Taking the U12 rugby team is a mixed blessing. On the one hand there is the excitement of introducing boys to the wonderful game of rugby whilst on the other hand is the frustration of picking a team from boys who have never played before. However, every Wednesday after School we had 40 boys keen to learn new techniques and while we had the light, play well contested games.
Our first game was always famously against PGS but this year Bishop Wordsworth School in Salisbury were the first opponents to face us. It turned out to be a cruel awakening as the principles of tackling and ambition with the ball seemed to elude us. It was, however, a foundation to build on.
There were some boys who had played before and their experience was the backbone of our attack. The pack was strong, especially Ryall, and allowed us to get quick ball to Lock. The back line was certainly ambitious with Webb feeding well to get the ball to our wingers and note must be made here of Crawford - speed and strength made him a regular try scorer.
Local opponents Perrins school allowed us to play two teams and both matches were superb to watch. The rugby was excellent with the Bs showing flair and ambition in a convincing win. The A team made rather hard work of their win but showed determination to hold the lead. The season continued in much the same vein with our opponents winning simply because we wouldn’t tackle and therefore let them score!
One of the season’s highlights was a local derby between the U12 and the U13. Played on the main school pitches, the U12 showed what spirit and grit they possessed. At half-time the score was not going our way and, although distinctly shell shocked, everyone wanted to contest the second half. It was a real celebration of Lower School rugby and definitely one to file under ‘character building!’
An away visit to Magdalen College saw the A and B team play in a sublime landscape but the well drilled home teams gave both teams a bloody nose and sent us packing away from the dreaming spires. However, amidst the gloom the most important point is that 40 smashing boys turned out each week to play and learn about the game of rugby. I hope that many of them will start to play for local rugby clubs and that will give them more experience and ultimately confidence that will benefit their game and that in the years to come they will look back fondly at their U12 careers!
A big thank you must go to Mr Memory and his team who lent their wisdom and experience as well as Mr Lander who helped coach and refereed. Sam Hill-Cousins led with assurance all season but my thanks are genuinely to all who put on the KES shirt and their parents who supported us.