Southport U10's Take Tournament Spoils!!
Basking in the warm glow of achieving Runners-Up and 3rd place at the Kendal Rugby Festival. It couldn't get any better could it? Yes it could!
Southport Rugby Tournament 2013
Two weeks ago we were basking in the warm glow of achieving a Runners-Up and a 3rd place (out of six teams) at the Kendal Rugby Festival. It couldn't get any better could it? Yes, it could!
Played over the Saturday and Sunday in mainly warm sunshine but with our usual Birkdale Breeze blowing across the pitch, conditions were as near perfect for some fast flowing rugby.
Dragons vs. Giants
The match no one wants to watch opened the tournament. In truth it was probably best to get it out of the way early while nothing crucial rested on the result. It was a very close affair, as one would expect, with an Alex Day try just before half time the only score to be registered.
I've been asked to mention that intra-squad competitive matches are sometimes difficult for both players and parents/coaches to participate in/watch and that post-match 'gloating' (as it was described to me) does nothing for the camaraderie of the group as a whole.
Giants vs. Morpeth A
In their second match Giants came up against Morpeth A a tough, tenacious team who opened the scoring early on. Alex Day managed to dive over to level the scores just before half time and resumed his machine-like scoring ability with another just after the break. In addition to Alex, Fraser Johnson also had an inspired match making a number of terrific runs one of which lead to the final try of the game scored by...you guessed it....Alex Day. FT 3-1.
Dragons vs. Morpeth B
After facing the Giants in their first match the Dragons could not have known that they would now be up against the eventual finalists in game 2. Morpeth exerted a lot of pressure from the start and scored to take an early lead. A Ben Henderson break saw Dragons begin to play a bit more rugby in the opposition half but a couple of handling errors saw Morpeth break and extend their lead. Dragons never gave up and Will McCaughrean pounced on a loose ball 10 yards from the line and out-ran a couple of Morpeth defenders to score a memorable try in the corner. Unfortunately it proved to be the last meaningful play of the match. FT 1-2.
Dragons vs. Wirral
Dragons struggled early on in this match, losing a scrum near their own line and immediately conceding a try. 0-1. Dragons tried to get back on terms against a very determined Wirral team but the half ended 0-1 with everything still to play for. A tricky situation turned into near disaster at the start of the second half when Wirral were able to drive over from a rolling maul to make it 0-2. In these short 6-minute-per-half matches overturning a 0-2 deficit is a very tall order. But Daniel Castell got Dragons back into it with a tremendous run and try and then after intense pressure from Dragons and great play from Harry Boardman, Jack Green was able to rumble over for the leveller. A great comeback by the lads! FT 2-2.
Giants vs. Moseley
From one match with edge-of-the-seat intensity we moved straight over to this encounter against Moseley (Birmingham). As with the Dragons/Wirral match Giants went behind early on after the ball was snatched out of a maul and a Moseley runner crashed over for the opener. The rest of the half saw some ferocious tackles going in with no prisoners being taken but ended without further score. On the restart Fraser Johnson got Giants into good field position and Alex Day was able to carry on the move to go over for the tying score. 1-1. Fraser and Alex were now starting to dominate proceedings and it was that axis that once again lead to Alex barging over for the go-ahead try. 2-1. Both Luke Vasquez and Tom Crompton got close to making the game safe near the end but the whistle was blown on an exhilarating contest with no further score. FT 2-1.
Giants vs. Wirral
This would prove to be yet another close encounter with both teams battling hard for a result. This time it was Owen Barnes who shone creating headaches for the Wirral defence at every opportunity. It was a smart interchange between him and Alex Day that saw Owen over for an impressive opening try. HT 1-0. The second period saw another no-quarter-given display by each team with the tenacity in defence of Fraser, Alex, Tom Crompton and Max Tolson seeing the Giants through for a deserved victory. FT 1-0.
Dragons vs. Waterloo
This local derby was an all action affair. Harry Boardman got Dragons on the score sheet early on but the lead was erased shortly after when Dragons conceded a free kick close to their own line for a high tackle. Waterloo drove over for the tying score. HT 1-1. There was little to choose between the teams in the second half but a great drive by Jack Green, well supported by Ben Roberson, saw Dragons wrestle the advantage again. 2-1. As time wound down a crucial lost scrum saw Waterloo get over the line for the tying score (2-2) and 'Loo could have stolen it at the last but the whistle thankfully intervened. FT 2-2.
