U16 Rugby National 7’s
On Wednesday it was the turn of our U16 side to travel to Rosslyn Park for their National 7s competition. The sun again shone for a glorious day of rugby and the boys were excited to be shown on the livestream for their opening game v Clifton College (please do re-watch here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/JP32oK1BGII?autoplay=1 from 1h 36min onwards). Clifton were patient in attack and blessed with a winger with supreme speed; they kept the ball most of all the first five minutes of the game and so TWBS chances were few and far between, but glimmers of good attacking play were seen, especially the threat of Mark Venter’s pace, Harry Bicknell’s physicality and Will Moss’ accurate passing. The TWBS defence was well organised and aggressive tackles were made when needed. Two length of the field tries were either side of a well-worked team try left TWBS facing 0-19 scoreline at half time – the harshness of 7s being that if you don’t have the ball, you cannot score! The second half started with a good set of possession for TWBS, but quickly went downhill. Mark was officiously shown a yellow card for a hot-headed piece of petulance, reducing TWBS down to six players. The resulting penalty possession saw Clifton score almost immediately, taking full advantage of their numerical advantage. A period of possession after the re-start saw a familiar TWBS tale – some very good play undone by a simple handling error, gifting possession away. Two successive quickly tapped penalties by Clifton saw captain Harry Bicknell see a disputed yellow for a team infringement; James Miller now replaced Venter as his two minutes on the naughty step were complete. Finishing the game with six on the field was always going to be tough, but the referee playing an astonishing amount of added time allowed Clifton to add some flattering points onto the scoreline.
A last-minute change to the schedule saw the boys again on the show pitch (same link, 3h05min onwards) against Ibstock Place School. From the kick off it was evident that Ibstock were again a team comfortable in possession. Organised TWBS defence held firm, even when Harry Bicknell was harshly penalised for a penalty at the breakdown. A subsequent lineout gave Ibstock clean possession and but for excellent cover tackling by Charlie McCreanor TWBS would have been a try down early on. TWBS kept possession from the resulting lineout but could not make any clear ground out of their 22, Moss then got stripped in the tackle to surrender possession that led to a well-executed kick-pass that breached the TWBS defence to open the scoring for Ibstock. Again the harshness of 7s rugby highlighted – 1 mistake = 1 try conceded! Indecisiveness from the kickoff allowed the ball to run out of play and then a sloppy lineout gave possession away inside the TWBS half. Despite a thumping tackle from captain Bicknell, Ibstock extended their lead to 12-0, and so it remained until half time, a few blades of grass the only thing preventing Charlie. Tactical substitutions made, TWBS made a flying start to the second half. McCreanor took the kickoff and then every member of the side was involved in the quick handling of the ball to Moss, turned from villain to hero immediately with a show-and-go and perfectly weighted grubber kick through that Venter expertly controlled and then dived on to score with just 21 seconds played in the second half. An error from the re-start gave Ibstock free possession on halfway and AGAIN if it wasn’t for McCreanor’s cover tackle TWBS would have conceded the softest of tries. Excellent poaching work by Mani Hilton secured a penalty for TWBS right on their own 5m line, and relief was felt all around. A second penalty reprieved TWBS after sloppy handling, and then Ibstock had a yellow card shown for preventing Brodie Laing tapping and making a break quickly. From the resulting penalty Moss attacked the short side, passed to Bicknell who drew the last defender and timed the return pass to Moss expertly. An Ibstock hand flapped that ball down – rightly adjudged by the referee to be a deliberate knock-on the Ibstock player was also shown yellow and TWBS were awarded a penalty try for the offence. 12-12 against 5 players and all to play for! Ibstock regathered the kickoff and tried to play low-risk rugby by kicking the ball deep into the TWBS 22. It rolled out of play and from the resulting scrum Moss barrelled his way towards the tryline. He was tackled but from the resulting ruck, Bicknell received the pass and smashed his way through the Ibstock defence to touch down for the try to make it 17-12. A missed conversion gave Ibstock hope still from the kickoff. Patient Windsor defence did not allow any easy linebreaks. The pressure told and the Ibstock winger knocked on under pressure. A clean strike from the scrum gave TWBS possession and Brodie gladly kicked the ball out as time was up; a well-earned win.
The final game v Eastbourne School was a bridge too far; lethargic and ill-disciplined, Windsor made it hard for themselves by going into halftime trailing 0-33. Sloppy handling and failing to make 1-1 tackles gave cheap points to the opposition. Thankfully pride came after a fall for a change; a much improved 2nd half performance saw Eastbourne starved of possession and Windsor worked hard to score 2 tries. A losing end to the day, but memories to last a lifetime from their forays onto the internet for their first two matches, as well as meeting former Wales and British Lions Captain Sam Warburton
Director of Sport