Rodillian Win the County Cup
Having battled their way through the knock out stages of the Yorkshire cup, and overcoming a tough game in the Semi’s for the second year on the bounce at Crossley Heath Grammar School, the U13’s finally found themselves again at the final stage! Their opposition, an unknown quantity in Hayfield School from the deep dark rugby strongholds of South Yorkshire. Surrounded by professional Championship club teams such as Doncaster Knights and Rotherham Titans, it was clear that they were not going to be an easy feat.
The team turned up in high spirits and smartly turned out in their flash new alternate Kit sponsored by “the uniform shop”, there was a good feeling amongst the squad, despite their illustrious leader Emperor Peach side-lined through an injury to his ankle, joined there by stalwart Fly Half Josh Lunn with a broken finger.
From the Kick off, the big Hayfield side took it straight to the heart of Rodillian, hitting their big centre up through the midfield, it was clear that Rodillian had a day of defending to do in order to retain the prize!
The first half continued in a similar manner with the Rodillian defence taking a pounding, first up tackles showing to be an issue and costing the Lofthouse side territory and eventually points. It was only through excellent defensive play at the “breakdown” on numerous occasions that kept Rodillian in the game with their sharp counter ruck, however, playing the territory game was proving difficult with the wind in their faces. Finally, Rodillian got their hands on the ball, and with minimal space out wide, they swung the ball out to Will Sheen who managed to blaze past his defender on the outside, tiptoeing with just a blade of grass between the touch line and his boot. Scoring under the posts the conversion was a sure thing for Shackleton the fullback.
Rodillian set up to receive the kick, Ollie Philips catching and running the return with interest, this was to be the beginning of an excellent set of 12 phases or more including monsterous carries by the Naughton twins, Smithson and Ryan Clarke all of which supported by the work horses in the pack, led by the never tiring Kabidi as they ensured possession and the ball was secured. The ball then found itself in the hands of the young maestro Shackleton who threaded a majestic grubber kick through for the speedster Sheen to gather and score his 2nd under the posts.
But there was plenty of drama to be had at the end of the first half with a try from each side in quick succession. Firstly the big Doncaster number 8 scored his team’s third converted try, closely followed by Sheen’s third, however the conversion was unsuccessful. With the score 21 – 19 in favour of the Doncaster side in the closing stages of the first half, Rodillian received a penalty in front of the sticks, the ever mature head of the captain Kabidi opted for the points, which Shackleton obliged, closing the half 22-21 with Rodillian in front.
Having tested the water, each side now had a good idea of their opposition’s strengths. Hayfield could tell they were never going to get around the Rodillian back line so it was clear they had cut their losses and decided to play 10 man rugby, picking and going and trying to rumble up the field avoiding at all costs presenting possession back to Rodillian. This worked for large periods of the second half, however only equating in territorial rewards, but inevitably the strong ground game of the Rodillian backrow would pay off enabling a turnover and Dylan Naughton being rewarded with a grisly run through the centres doting down under the posts, only to be closely followed up in the closing actions of the game by the other half of the Naughton duo, Sean, diving over the line, untouched after and picking blind from a scrum.
A very hard earned 34-21 victory for the Rodillian squad with special thanks to Kirkbright, Underwood, McGrath & Roberts who were unlucky not to get a run out on the day, but their inclusion on the day showing how far they have developed in their rugby throughout the year, an exciting prospect for coaches in the season to come.