Saturday was the National championships in Delft. BSN Minis qualified as runners up in the Districts to take their place against fifteen other teams from across the Netherlands.  HRC and Castricum were favourites and they went on to contest the final, after HRC narrowly edged BSN out in the semi finals.  But BSN played well, winning their group of Hilversum, Amstelveen, and Dukes; and the quarter final against Eemland. And with a 3-1 win against Oemenoemenoe in the third place playoffs, they ended the day on a high.

Lachlan breaking through the Hilversum defence

BSN’s first group game was against Hilversum. It was a tight first half. Most of the action just inside the Hilversum half, but the tacklers were on top. Lachlan was the most dangerous player on the pitch. Two last ditch tackles by Hilversum kept the half time score at 0-0. In the second half, BSN should have won the match. A diagonal run from Lachlan broke through the Hilversum defensive line, but there were too many white line and red lines, and Lachlan grounded the ball on the wrong side of the try line. The match ended 0-0, but the result did not harm BSN’s chances as the other group game between Dukes and Amstelveen also ended in a draw.

Player of the match, Jacob, driving the forward line

The next game was against Amstelveen and BSN were under pressure to get a result. They were playing well, getting the better of the territory and possession, but the pitches were small and the Amstelveen defence was well organised.  Lachlan was again causing problems to the opposition.  This time the referee got his white and red lines confused and initially gave a try, when Lachlan was short of the try line, but recognised his mistake. Lachlan was not to be denied and put BSN ahead at half time.  Amstelveen were fired up at the start of the second half, gaining ground and applying pressure, until they claimed the try. BSN were soon back in the lead. From the restart, a knock on by Amstelveen gave BSN the put in at the scrum. Good hands by Louis put Cammy through for an important 2-1 win.

Atlanta about to show Dukes the soles of her boots

The Dukes beat Hilversum 2-0 in the other game in the group, leaving BSN needing a win to top the group or a draw to come second. Given the strength of HRC and Castricum, BSN wanted the win for a favourable quarter final.  The first half of the game against Dukes was different to the previous two tight matches. Handling errors by both teams led to an end-to-end running game. After trading breaks, Dukes took one of the chances to lead 1-0. From the deep BSN restart, a Dukes player fumbled the ball to give Cammy an easy chance to quickly level the scores. Despite more chances and last ditch tackling, the half ended 1-1. In the second half, BSN applied pressure. From a relieving kick by Dukes, Louis collected the ball and set Lachlan away for a devastating run on the wing to put BSN into the lead.  The game became messy and slowed down from the pace of the first half. Alexander looked to have scored with an interception from open play, but the referee disallowed the try and pulled play back to a penalty to BSN. Nevertheless, the momentum was with BSN. From a scrum, the ball came back to Lachlan, who drew the Dukes defenders before releasing Atlanta to run in the try. The 3-1 final score put BSN through as group winners and saw Dukes pushed down to third, due to a 2-0 win for Amstelveen in the other group game.

Lachlan taking on Eemland and the rain

The humid weather that lasted through the group matches gave way to summer rain.  BSN were drawn against Eemland in the quarter finals, who had finished second in group D to Oemenoemenoe.  BSN started strongly. Continuous pressure pushed back Eemland, with good foraging play by the forwards.  The score at half time was still tight. BSN only had a single try from a Lachlan break to show for the superiority.  The second half continued in the same vein, but BSN could not add to the score and almost paid for it, when Eemland found themselves with a three man overlap in the last action.  Thankfully, Louis brought down their player, before he could get the killer pass away, and the match ended in a 1-0 win to BSN.

Tough scrummaging against HRC in the semi-finals

That win set up a semi final against District champions HRC.  In the Districts finals, HRC had come out well on top and there was a bit a apprehension in BSN’s play in the first half.  HRC were a step ahead and dominated the rucks, scrum and possession. Despite being on top, HRC were only one up at half time. The second half was much more even.  BSN increased there intensity and hunger.  The forwards, led by Jacob, driving into HRC, starting to win some of the rucks and even turn over a HRC scrum. There were few chances for either side, but the BSN pressure was starting to affect HRC, who gave away a series of penalties, but BSN could not find a way through and the match ended as a 1-0 win to HRC.

Driving maul pushing Oemenoemenoe over the try line

HRC went on to the final against Castricum, which they won 2-1.  BSN took on Oemenoemenoe in the third place play off.  BSN started with good pressure and showed better handling. BSN stole the ball from an Oemenoemenoe line out near their own try line, presenting an easy finish for Alexander and a 1-0 half time lead.  In the second half, Oemenoemenoe’s big number 3 got away throwing off tackles for a breakaway try, but BSN came straight back with another steal by Alexander to restore the lead. A big BSN driving maul over the Oemenoemenoe try line could not quite ground the ball, but there was still time for Lachlan to score wide on the left from good work in the scrum. A 3-1 win and third place in the National championships rounding off a good day for the BSN Minis.

Coaches: Daran, Scott, Manuel, Andy, Pablo

Captain: Daniel

Player of the match: Jacob

Squad: Alexander, Andrea, Atlanta, Cammy, Charles, Duncan, Henry, Jamie, Joaquin, Joseph, Josh, Lachlan, Louis, Moritz, Nicolas, William

The winning feeling