Today was a fresh 6 degree, foggy morning where the Rovers under 8s kindly broke the dew before our game began. The fog soon burned away with the morning sun and we were again blessed with a super Sunday morning at Castlefield. These boys have no idea how great this ground is, and what a pleasure it is to have such great ground surfaces. Back in the old days by this time of year the grounds were muddy and it wasn’t unusual to lose your boot in the cricket pitch toppings or the swampy goal square! Today’s conditions were perfect by game time, sunny with not a breath of wind.
Today’s Captains Jake and Daniel won the toss and elected to kick to the clubrooms end of the ground. We had ample support today with a bench for the first time this season as a few U/9 Blues came over for a run while they had a bye, Thanks to Sunny, Ethan and Patrick. As the morning was cold we focused on the warm up and the boys enjoyed a bit of rumbling in the rooms with some bag hits and tackles before we went out. The coaching staff confirmed the boys seemed focused today and we could tell the team was switched on pre game. After two consecutive weeks without bringing home any chocolates and some discussions about this at training, we set out to let the East Brighton Vampires know what it was like to play the Rovers beside the seaside at Castlefield.
The first minutes of the game had our rovers straight out of the blocks with first touch of the ball. Raph in the ruck straight down to Theeran who bombed it into our forward zone. The forwards were hungry and relentless. Toby and Fletcher had been itching for some time in the forward line, and took their opportunities. Toby worked hard for a few attempts before receiving a pass from Fletcher and running around for the snap kick goal. Anytime the ball came out of our forward line Ethan, Seb, and Jake were there cleaning up and kicking it back our way. Josh ran hard to a contest on the forward/wing, keeping his feet, collecting the ball on two defenders and centred to our square. Daniel ran on beautifully for our second goal another beauty. The boys were up and about early today.
Second quarter was much the same, the Hampton backs hardly saw the ball, Jody and Harry saw plenty of the ball both breaking packs and gaining ground. Chris and Jade closed out the wings and our tackling was relentless. One great moment saw a rewarded shot on goal after three (3) of our boys gang tackled a Vampire in from of our goal. Theeran, Ethan and Jake wrapped the poor kid up perfectly. Jake was having a great game as Captain winning the ball and creating lots of run. We had many shots at goal without full reward until Lincoln slotted one and then soon after Ethan marked and goaled too.
The third quarter tightened up and Brighton started to get some run through the middle and some shots on goal. Seb and Raph played tight defence and Ollie started to warm up getting some hard earned touches down back. Magnus went to the ruck and swapped with Captain Dan through the quarter. Dan was our shortest ruckman this year so far but contested well and took the game head on. Campbell reminded us what we have been missing the last month in his absence, having a great quarter in the midfield winning every contest he was in. Sunny pushed the ball through a pack keeping control an ran on to kick a goal from about 50m out, rolling the ball all the way to the goal line! (well it looked like 50m anyway!)
Fourth quarter all was going well for our Rovers and our focus was to run the game out. The boys did that and we saw some great efforts along the way. Jade was crashing the packs as he always does using his strong body, Baxter ensure the ball came out of defence precisely with his spot up kicks (a bit like Luke Hodge?). Jack Breen our newest Rover, showed great courage flying for a mark (which wasn’t paid) but I thought it was Jeremy Howe for a moment as Jack also wears #38 and showed us how he can jump! The last quarter was hard fought to the end where the Vampires eventually scored a goal just before the siren.
The game was played in great spirits today, our team mates from the blue team Patrick, Sunny and Ethan were all great contributors and we thank then again for helping out. The boys sang the song as loud as I have heard, and it was nice having a few of our mates along to enjoy it with us. Lots to talk about at school on Monday, I bet!
The Awards this week are:
Outstanding Contribution – Campbell Hardie, great game today, one of our stronger boys in the team who used his body well today and really didn’t lose a contest one on one. Great come back game today!
Guts and Determination – Josh Marshall, getting more confident each week. Josh can beat most kids to the contest with his speed and is now developing the ability to contest and take the game on. Did some valuable team things today!
Completely Smashed It – Fletcher Ockerby, fierce competitor every week and has been bagging quite a few goals through the season. Today Fletch was instrumental in many passages of play and always does the hard things for his team. Super game.
Mark of the Day – Jack Breen, as mentioned in the report Jack really threw himself at the contest, got right up there and unfortunately the mark wasn’t paid. Looking forward to the next one Jack plucks!
Coach U/9 Yellow
Hampton Rovers JFC