U9s showing great promise for the season ahead
By Ian Thornton
U9s showing great promise for the season ahead
[Many thanks to Luca's dad, Kieron, and Will's dad, Scott, for this match report]
Hove Hawks: Albert, Ethan, Frankie, Griff, Harry, Leo, Oliver OB, Seb, Will G, Will H
Coaches: Matt, Dave
From the gale force winds and rain the night before, boy did the sun shine in Chichester for the 2nd festival of the season.
11am kick-off saw Hove Hawks take on Horsham and what a stunning display by some key players during the first half. A blood replacement, crunching tackles and support play were the key characteristics of the first half seeing Hawks take a close lead up to the break. Second half Horsham clearly had had their mars bars, but the fight back was short lived as Hove regained momentum after great support plays and offloads. It was a great first game in the festival however tackles were missed and improvement was needed if Hawks were to continue with this momentum.
Next up were the bee-coloured Winchester that lacked buzz in the first half with a try scored by Hawks down the middle and then on both wings. As Winchester started to dominate towards the end of the first half with a try, Hawks regained control by a steal and easy run in.
The second half Hawks stayed in the driving seat but it was not as easy as the first. There was great tackling and running but only by a few that showed holes in our defense. The team cannot rely on 3 main tacklers and it was made clear after the game that all hawks needed to make strong tackles in the next games. GO HOVE…
After a little break, the boys had been practicing their tackling on the side lines and also supporting their fellow team Hurricanes who looked impressive on the other pitch.
Next up Worthing. A club that normally displays a strong side but the first half Hove showed this sleepy town what we were all about. Turnover balls and back and forth near each others try lines but Hove got the upper hand with a lovely break through with great passing and team work throughout.
Second half was a battle with Hove deciding for the first 30 seconds to play 8 boys instead of 7 but after a high tackle by Worthing, Hove took back control and made some great individual runs. It was a battle in the dying minutes but individual tackling brilliance kept Hove in the game.
Next up saw Hayward’s Heath, a side on paper that Hove should have crushed especially following their performance in the 3 games. HH was well up for this game and made some crunching tackles. A try saving tackle by Hawks and a cracking run, resulted in a last second try to keep Hove in the game.
Second half there were some tired legs and concentration was not as focused as at the start of the festival. Whilst there was lovely team play by Hove there were far too many missed tackles in the 2nd half with loud shouts from the side lines of ‘wrap, wrap, wrap’. Again, some individual brilliance ensured a tight finish.
They say save the best to last and this game did not disappoint one bit. All boys stepped up to the plate with some now carrying injuries. The home side of Chichester were up for it and the game felt like a final with an eventful first half. Try by hawks going past 5 players saw an early lead before Chi hit back almost immediately. Tackles were the best yet and coming from some of the players that had not been so strong at the start of the festival which was great to see. Hawks battled against a strong defense but could not get through before the break. All even.
Parents on the side lines were the most vocal of the day during the 2nd half. A great set play saw Hawks regain control by a lovely try. A few moments later Chi were strong in attack and although Hove made some amazing crunching tackles (we winced at one on the side lines!) – the best of the day. This game was the best yet and showed a real great team effort.
A tired looking and for one sporting a soon to be black eye, the Hawks gathered around for their debrief. ‘…Passing excellent…tackling improved throughout the festival with some wonderful tackles shown – we can only get better’
For a side that is one month in to contact game, Hove Hawks have much to be proud off. Whilst work is still required to wrap those arms around and commit to tackles, if this is what it looks like at the start of October, it shows great promise for the season ahead. Well done Hove, the coaches and a massive well done to Hawks player of the day, Griff.
Hove Hurricanes: Ben, Cameron, Dillon, Gabriel, Henry T, Luca, Oliver S, Sam, Senan, Soli
Coaches: Ian, Rich & Marc (Woody)
Chichester provided the venue for the second tournament of the season on a beautiful but crisp October morning.
First up Midhurst and a customary cagey opening game from both teams but with the first half played entirely in Midhurst's territory with good attacking play from the hurricanes and equally good tackling from both teams until great pressure from Hove was rewarded with a Cameron try on the stroke of half time.
Midhurst kicked off the second half and were immediately faced by some great tackling from Dillon and Senan culminating in a pick-up from Dillon who went off on a try scoring darting run from inside our own half.
Midhurst responded with a try from their dynamo Grace who we remember well from last week.
A good restart and clever handling from Luca and Gabriel then passed out to Dillon for another try, Hove finishing the game on a high.
Boys were praised by coaches at half time for outstanding tackling and all being switched on but reminded of need to not be static at the starts and run at pace.
Next up was Havant and again impressive tackling from all the boys and one, in particular, from Oli on a boy mountain from Havant bringing him crashing to earth. Good passing from Senan set up Dillon for the opening try. Good pressure from Hove and a slow out the blocks Havant at the restart led to a quick turnover and a try from Senan.
Second half got off to a good start with a lovely pass from Sam to Oli who ran it in.
Havant woke up and immediately responded with a couple of tries of their own until some good work from Sam and pick up and pass from Gabriel put Cameron in for the final try of the game.
Boys reminded in team talk to place the ball when tackled for scrum half to pick up rather than pop it up.
Game three saw us up against Crawley and some good linking play between Soli and Gabriel leading to a score from Ben to put us one up. Crawley restarted well and after some good tackles from Cameron they manage to get one back. Again, good pressure from Hove winning turnover ball after six tackles, Dillon was put in to make it all square at half time. Second half and some great combo play between Sam, Soli and Luca led to a try from Senan. Crunching tackles from Dillon and Cameron and a tackle from Luca to put Crawley into touch won us another turnover and a great run from Cameron to chalk up another score. Crawley did their utmost to respond and a great tackle from Sam saved a certain try on our line. Hove bravely fought themselves up the field for Cameron to deliver the coup de grace.
Coaches at half time impressed with team spirit and way boys had listened and had presented ball well on being tackled.
Game four was against Brighton sporting their new strip. It proved to be a spirited encounter with good runs from both teams and a lot of back and forth play. Deadlock was broken after a scything run from Luca to open the scoring. Oli again saved a quick return from Brighton and good passing between all our boys took us into half time one up.
Pressure from Hove at start of second half led to another Dillon try. Brighton responded well with a great try of their own and they kept up the momentum to make it a nail biting last few minutes which saw Dillon come off injured after a great run from him was felled in the dying seconds.
Team talk from coach acknowledged it as a tough game but remember our width and shape.
Finally, game 5 and Bognor. Hove start well with a crafty dummy between Ben and Cameron built up to a lovely first try from Henry who has been playing well all morning.
Bognor came straight back to even things up after a couple of missed and tired tackles from our boys and who can blame them - I'm tired just watching them.
A good restart and a solo run from Cameron to score another try. Bognor restart and are doubled up on in the tackles by Hove, if you're tired get your mate to help seems to be the answer. Another deft dummy led to another Hove try.
The second half saw tries run in by Senan, Dillon and Luca. Bognor did well and fought bravely back before Ben snuck in the final try of the day.
Final team talk, and coaches again impressed with the teamwork and amount of double tackles. There is a real spirit in this team and when asked how the boys felt they all replied "Epic". Says it all really.