Guernsey 0-5 Jersey Whites
Guernsey 0-15 Trojans
Guernsey 0-10 Jersey Pumas
Guernsey 5-5 Jersey Blues (Peter Curtis)
Guernsey 15-0 Marlow 2 (Noah Whitmore 2 and Jacob Carr)
Guernsey 0–5 Marlow 1
|A quote you wouldn’t mind going into print
|The boys had a fantastic weekend thanks in no small part to the Jersey Rugby Academy’s tremendous hospitality, our new friends from Marlow and Trojans and a fun filled weekend. Special thanks must go to Royal Bank of Canada for sponsoring our trip to the Zoo. So much fun was had by all that both Marlow and Trojans are in the process of organising another trip next year.|
Another weekend and another Rugby Festival for the Guernsey Under 11s to enjoy. This time we gathered at the Ferry Terminal for our short trip across the Manche to Jersey where we were taken up to the Rugby Club for some training. When we arrived we met with Nicky Le Bihan and were shown to our changing room. Once changed we were out on the field where we met Trojans, their travelling coaches as well as about 40 Jersey players and coaches. A quick huddle and we decided we would set up a mini tournament splitting up all the teams into 6 squads who wore different coloured bibs. Each coach would be given a team. Some Coaches were a little nervous about this as each team was a mix of boys but it became very apparent from the first whistle that this was an experiment that was going to work. Very soon all the boys were chatting to one another off the pitch and communicating on the field of play. The teams were then split into two groups of three and played each other for 10 minutes each way. 2 points were awarded for a win, a point for a draw and none for a loss. And then we held finals with the 1st second and third in each group playing off against each other.
Coaches were quickly in discussion about how good the set up was and complimenting Jason and me on our lads and the standard of play from the boys. I was also taken aback by the attitude of all of the other boys in putting aside any rivalry to work as a team. There was not one shred of evidence of favouritism between normal team mates and instead the watching coaches and supporters were treated to some fantastic team rugby. It was difficult to single any of our boys out for special mention because they all played well but I think Philip Le Noury caught the eye with his barn storming work in the centre and Cody Simms was a nugget, tackling everything that moved and crashing his way through defences like a wrecking ball.
After the games it was back on the coach and off to the Merton and a quick change into bathers for a swim in the Aqua dome. After all of this activity it was no wonder the boys were hungry so it was down to the dining room where we met Marlow and their travelling support. Nicky and her husband Paul joined us for a meal and we soon realised it was difficult to control hungry boys so we made a decision to allow them to eat what they wanted from the buffet. As the adults were finishing their starters some of the boys were on thirds!! I think the record food intake to weight ratio was smashed by Kieran Creber. Has the boy got hollow legs? Where could all that food possibly go? Our incredulity was to be surpassed when it came to the pudding selection. A plate full of Gateau, Profiteroles and Jelly with a Cheesecake on top took the prize. It all disappeared and I am frankly staggered that some of the boys did not explode!!
Following dinner we needed to settle them down. We did this successfully however the band sparked into life under our rooms. The first number from the Blues Brothers sounded so good I was almost tempted to wake the boys and gate crash the private function but I am sure this would not have been too popular.
Morning arrived and it was up for Breakfast. The boys again did their best to keep the chefs busy filling up the bacon and eggs trays at the buffet (or should that be trough!!). The fruit juices also took a hammering. Fortunately our transport arrived and so following room inspection we were off for the Festival. The boys were changed and ready to go on the main pitch. First up were Jersey Whites. Jersey quickly scored possibly taking advantage of sluggish boys following that breakfast but this woke the team up. Our Pack was totally dominant in all areas of the game and it was great Jersey last ditched defence that prevented a Guernsey score. Noah Whitmore looked dangerous with ball in hand and Peter Curtis has a good game but unfortunately the score remained 1 try to nil.
