Chipstead Academy lose in quarter final of Waterfall Cup
By Peter Hutton
Academy put up a resilient performance against a strong E&L squad.
The Academy put up a resilient performance against a strong E&L squad. However, resilience can only take you so far and, candidly, the hosts had too much pace in the backs to be contained. As with last week’s triangular fixture the Academy had a surfeit of forwards so that again we had some of the pack playing as backs; all good experience, even if it did leave us exposed.
It is worth re-emphasising, that this season the players have been encouraged to go out and have fun and have been given a license to play an unrestricted game – basically if they think a play is on then they should back themselves to have a go. Sometimes this makes for a bit of harum scarum rugby; but if the game is not enjoyable to play, why play?
As to the game itself, the Academy got an early indication of E&L’s intentions in the opening couple of minutes when the hosts went 7-0 up. The Academy however stuck to the task and the next 12 minutes were all ours. To all intents and purposes we were camped in the E&L 22 zone, and more often than not their 5 metre area. Maul after maul and ruck after ruck the players grafted to secure a score. Twice their endeavours got them over the line; twice the ball was held up. Finally, off an Academy scrum, some opportunistic quick thinking from the scrum half got us the 7 points that all the previous efforts deserved.
Recognising that we could match them up front, E&L began to spread the ball wide and open up the game to their pacier players. Gradually the hosts began to tally up the points and the half ended with a comfortable 35-7 lead.
The second half risked more of the same, as E&L got an early try. However, the Academy rallied, and we held out for another 10 minutes before E&L’s final try.
Score line aside, the game was not so one sided that the Academy did not threaten the home team. However too often after a series of phases we suffered a turnover or unforced error; but see the above point about the player being given license to back themselves – all we need to do is make sure that initiative is backed up with support play and greater awareness by the player and his peers. Other positives from the game were a strong line out and secure scrum; both good platforms on which to build momentum.
In summary, a 49-7 loss against strong opposition is not the end of the world. As an aside at this point it is worth noting that this was the first game your correspondent has seen at this level where every conversion - all 8 of them - irrespective of angle or distance, was successful.
We’ll now drop down into the next waterfall competition (opposition TBA). We now have home training next week, before a home friendly against Sutton & Epsom on the 2nd December. Lets’ get a good turn out to both, so we can end the year on a high.