Blackheath Festival 14th October 2018
By John Gildersleeve
Crash, bang, wallop in the rain
The U10’s continued their travels this week with the delights of the Blackheath festival held at Avery Park within the University of Greenwich campus. Chapeau to the organisers of this vast event for securing parking within the University campus where we had eighteen teams from a number of contact age groups competing against each other.
This was the U10’s third consecutive tournament in a three-week period and it was testimony to the strength in depth of the squad that they produced the overall performance that they did.
Our first game was against Medway 1 which saw one of our coaches Jason Innes gently encouraging our squad onto the high ground after he spotted a downhill incline on the pitch in our favour. The pitch was given the name of Ellis Park for the tournament and to an extent was the size of its South African equivalent. Our squad exploited this advantage from the off storming down the incline of the pitch and quickly took an early lead. This free scoring continued with Brodie scoring an impressive hat trick leaving Medway 1 feeling shell shocked at halftime. The squad continued to exploit the width of the pitch passing and tackling with a previously unseen ferocity. The final score was 6-1 to Edenbridge with Medway 1 being granted a late sympathy consolation try by the referee to restore some semblance of self-confidence.
The second game and indeed the remainder of our games was on a pitch named Sandy Park stadium for the day but was no relation to its Exeter counterpart. The opposition for the 2nd match was Blackheath 2. The game itself was a huge step up in physicality for our young players, Spartan in nature with no mercy sought or given with crunching tackles on both sides. Our players were put under intense early pressure by Blackheath until they came into their own driving the South Londoners down the pitch into their own half. The game was settled late in the first half when a wide ball saw debutant Thomas fly down the wing to score the games only try. The game played out a brutal stalemate in the second half with both sides incredibly well matched and Edenbridge the victors.
Unfortunately, this match took its toll on the team and saw the remaining matches lost versus Tunbridge Wells 1 (1-2) and Old Colfeians 2 (1-3) respectively. The scores however do not reflect the effort of hard tackling and ground made by our team.
In conclusion the tournament was certainly one of two halves with two wins and two close losses. We had four valuable acquisitions to the squad today in Thomas for his running on the wing, Louis who had tackle of the day v Medway, Ollie and Oska, displaying some great strength. Real potential for the future. A special mention also goes to Jack Kearns, Ethan Schwarz, Captain Sam Innes who were immense, Will Gildersleeve, as usual steering the team well. The remainder of the team you know who you are you all played brilliantly against very good opposition and matched their physicality. I think as players and parent we all know this step up will only continue.
A week off festivals next week for consolidation and reflection with training at home.