U11 v Ledbury (Away) 28 Oct 2012

50-5 Win

Still on “cloud nine” after their excellent performance the previous weekend against older opponents, Monmouth Bears made the away trip for the first ever time to Ledbury, for what would be their first challenge of the season of playing to the different English rules. The hosts were chomping at the bit, somehow not yet having played a competitive match so far this season – the question was: would the Bears, playing their tenth match of the season, be too strong for a team so far confined to the training field? Read on….

The match, split over four ten-minute periods, began with both teams “sparring” with nobody quite able to make the early breakthrough on a very narrow pitch – the Bears’ natural expansive game was severely curtailed initially, on possibly the smallest pitch they’ll ever play on. Despite the narrow strip, the Bears spread the ball out as much as possible and were also more than competitive at the breakdown. Much of the first period was played in the hosts’ half, so it was no surprise when centre Roderick Ho finally opened the scoring out wide, for the only try of the first period.

The second quarter saw the game explode into life, with the Bears taking firm control of matters. Full-back Raphael Kefalas entered the attacking line to rampage through desperate tackles to touch-down for two consecutive tries and the returning Alastair McIntosh also opened his account for the day in similar style. The Bears were now in charge, making their tackles count and winning all the battles up-front. Half-time arrived with the Bears comfortably 20 – 0 ahead.

The third quarter saw the Bears really put the hosts to the sword – Alastair quickly doubled his tally for the day with another robust run to cross the white-wash. On the re-start, Will Ruck caught the hosts’ drop-kick and promptly ran practically the length of the pitch untouched, as the home defence parted like the Red Sea, not wishing to try to bring the big man down. Breakdowns close to the opponents’ try-line provided opportunities for the forwards to take control – Flynn Ruddiforth snaffled the ball on two occasions to crash over from close quarters, to score his first ever tries in his first season of rugby – well done Flynn!

With the result in no doubt, the Bears dozed off briefly to allow the hosts to open their account early-on in the final period – many missed tackles allowed a fine run from their outside-half to score from far-out, to the delight of the home supporters. The disappointment of not keeping a clean sheet seemed to galvanize the Bears – outside-half Ben Pilot did a “show and go” to crash over from close range and then up stepped Josh Lewis with a trademark try, weaving through to score the final points of the day.

10 tries scored, shared amongst seven players – a real team performance. This was a great display from the Bears, stepping-up so well to their first challenge of playing to English rules. Once again, so many boys were at the top of their game, but an outstanding performance from one player made the decision of the coaches very easy when it came to choose their “Player of the Week.” Scrum-half Ieuan Rose, “Mr.Consistent” in every game this season, tackled, distributed and rucked magnificently to pick up the award – a superb effort from Ieuan and all the Bears!

Final Score: Ledbury 5 – 50 Monmouth

Tries: Alastair McIntosh (2), Raphael Kefalas (2), Flynn Ruddiforth (2), Will Ruck, Ben Pilot, Roderick Ho, Josh Lewis

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