Report by Stuart Powell
The BARFC Under 15’s squad has just returned from a successful tour to Barnstable and the South West Festival of Rugby where they returned home after winning the ‘Trophy’ Final.
In the Under 15’s section there were two groups of 6 teams. The Bridgy boys were in Group 1 along with Pontypridd, Esher, Brighton 2nd’s, Moseley and Abertillary.
Each Group game was 10 minutes each way, with no conversions, only points for try’s awarded.
Brighton 2nd’s 10-5 Bridgwater & Albion
Try: Jack James-Powell
Very even game between two well matched sides. Brighton had some good line speed and scored the first try after a slow start from Albion. After some good pressure, Bridgwater got back into the game and levelled but almost from the re-start Brighton broke to take the lead again. Despite finishing the game the stronger, we couldn’t find a try to square the match.
Moseley 10-0 Bridgwater & Albion
Despite spending 80% of the match camped in their half, Moseley had 2 breaks, one in each half, and secured the win. They were a big side, with some big hits going in and we were very unlucky.
Pontypridd 20-0 Bridgwater & Albion
Ponty came at us from the off and the pace & power of some of their plays was exceptional. They scored 2 early try’s and despite a bit of Bridgwater pressure, a bit of a lack of discipline from us eventually cost us the game. Great game to watch despite the loss, with some hard Rugby played.
Esher 5-5 Bridgwater & Albion
Try: Sam Bate
Another game in which we had plenty of pressure but just could not break through. Esher scored first and it looked like a 4th defeat but in one of the better plays of the day, we got back into it and with more time would have gone on to secure the win.
Abertillary 10-10 Bridgwater & Albion
Try’s: Brad Palmer x2
Last group game and with our fate already decided, a bit of pride was restored. Saturday had been a tough day, it was a bit of an unhappy camp at times, but this game was the start of things to come. We went behind early on, levelled, then fell behind again. It was looking like another defeat but then our luck changed as our kicking game took over and led to the equalizing try, a few minutes from the end.
With all Group games played, the Tournament then progressed into a Semi-Final’s stage. It split into 3 ‘Cups’. There was the Cup, The Challenge Cup and The Trophy. As we had finished 6th, we went into the Semi Final for The Trophy. This saw the sides that finished 5th & 6th in either group facing off respectively. The games were also 15 minutes each way this time around.
11.30am Trophy Semi-Final
Bridgwater & Albion 5-0 Barnstaple
Try: Declan Robinson
Bridgwater continued to pick up their form with a battling win over the hosts. It was a close game, mostly played in the middle of the park with plenty of scrums & rucks. We scored the only try of the game about 10 minutes in with Barnstaple struggling to deal with our pace. As the game neared full-time, they threw everything they had at us but our defence was superb with every player putting their body on the line, with some crunching tackles going in.
12.30pm Trophy Final
Bridgwater & Albion 15-5 Brighton 2nds
Try’s: Sam Bate x2, Jacob Nelson
So, we ended the Tour in the final against the side we’d played first. Many of us had thought an in-form Albion would have beaten Brighton the day before and thus proved to be the case. Nerves were on edge and you could sense the tension amongst the players & supporters. The game started cautiously, neither team wanting to give away an early advantage. Brighton registered first though, their centre causing us problems, before they went over between the posts. Albion responded superbly and again the kicking game that had been prominent all day, led to a try to raise hopes. At Half-Time, the match was tied. Albion began the second half on the front foot and pinned Brighton back. A succession of line-outs and attacking scrums failed to lead to anything & several times Brighton threatened to break. Eventually our pressure told with a break from the 22-yard line resulting with a score. Finger nails were being chewed by parents & coaches as Brighton piled forward. Once again though, some fine tackling and defensive work frustrated them and with the final play of the game, our number 8 ran half the length of the pitch to secure a memorable victory.
Every single player played their part and on Sunday the lads played some scintillating Rugby. They made us all proud but most of all they did it for themselves. They turned around a disappointing opening day and I had several people, including the RFU officials, comment on how fantastic some of our Rugby was.
The other winners in our age group were Esher (Challenge Cup Winners) and Pontypridd (Cup Winners) who were the overall winners.
And, for the record, Trefor was crying. Not the first tear shed over the course of the weekend though and knowing our lot, not the last!!