First ever league game concludes with a win
By Olivier Fusil
Encouraging first steps for Teddington U13
We went travelling up the M25 to Watford for our first game of the season against Fullerians. A bright sun shone to welcome us to our new league format and the boys rose to the occasion.
This was an exciting game of rugby.
Our boys, captained by Teddy, started brightly with some good attacking shapes and solid rucking. Several times we pushed Fullerians back and gained territory. The first try was not long to come and we were 0-5 up. However Fullerians came back in the game soon afterwards though their left wing speed merchant who left a number of Teddington players clutching at thin air. All equals at 5-5.
The game kept on developing and we could sense that we had the upper hand during most phases but without being able to distance ourselves from the hosts. We saw some great rugby moves, Marc playing at 15 kicked the ball from his half into empty space and followed through for a mad dash across the pitch, forcing Fullerians to retreat to their 10 meters line in what was nearly another try. The difference however came twice from man of the match Owen Glover who drove the Fullerians defence crazy with some powerful runs, to the point where some of the opposition players were seen diving for cover when Owen was running towards them.
We didn't manage to convert our tries though. This made a big difference when with 10 minutes to go in the second half, Fullerians scored their 3rd try to equalise AND converted. 17-15 and suddenly our affairs looked bleaker.
The boys reaction was first class. They gained significant territory at the restart, and a few moves got us a few minutes later on the opposition's 5m line, but Fullerians had the ball in hands. Tackles and rucks came one after the others and the referee awarded us a scrum under the post for a Fullerian's infringement. Cue Teddington players jumping up in the air and pumping fists. The game was delayed for few seconds for a reason your correspondant frankly forgot.
But I wasn't the only forgetful one as the referee let Fullerians put the ball in the scrum rather than Teddington. When we realised what was going on, Tony was having a heart attack, Will needed a third crutch and Jamie was banging his head against the ground. When (gently) challenged after the game, the ref owned up to the mistake recognising he gave the ball to the wrong team. Mistake indeed....
But back to our 5 meters scrum. The clock was running down fast, 3 minutes to go. Strong push by Teddington, Fullerians on the back foot, ball out for a clearance which got countered by Teddington. New ruck, great effort by our boys, new infringement by Fullerians and SCRUM 5, but this time IT WAS OURS. The boys kept a cool head at the scrum, got the ball out and progressed as a team towards the left corner. Bodies were flying all over but our relentless efforts were rightly rewarded when Teddy grounded the ball in the corner. 17-20 with 2 minutes to go!!!!!
We managed to gather at the restart and held desperate pressure by the hosts who conceded one more penalty to give us the ball back. The tactics of what to do in that situation are not quite engrained in the boys who all had an opinion on what to do with that hot potato of a ball. The coaches were becoming apoplectic on the side line, shouting instructions which were duly ignored by the players. Eventually cooler head prevailed, the last ditch penalty was tapped, the ball passed to Jack who ran towards the touchline and kicked it far away. The celebrations for a well done job could start.