Match Report: Tom Goodwin
The BSN took a good squad of fifteen fearless fellows to face the best that Leiden, Rotterdam and Voorburg could throw at them. The weather looked like it wanted to dampen spirits, but soon the drizzle had abated and the scene was set.
Match 1 vs. DIOK 2
DIOK were unusual in that their scrum was exclusively made up of girls, most of whom were a good deal bigger than our boys. Luckily this didn’t phase the BSN, who just set about going through the phases. The other anomaly for the BSN Minis, was that they were alert from kick-off. Often, it seems tradition that they wake up after the first match, but today no such courtesy was extended.
Henry started the brightest, leading many a sortie deep into their territory. Jack was also fired up, offering excellent support to anyone who ran with the ball. Joe was solid from the off, charging into numbers and offloading text-book style. By half-time, both Jacob and Alexander had a brace of tries apiece and it had become clear that the hosts were tackle-shy.
Cue the second half, where fine tries from Jack streaking down the wing, Archie barrelling into (and through) countless bodies and Josh B weaving wonderfully through their players completed the rout. Seven – nil was as good a start as the BSN deserved. They had no need for caffeine, unlike the adults. Thank you Archie’s Dad!
Match 2 vs. Rotterdam RC
The second match was a very different affair. Rotterdam were a well drilled, competent tackling team with purposeful runners and an organisation that showed that they knew what they were doing. A much more testing prospect in short.
Some fine, if not glamorous rugby was played by both sides in the first half. Whenever we made advances, they would tackle solidly, and our defence was equally secure when they had the ball. Midway through the first half, the dead-lock was broken. After a nice passage of play, Jacob emerged with the ball, and had sufficient time to power forward and cross the line. Five minutes later and it was Rotterdam rampaging down the flank. A series of fast green and orange runners were tackled one after another by the BSN, but the overlap allowed the final runner to squeeze over the line. No one could quite believe it.
The second half offered more of the same. Nicolas was performing well on the wing offering jinking runs that bamboozled the opposition. But still they got the crucial tackles in! Gabriel and Victor were distributing the ball well and Josh continued to terrorise with his mesmeric runs and sublime offloads. Archie decided that two could play at that game and started a series of impressive carries himself. The Ekstrand boys were hewn of granite, with David’s powerful pushes and Valter’s fearless tackling an inspiration to all.
Just as things looked like they would grind to a fitting 1-1 draw, Alexander broke the deadlock. Running through most of their team (why did we do that quite so often when there were ACRES of space out wide?) he touched down. The moment of the match was not in scoring, but when Jamie offloaded one-handed behind him. A super piece of skill which caught both teams by surprise. His line-outs and scrummaging were equally admirable. The match was also memorable for the fact that the BSN were able to dig deep, and crucially, each player tackled when needed. This was a defensive rugby test which they passed. Well ground out BSN!
Match 3 vs. Voorburg RC
Having played two very different teams, the Mini’s were given a half-hour break, where surprisingly DIOK 2 thrashed Rotterdam.
By the time for our kick-off, the BSN were impatient to get back into the action. Once they had got over the shock of playing a wannabe England team, the fun really started. Yann, in only his second start for the Minis got his (and the teams’) first try. Lovely flowing backs rugby built up, with short accurate passes, until Yann crossed the line.
He was soon joined on the score sheet by David Ekstrand who powered over commandingly. Alexander also scored with an individual effort which got a mixed reception. At half-time the coaches, sensing the the game was beyond their opponents, called for more of a passing game. They wanted to get the ball out to the wings and showcase our ability to use the width and not just rely on individuals running. Many times the half-time team talk can fall on tired/deaf ears, with the players just nodding and catching their breath.
Here on the other hand, I’m glad to report, it had the desired effect. The second half was amongst the best play that the team has ever produced in this writer’s opinion. There were no glory-hunting, ’lone-wolf’ tries, with each score seeming to have more phases than the previous one. It was a purists dream. Josh D in particular impressed, with good, quick hands and a readiness to get involved that belies his starting in September. With Joe as inspiration, (and what inspiration!) he was soon creating carnage.
From a penalty, Alexander’s cross-field kick would have been an clever move, had anyone known to expect it! Further training may be needed here…
The second half began with a flurry of tries. Josh B and Alexander supported each other to cross the line first, and then a series of multi-phase, short and fast passing by most of the team, allowing the overlapping full-back to cross twice in quick succession. By now the BSN parents were really behind them, encouraging this great passing play which their opponents were completely unable to deal with. There was still time for Josh to maraud deep into the enemy territory, offload and then get the ball back four passes later to cross the line unhindered.
Another superb passing phase, from the kick-off, eventually allowed Alexander over for his seventh, though it was the ball play by the rest of the team that deserved the credit. They were a joy to watch in full flow, and IF they can repeat this level of fluency moving forward, they’ll be hard to beat. Things were wrapped up, as so often is the case, by a try from Jacob. He supported the backs, and then charged over for the eighth try of the game. Job done!
All in all, a good day at the office, with even the coaches purring about what great rugby had been played that final half. All that was left was for Daran to announce that Jack was the Man-of-the-Match. His tireless support and fine running which really showed their worth in that final half, where he would recycle the ball so effectively, meant that he deservedly went home with the biggest smile. A fine day out, well done BSN.
Squad: Alexander, Archie, David, Henry, Gabriel, Joseph, Jacob, Josh B, Josh D, Jack, Jamie, Viktor, Nicolas, Valter, Yann
Coaches: Daran, Julien