Due to the RFU righty delaying age grade rule changes, we actually only started tackle training in December, but the kids were more than ready to test their new skills against some opposition.
But in the week leading up to the festival, Covid managed to impact preparations again with us only being able to field 5 teams, not 6 as planned. In saying that we were still able to field 2-3 more teams than most of the clubs there, the likes of Dorking, London Irish and of course the hosts Old Guilfordians.
So, our 5 teams headed off all managed by 10 fantastic coaches, and of course not forgetting our amazing team manager Genevieve who keeps us Coaches all and the parents in check.
Excitement was high in the first game for all the teams, the boys dealt extremely well with the realisation that no longer was pulling a tag or touching a hip enough to stop a player or to be stopped yourself. You had to get your head down, shoulder in, wrap those arms and tackle.
The game play from all the teams was excellent, with some wonderful tries scored by all teams backed by the basics of running into space, supporting teammates, offloading out of contact, quick ball from the tackle and (the majority of the time) a rock-solid defence.
Old Guildfordians did an excellent job of organising the festival, everything ran to schedule, even the weather was on our side with only a short rain shower of that infamous Stoke Park sideways rain.
In the end, even though we don’t score the games at this age (wink wink), we only lost 2 games out of the 19 games our 5 teams played which is just fantastic!
Of course, there are a few areas to work in training, but, and I speak for all the coaching team here, we are so proud of each and every one of them.
Gareth (Moggy) Morgan
U9’s Head Coach