So, Day 1 saw Giants finish with a record of 4-0-0 and Dragons with a record of 0-2-2.
Dragons vs. Moseley
This was a must-win game for Dragons after the first day when they simply didn't get the rub of the green. Some excellent ball handling from Reece Wilgar saw the ball fed to Jack Green who steamed over for the score. 1-0. There then followed a lot of to-and-fro between the two teams with one side then the other apparently gaining the advantage. But the match eventually drew to a close with no further score being added. FT. 1-0.
Giants vs. Tarleton
The first half of this match was all Tarleton who applied relentless pressure to the Giants try line but the Giants held them up repeatedly to see the half through 0-0. It was much the same early in the second half but a break away by Alex Day - who ran almost the entire length of the field - saw Giants take a fortuitous lead. 1-0. Tarleton pressure resumed but yet another Alex break saw the Giants run out 2-0 winners. FT 2-0.
Giants vs. Morpeth B
This was always going to be a close and intense battle and so it proved to be. Alex Day was close the opening the score but was held up on the line. There then followed several minutes of Giants pressure but against the run of play Morpeth broke and scored the opener. 0-1. Morpeth were extremely tough in defence and Giants did themselves no favours by giving away free kicks at vital times leading to their first loss of the tournament. 0-1.
Dragons vs. Morpeth A.
This games was dominated by the forwards on both teams with plenty of gritty, determined barging and charging but little in the way of an end result. Jack Green threatened to break free on a couple of occasions and a well-won scrum almost allowed Ben Henderson to dance over the line to score - were it not for stepping on the touchline - but otherwise the teams rather cancelled each other out. FT 0-0.
Dragons vs. Tarleton
Just as Giants had experienced earlier in the day, this also turned our to be a blood and thunder encounter with our near neighbours. The first half was consumed by ferocious rucking and mauling but it was all going on around midfield with no side able to wrestle the advantage. HT 0-0. The second half saw the Dragons scrum unit win a succession of encounters with some really powerful play by Jack Green and Ben Roberson. The clean ball allowed Ben Henderson to make a series of ground-gaining runs that eventually lead to an exhilarating try over in the corner. 1-0. Tarleton applied enormous pressure for the remainder of the game but Dragons stood firm with some incredibly determined defending for the victory. FT 1-0.
Giants vs. Waterloo
The game opened with some tremendous play by Giants who suddenly were passing and off-loading at exactly the right times! Giants pressure finally told with Max Tolson getting over the line for the opening score. 1-0. But Waterloo came back with a good passing move of their own almost immediately to level the scores 1-1. H-T 1-1. Waterloo now seemed to have the upper hand and despite tenacious pressure by Giants - particularly Owen Barnes - to hurry Waterloo off their stride they were able to score the go-ahead try that proved to be the winner. 1-2.
And so, the records at the end of Day 2 stood at: Giants 5-0-2 and Dragons 2-3-2. This was enough to see the Giants into the final but sadly meant that Dragons had missed the 3rd vs. 4th place game by the narrowest of margins.
Giants vs. Morpeth B.
There must have been well over 100 people assembled to watch the eagerly anticipated grand final against two very evenly matched teams. The pace and commitment was terrifying from the start with the lads hammering into each other and fighting for every ball. Louis Southwood was right in the thick of it with a couple of brave runs that appeared to be brought to a brutal halt each time but Louis would just bounce back up and go again for more! And when Morpeth had the ball, the intensity of the pressure applied by the Giants backs to force errors from Morpeth was truly outstanding. The 0-0 half-time score simply didn't do justice to the excitement, pace and intensity of a truly excellent match. The second half began as the first had finished with lots of pressure being placed on the ball carriers of both teams. But a some continuous Giants pressure eventually lead to Luke Vasquez to driving over for the opening score! 1-0. The pace was still relentless and back cam Morpeth who drove deep into Giants territory. A line out 5 metres out was mishandled at the back of the line and the loose ball was stolen by Morpeth who were able to steal in for the tying score. 1-1. The two teams continued to battle it out they were almost at a standstill when the final whistle was blown on a great encounter. FT 1-1.
On the count-back of match results and tries scored, Southport Giants were awarded the 1st Place Trophy! Well done Giants for some brilliantly entertaining and determined rugby. Well done also to Dragons who played some amazing rugby at times but things just didn't go their way.