U11 v Cwmbran (Away) 03 Feb 2013

10-40 Loss

After the heavy home defeat of the previous week against Cwmbran, Monmouth Bears travelled for the return fixture, again with a slightly depleted squad, this time bolstered with three under 10s players eager to impress. The question was would the Bears be able to learn from the lessons of the previous weekend, with real focus and concentration needed at the breakdown area?

The question was largely answered within the first 20 seconds – the Bears fielded the kick-off, took the ball into contact where it was promptly snaffled by the opposition, recycled and spun out quickly for the hosts to easily touch down in the corner. An almost carbon copy occurred at the resultant kick-off – two tries down with barely two minutes on the clock and the Bears knew they were up against it once again. Time and again the Bears could not retain possession, at the same time failing to compete when the opposition had the ball. This made life easy for the hosts who were able to score regularly at will, benefiting also from some “Mr Tickle” attempts at tackling.

Half-time arrived with the Bears, bewildered, battered and short on confidence, seven unanswered tries down. Despite the one-sided nature of the game, some individuals kept battling away and the three debutants Robbie Nixon, Ollie Scriven and Angus Whitehead did not seem to be over-awed with the step-up. To be fair, they were getting little from the home referee, just what you don’t need against first- class opponents – enough said on the matter.

The second-half was another story – suddenly the Bears sprang into life and started to compete, playing now to restore some pride. At last they enjoyed valuable territory and possession and it wasn’t long before powerful running from Roderick Ho saw him score a superb try in the corner. The hosts hit back with their only score of the second period before debutant Ollie capped off a fine move for the Bears, to confidently power over the line to score a memorable try. The Bears continued to be much the stronger team until the final whistle, but had left themselves with far too much to recover after the disastrous first period – a real game of two halves, akin to the previous day’s exploits by the Welsh against the Irish – the Bears thus find themselves in good company!

Despite the heavy loss, the Bears can take many positives from the game – three under 10s players stepped up to make up the numbers; players had to fill unfamiliar positions; they battled to the end and “won” the second-half; they accepted every decision from the referee without question even though they received no favours from him, which showed exemplary discipline. Where the Bears fell short in the game can be rectified with some valuable coaching, but one thing that needs no improvement is their collective spirit.

The coaches presented the Player of the Week award to U10 try-scoring debutant Ollie Scriven – a fine effort by him, Robbie and Angus – thanks again for your help.

Final Score: Cwmbran 40 – 10 Monmouth

Tries: Roderick Ho, Ollie Scriven

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