For our first home fixture of the season we welcomed Cambridge U16's to the Tiny Curtis Rugby Ground. Cambridge arrived with 20+ players to fulfill this friendly fixture. Following some midweek conversations between coaches of both teams, we wanted to ensure that a competitive but balanced game could be played with only a bare 15 available from SWRFC. We agreed with each other and the excellent referee Gareth, that we would change numbers, player positions and/or conditions of the game, to allow for creativity and development opportunities for both sides and all players. We didn't need to interfere or affect any changes as after 15 minutes we had scored the first try of the game but also lost one of our players to a freak knee injury... The half became very even with us only having 14 players on the field and Cambridge still at full strength. No further scores at the end of the half kept it at SW (7) - Cambridge (0).
The second half started off the same as the first ended with good battle going on in the midfield, lots of territory exchanges but no scores until Cambridge broke the deadlock with a well worked try exploiting the overlap caused by us only having 14 players. The Conversion from the young Cambridge player was quite simply superb from the touchline. SW (7) - Cambridge (7). Cambridge then started to dominate in attack for the next 8 minutes, camping in our 22 with our defence holding strong until the edge was found again and they scored another 3 unanswered tries but with only one conversion. SW (7) - Cambridge (24).
Cambridge reduced their number to 14 following the last try to balance the game again. This allowed SW to start to reverse the pressure and build some field position and opportunities in the away teams 22. Some excellent rugby, patience and the absolute refusal to give up allowed SW over the line with 6 minutes left of the game. SW (12) - Cambridge (24). Every single SW player gave their all in this final 6 minutes, tackles were made, support lines run, decisions made, and on field problems solved. Unfortunately the young men couldn't get the extra two scores to level the game in the time remaining.
The loss will galvanise this group of lads, they will learn so much from the experience and with three training sessions before our next fixture we can iron out those tiny creases. Well done to the 15 lads that played their hearts out, pick yourselves up, and lets build off of this ready for our next game vs Bury St Edmunds on the 20th October.