Guernsey were immediately out onto the pitch again with all of the substitutes onto face Trojans. The Trojans team had a scrum half of real quality as well as a pair of gifted and balanced centres who cut through the Guernsey defence for 3 quick unanswered trys in the first half. To use a quote from the late great Bill Maclaren “those Centres were as devious as a bag of Weasels”. The Guernsey heads were down and this was the only occasion throughout the day that the pack looked under pressure. Whatever the reason we needed to pick the team up so a stern pep talk at half time to remind the boys why they wear the shirt seemed to spark them into life. The second half was very much more even and the pack came back to life. No further trys were conceded and Guernsey started to look dangerous in attack. Unfortunately again we did not score so lost 3-0
We had a rest before the next game, the Jersey Pumas, considered their first team. Guernsey kicked off straight into the arms of the Jersey inside centre who cut, jinked and danced his way through the Guernsey defence to score. To their credit Guernsey heads did not go down and the pack once again showed some dominance in the set pieces as well as the maul and ruck. From one well worked ruck Charlie Williams broke free and passed to Peter Curtis who drew the last man and passed to the supporting Matthew Holland. With the try line at his mercy Matthews’s knee knocked the ball from his grasp when catching the ball and the chance went. In the second half Noah Whitmore was everywhere taking the ball into contact and recycling the ball for further attack, he tackled with ferocity as did Philip and Cody. From a turnover following another cruncher from Philip and rucking from Noah, Rowan Fitton charged onto a pass from Cameron Riou and took off like a demented Giraffe. The pack then drove Rowan over the line but he could not ground the ball thanks to some desperate Jersey defence. From the last play of the game and from a turnover the ball was recycled to the Jersey backs and despite the best efforts of Morgan Davis who put in a great tackle the ball was off loaded for a score. The scoreline of 2-0 did not reflect how well Guernsey played.
Next up came Jersey Blues. Guernsey were desperate to score and from early on the pack established the bridgehead for Lewis Bentley to release Charlie Williams who straightened the line and passed to Peter Curtis who scorched over from 25 yards with a turn of real pace. Jersey, as ever did not let the disappointment of going a try down and levelled through some excellent team work. James Gill was prominent with some super line breaks and Nathan Domaille, Sam Clarke and Kieran Creber protected the back line with real gusto but despite their best efforts the score remained 1-1.
Another quick turn around and it was Marlow B. The opposition looked well organised and were clearly coached in running and passing rugby. There was a noticeable size difference however and Noah took full advantage. The pack kept winning ball at the scrums and from the resulting breaks from Harry Jones and Liam Seally who punched holes in the defence then releasing Noah who was unstoppable with the smaller Marlow players bouncing off him as he burst through for two trys. In between this was a great piece of skill from Jacob Carr who had an excellent game, throwing a dummy pass and charging through the resulting gap for a sprint from halfway to score in the corner. Despite this Marlow B kept playing their attractive Rugby to the end but could not breach the Guernsey defence and Morgan Camp put in a try saving tackle at the end of the game to keep the score at 3-0
The boys were tiring by now but 1 final game awaited against Marlow A. Judging by the way Marlow B had played and by the size of the A team we knew it was going to be tough but to their credit the boys stuck to their tasks admirably. Peter Curtis was everywhere in defence and Charlie Williams put in a sterling shift in the centres replacing the injured Philip as did Morgan Camp when Peter had to come off winded having landed on the ball putting in super covering tackle. Thomas Bray also came on the pitch following an injury to James Gill and following the pep talk about wearing the shirt with pride hit the first scrum with a real purpose that was pleasing to see. The game was evenly poised when Marlow A produced the try of the Tournament with a set move. The Fly Half dummied a pass to the Outside Centre and switched with the Inside Centre who burst through the heart of the defence leaving the Guernsey players static and looking at shadows. It was a delight to watch and one we are going to be working on in future. The final whistle blew on an excellent tournament which Guernsey finished runners up to Trojans, Pumas and Marlow A. The after tournament food was gratefully scoffed by our Under 11 foodies and the entertainment provided by the visiting teams with some traditional (but cleanish) Rugby songs had them in stitches. I think I am going to have to dig some song sheets out for our next trip.
We were all then bussed to Jersey Zoo and were kindly sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada for this trip. The boys made plenty of new friends and in particular in the Apes, Orangutans and Gibbon enclosures!!! The trip home on the bus and boat was interrupted by regular foul odour drifting through the atmosphere. I can understand why by the amount of grub they all scoffed. The offenders know who they are and we should apologise to the bus driver as well as the coaches for subjecting us to this horror.
The weekend was a fantastic success and we are so grateful to Nicky and her team as well as Jersey Rugby Academy for making this such an enjoyable weekend.