Match report: Thomas Goodwin
As the picture below attests, this was a rugby players day for rugby. With the west wind lashing in horizontally, we were wet through within minutes. Daran was heard to comment that the rugby was akin to playing with a balloon in a wind tunnel.
Luckily spirits weren’t dampened in the least, so the BSN Minis entered the league part of the 12 team competition in group C. This was a big competition, pitting us against the unknown squads from North Holland, forged out of the cancelling of the “Bondsdag” by a generous Haarlem Rugby Club.
Our first opponents were Haarlem B, a team that seemed blessed with fast runners and good passers. Sadly they were so good at these that they totally forgot to tackle, much to their detriment. The whistle had barely finished blowing and BSN were over the line. A clean catch (no mean feat in Hurricane Haarlem!) two passes and Alexander G was off, not stopping till their entire team had failed to tackle him. Now the locals were awake!
Some fine defensive rugby by the BSN ensued, as they put us under a period of sustained pressure. Twice the team escaped due to some timely tackles. This was soon followed by some sterling driving by Jacob and Joe especially. Another try ended the first half, with the Ekstrand brothers exemplary pushing helping Jacob drag most of their team like drowned rats clinging to the sinking ship, over the try line.
Then calamity! – presumably having been given the half-time talk from hell, the hosts returned with purpose and started playing some fine flowing rugby. Well they might have been. It was too hard to see. All I know is that the ref didn’t blow until they’d crossed the line. 2-1. How would BSN respond? By an almighty team effort of driving their scrum most of the way up the pitch. After all his hard work, it was fitting that Jacob ploughed over still with his rodent entourage. In the dying seconds, Alexander G spotted a gap again and book-ended the match neatly. 4-1 final score.
The second match was most welcome. No-one minded playing in such horrendous conditions, it was the huddling like penguins for twenty minutes between matches that really got to them! ‘t Gooi were a fine outfit, but no match for one of South Holland’s finest teams. Tries scored with flair down the wing by Aiden, and carried purposefully by Henry meant that we were 2-0 up and cruising. A long kick from a ‘t Gooi penalty saw the attackers put pressure on the Mini’s backs, a knock-on by ‘t Gooi went unnoticed to score but the Mini’s held out comfortably for a 2-1 win, and through as winners of our pool in the group stages.
We had to play the winners of Group D – Dukes A.
The Dukes were full of zippy runners, and if they hadn’t kept dropping the ball, could’ve conjured some fine rugby in better conditions. It took all the tackling prowess of the Minis to keep the them at bay. Then it was time to turn the screw. By the final whistle the dejected Dukes had shipped 5 points and most of our team had either scored, assisted or supported their way to numerous tries.
By the final against Duke ‘B’ team, the BSN were raring to go. They played calm, controlled pressing rugby with match saving tackles and plenty of ball carrying. The big J’s combined well and Jamie’s line-out throwing was superb, considering he could barely see where he was throwing it!
Leyla and Christopher were alternating very well at scrum half, keeping their opponents guessing and getting into all the trouble spots. On this form, was the result ever seriously in doubt?
The standout moment of this match was when Jacob, having been so decisive on the ground, decided to let his boot do the talking. Pressed up against their try own line as they were, he grabbed the ball and hoofed it. We all gazed up field to where we were sure it would be heading. Nothing. There followed the great spectacle of almost everyone frantically looking left and right for the ball, as it almost fell back into Jacob’s lap!
So with the final won 7-0, it was just left to collect the winners cup and award the man of the match.
Coaches: Daran, Thomas
Squad; Aiden, Alexander, Christopher, David, Henry, Jack, Jacob, Jamie, Josh, Joseph, Leyla, Valter
Player of the Match: Alexander