Hampton Rovers U/9 Yellow vs East Brighton (away) Round 11
Today we visited the Vampires at East Brighton. We had a 12pm game but the wind was up and it was as cold as any morning we’ve had this year. It was the first game this season that I felt the need to wear pants. Cloudy, blowy and chilly.
Today we were down some of our key players Jack Breen, Chris Wormington, Jody Cripps and Jake Ring were all away enjoying the end of school holidays and Josh was a late withdrawal feeling under the weather. We were lucky enough to get some under 8 boys today. Kai, Cooper, and Jackson came up and ensure we could field a team.
We ran out today with Raph as our Captain. The boys had been put through a good warm up by Charlie Clarkson and we were ready to face the strong wind favouring the Northern end which we were against in the first quarter. The ball was in our backline a lot and Baxter and Jade held our unit together well, both getting plenty of the ball. Baxter gave us great use of the ball as our designated kicker for the quarter. Raph took a strong mark running back with the play and the midfield with Lincoln, Ollie and Toby were working very hard to get the ball and lay plenty of tackles. Kai showed great endeavour and no fear stepping up and age group working well off the wing, along with Seb who provided some key marks and hand balls. We eventually kept the ball forward enough for Jackson another U8 to swing around on his left boot and slot one from about 35m out (great kick!). Jade lost a boot this quarter, well it actually fell to pieces and he borrowed one from Ollie’s brother Spencer, never seen that before, one black and one white boot! Looks like Jade’s dad Craig is up for a new pair with a few games to go! Pretty close quarter in the end with East Brighton also snagging a goal.
Second Quarter – Now we had the wind and we worked it well but East Brighton kept chopping us off at half forward. This Vampire team would have to be the tallest U/9’s I’ve ever seen, I saw at least five kids that looked about 6 foot tall. Not sure what they feed those kids on the other side of Nepean Hwy but they’re super tall. The Rovers boys weren’t intimidated and Harry battled hard in the midfield applying pressure and squeezing his left footers out of the packs. Wil Licheri stayed tight on his player and provided a courageous smother on the wing. Campbell bombed a kick from full back with the wind which made it to the half way mark of the oval. Jade provided a presence through the mid zone, along with Theeran who we welcomed back after a few weeks off travelling America. Magnus took a great mark in the backline and gave us a booming kick forward. The ball spent a good time in the forward line with Kai, Toby and Lincoln terrorising the Vampire giants. Lincoln won a loose ball in traffic, turned back through the pack and broke free to bag a much needed Rovers goal. The Vampires also goaled and again we had a very even contest.
In the premiership quarter we were back against the breeze and the ball spent plenty of time down back, Magnus took the responsibility of kicking in and provided the ball consistently to our boundary side packs. Toby and Lincoln were prominent again and Daniel Storey was throwing his body everywhere. We had another boot issue with Theeran, his brand new fluoro boots giving him blisters and he asked to get out of the midfield and swapped into the backline for less running. Vampires were looking dangerous with a goal and four behinds, three of them hitting post, our back line was under pressure but held up well again when it could’ve been a large blow out.
Last quarter, by my score sheet said we were behind by a goal and a few behinds and the boys looked pumped to finish off a strong game with the wind. Raph went back in the ruck to give us first use of the ball, Harry, Kai and Toby stepped up the intensity each having a standout quarter. Ollie was attacking from the wing and Harry took about 5 marks, most of them contested and even took a one hander. Kai ran out of his mid zone, broke through a pack with eyes only for the ball, ran into the forward line and kicked a goal with some good body work and shepparding from his team mates. Running out of your zone and kicking goals is against the rules but only if you get caught I say! Fletcher had a shot from the boundary line which looked like a perfect banana only to hit the post up high….sooo close. After another hard fought quarter Jackson was awarded a free kick on a slight angle and slotted his second for the day.
A very even game today, even though we played short with 17 players with 3 under 8’s, the Vampires seemed to have us by size and numbers, but the Rovers played hard all day never giving in. The score difference was minor and probably went the way of East Brighton however we walked away with our heads held high. Unfortunately no song today as we were left out on the field this week with no rooms. We will sing it twice when we return to Castlefield!
Under 8 stars for playing two games today with no rest in the U/9’s great effort Cooper, Jackson and Kai all the boys handled the step up and performed well against a big team.
Guts and Determination – Daniel Storey, Dan has developed his game a lot this season, he is always head first attacking the ball. Twice today I saw him out numbered but won the ball in desperation. He has worked hard on getting great handballs out under pressure and did it all again today. Today was Dan’s second last game of the season. My info about it being his last was premature!
Outstanding Contribution – Captain Raphael Leman-Philp, Raph has been training so well lately and its paying off on game day. Played hard in the ruck for two quarters, took 3 solid marks today and was his best game in recent time, he will finish the season off with improvement I can see that!
Absolutely Smashed It – Theeran Goyal – We missed Theerans strong presence in our team over the last few weeks, great game today crashing packs, providing great penetrating kicks on a windy day and playing various roles around the ground. His team mates are better when Theeran is in the team.
Mark of Day – I’ve given this to Harry too many times already, but he took 5 great grabs in the last quarter and number five was a one handed contested mark in front of the Hampton bench and parents. I couldn’t not give him the award. This kid could be the next Warrick Capper! (parents might need Youtube to explain this 80’s phenomenon!)
Under 9 Yellow – Coach