stuck at it and remained disciplined. Nicholas stepped his way to the try line for our 7th score of the game and then it was an opportunist try for Christopher, who found himself in the right place at the right time. The ball was lost in the tackle and it somehow landed in Christopher’s hands and he had the easiest of walkovers. An 8 try winning margin is often used as the benchmark figure to call time on a game and the Cottesmore ref blew for full time with the score settled at 8-0 to Copthorne.

It is easy to get excited when the team is playing well and scoring tries but we must remain grounded as there are far more tricky fixtures yet to come. Well done to the 11 boys involved this week, but remember, there is always room to improve and other players wanting your shirt!

MA