14 Mar '22

Bideford U10s Take Stock

Slee’s Cherry & White Army made probably what is our longest and highest trip as we travelled to Tavistock Base Camp on what was a very brisk morning on the edge of the moor.
Again, good numbers for both sides allowed two matches to be played.

The players prepared themselves after a long trip in the changing rooms after being handed the cherry and white tops preparing to go into battle. The sound of studs tapping on the changing room floor were drowned out by debutant Tom Huxtables teeth chattering, it was unknown if this was due to the Tavistock weather climate or that his dad fitted him a new set of veeners.

Bideford stepped onto the pitch against a large Tavistock side. From the start Bideford crashed the ball up through Jacob who made some great ground, Tavistock made the break down difficult quickly driving over the ruck and getting hands on ball. Bideford adapted well to this with Jacob returning the favour winning valuable ball which was passed out from Oli Jackson to William Slee at speed who fed Oliver Bloodworth who was able to cut through the Tavistock defence scoring some superb tries. Will Harris displayed a defensive masterclass smashing the Tavistock players backwards causing them to fumble the ball, resulting in Alice Palmer picking up lose ball feeding it out to Cole White to make valuable yards. Will Slee jinked his way through throwing an outrageous dummy and rounding the last line of defence for an impressive solo try.
With Tavistock heads lowering Bideford continued to press and dominate. Jacob and Alice continued to impress crashing the ball up in attack and winning the ball back at the breakdown. Oliver Jackson who played at 9 had an impressive game getting his hands on the ball whilst the the Tavistock hands were trying to retrieve it and got some good balls going out to Will Slee to run the game. Will Slee played a great game in both attack and defence making some impressive tackles, scoring some well worked tries and combining with the ever impressive Oliver Bloodworth who was cutting through the defence like a hot knife through butter. Cole White was his usual poaching self, stealing ball from the floor and completing some impressive runs at pace. The debutant Tom Huxtable who was dressed in extra layers by his dad Barrie in the middle of the pitch during the game, enjoyed his first game winning ball on the ground and supported players on the break. Will Harris who some believe is half Elon Musk robot and half Claire Harris tackled hard and ran in some great tries at speed.
The determination and structure the team showed through out the game was pleasing on the eye.

On the other pitch, Henry Morris returned to the squad after a weeks training camp at sunny Minehead, hoping to show the week off had no adverse effects. Gaffer Slee opted to field the newly formed boy band trio, ‘Take Jack’ in the same side for consecutive weeks. The side started really strongly, and despite losing the toss, we tackled really well against some strong Tavistock runners. Some really gritty work at the break down from Albert, who had a cracking morning, supported by Jack M disrupted the Tavy flow and got us some ball. This allowed Jack Hastings and Freddy to make the hard yards up front and when the space was on, Matthew and Henry to go off on their jinky runs.
Jack M started at fly half and was able to to get the team going through the phases. He was supported by Taylor who had another sharp running and passing display at 9.
As time went on, you could argue the altitude was taking its toll and the gaps started appearing for the Tavy runners to exploit. Henry Morris was having none of it and the sugar rush from the lemon sherbets he found in Uncle Jamie’s golf bag kicked in, allowing him to make some top last ditch tackles (nothing like Uncle Jamie!)
Taylor also put in a cracking cover tackle, although some would say the lack of WiFi at Tavy saved him from a VAR review for a no arms shot.
As we rolled through the subs, Josh stepped in at 10, and put in another strong running and passing display, and was technically very concise at ruck time. As a reward, Dad Selwyn promised him a night on the moor moving granite rocks for a bit of fun.
Freddy was hitting the rucks with some gusto and put some real effort in chasing down the tackle.
The side lost Jack H to a failed HIA. Luckily his developing mullet softened the blow, affording protection to the brain cell meaning he’ll be good for a return next week.
Not wishing to single anyone out, but this was the day the ‘Beast of Dartmoor’ rose. Jack Lynd was a monster all morning. Strong in the tackle and ruck, and carried with real menace earned him some serious points in the Opta Index charts.
Matthew almost scored what looked odds on to be try of the morning – after forcing the turnover, the ball went through the hands and eventually found Matthew deep inside our own half. Off he went, nobody could touch him, the line opened up, there wasn’t a defender in sight. The crowd were already celebrating as Matthew sprinted down the slope, with nothing more than a blade of grass between him and scoring, some people were on the pitch – they think it’s all over……..at which point I can only assume Matthew’s interior compass was hindered by the granite and he changed his line by 90 degrees allowing their defence to haul him down.

However, the team regrouped deep in to added time, scored with the final play. This was just reward for a fantastic effort by all, where we dominated territory & possession, and played with real structure. Tavy were a big side with some really good runners and it was nice to play in a match where we don’t get it all our own way, so training will see us working on the tackle and ruck just to tidy up these areas.

Well done all, and thanks to the grown ups for your continued support!

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