Excellent start for Berkshire U18s

26th September 2010
by Berkshire RFU
The listing was posted by Berkshire County RFU - County Youth

In a warm-up game prior to the South West double headers over the next few weeks, Berkshire beat Bucks 24-5. Despite having only 17 fit players Berkshire U18s ran in three tries to Buckinghamshire's one in a hard fought game in blustery conditions at Aylesbury.  In better conditions the abundance of possession would surely have resulted in more tries for Berkshire. With so many injuries and players who were unavailable Berkshire had players out of position all over the pitch including, notably, the front row.  Despite this, Berkshire showed some excellent driving play by the forwards, with textbook clearing out beyond the ball and lots of successful offloads, just the areas they have been working on over the summer.  In addition, the backs injected a lot of variety into their moves and are starting to look really threatening with the ball in hand. Full match report:

Sunday 26th October 2010Buckinghamshire U18s v Berkshire U18s

Venue: Aylesbury RFC

Berks Squad: Allan, Austin, Brooks, Curtis, Dace, Dean, Glenister, Heath, Masters-Waage, Murphy, Parsons, Roberts, Rossiter, Simm, Smith Thomson, Willis.
Result: Buckinghamshire 5     Berkshire 24

An injury-depleted U18s squad made their way to Aylesbury for Berkshire’s first competitive match of the new season against county neighbours Buckinghamshire.
Kicking off into a stiff headwind, Berkshire kept the ball in hand and gained early territorial advantage. Despite pressing the Bucks defence, they were unable to turn their early attacks into points. Bucks defended well and it was the home side that eventually broke the deadlock and took the lead with an unconverted try that they scored from scrappy lineout ball.

Berkshire immediately bounced back with some good phases of attacking play combining forwards and backs, which won them a penalty in front of the posts. Scrum-half James Brooks hit the ball hard and low to open Berkshire’s account with a perfectly slotted kick into the wind. Berkshire continued to build their attacks with the forwards dominating in the loose. Their patience paid off as sharp handling through the back line gave Jack Rossiter the chance to step his opposite number on the wing and put Berkshire ahead for the first time in the match. Brooks took the extras to give Berkshire a 10-5 lead. Berkshire kept up the momentum after the re-start and could have scored again had they taken advantage of the overlaps they created.

With a five-point lead and the wind behind them, Berkshire started the second half confidently. Yet another foray into the Bucks half saw Berkshire’s full-back Jack Parsons collect a perfectly-weighted cross-kick from Peter Allan to score in the corner, and Brooks made it three from three.
Berkshire showed that they could defend as well as attack as they absorbed a period of sustained pressure from Bucks, who were fighting to get back into the match.

Berkshire used their forward power to cross the try line again, but this time Bucks held them up. The resulting scrum saw Rossiter score his second try of the match, diving forward to collect a nifty offload from Parsons, and cap a good all-round display both defensively as well as in attack. Brooks maintained his 100% kicking record to convert the score and close the game out.
This was a good all-round performance from Berkshire, and the players playing out of position at this level deserve credit – especially Ollie Roberts and Ian Willis who shared front-row duties. The Berkshire forwards dominated in the loose and made some crunching tackles in defence. The backs looked threatening with the ball in hand and were quick to create opportunities from turnover ball. Despite the difficult conditions, Berkshire handled confidently and played the game with continuity to make a promising start to their 2010 county campaign.