This week the U11Bs were at home against a Hazelwood team that have the luxury of picking from far greater numbers. You would not have known it as Copthorne started where they left off last week with a well organised defence and some hard tackling. It was a very even match throughout but we had the lion’s share of possession in the first half. Adam ran hard and always made ground, Finley again showed his pace as did Lucas. Everything Rio did was well executed and Thomas was the heartbeat of the team, exactly what you want from a captain. Ben also ran and tackled well and Hamish put in try saving tackles for the second week running. Rian was again impressive with the ball in hand and difficult to stop while Ronnie always beat at least two tacklers even when there was no space for him to move. Tom also worked hard and made ground when in possession. After multiple phases of play, it was Ronnie who eventually forced his way over and grounded the ball despite three tacklers trying to prevent him doing so. This gave us a half-time lead of 1-0.
Early in the second half, Thomas made it 2-0 but the steady stream of possession that we had been enjoying was now drying up. Hazelwood enjoyed much more of the ball after the break and eventually worked their way up the field to score. They were now fully back in the game and only Thomas’ relentless tackling kept them out. Adam also pinned back the opposition by working very hard in defence and after an excellent counter-ruck we regained the ball which was fed to Lucas who accelerated through a gap and ran in a try from inside his own half to make the score 3-1. Hazelwood did not give up though and we simply could not get the ball back at this point. Again, after phase after phase, they worked right up to our line and then ran in a well worked try to take the score to 3-2 with only seconds remaining. On receiving the re-start, we knocked the ball on which was regathered by Hazelwood who very soon were attacking our line again and it took desperate tackle after desperate tackle to keep them out. Eventually, Rio and Rian together managed to force a knock-on which produced the final whistle.
A final score of 3-2 was well deserved and the boys should be very proud of their efforts.
Man of the match must go to Thomas for a Herculean performance in defence as well as a crucial try. I set him the target of 30 tackles and I am certain he exceeded it! Well done all.