Lancashire RFU U13 Waterfall fixture away at Aldwinians
By Christopher Barraclough
A bruising encounter
The U13s travelled down the M66 to visit Aldwinians on a clear crisp morning.
The boys from both teams started the day with great maturity by observing the 2 minute silence in an exemplary fashion.
Aldwinians are the strongest and certainly the biggest team we have come across so far, and it speaks volumes for how the Clitheroe squad is developing that they were not phased and stuck to their task admirably. I asked the boys, before kick off, for aggression, enjoyment and endeavour and I truly believe they delivered on all three fronts. Unlike previous weeks, they were focussed from minute 1 to the end and stuck to their game.
Aldwinians were big and very aggressive and yet our boys never allowed themselves to be bullied out of the game. On the odd occasion, when they remembered to tackle around legs (usually proceeded by a cacophony of "LEGS!" calls from the touchline ;7)), they did indeed manage to stop the bigger boys. Star tackler today was undoubtedly Pimbley - a lesson for all that technique and going low really does pay off.
I truly believe that our boys should take a lot away from today. We have to learn to play with a bit more grit and gristle; a bit more bite and aggression. As they go through the age grades the aggression on the field only increases and not only do they need to learn to deal with it - they actually need to learn to give a bit back. You have to play the game you're in - not the one you think you should be playing in.
Truth be known, they all need a bit of Reece and a bit of Aspin about them!!!
For me, the real plus points today was a much more apparent structure to the team - especially the defensive line, which at times was exemplary. In attack, we supported better, which resulted in much more breakdown ball being secured. The front 5 players - Best, Downham, Greenwood, Havard, Barraclough and Burnop actually rucked and ripped more ball than one would expect against such an opposition. Great attacking runs from amongst others Ali, Barraclough and Downham were encouraging and of course we had to have one Parker moment - a great try taking a deep catch at kick off and returning it the length of the field and passed all the other 25 players on the pitch.
Well done boys - you won't come across tougher opposition than that this season, but if we play other games the way we played today, we will certainly score more points and win more games.