Norwich RFC U13’s at Ipswich RFC Seven’s competition 05.05.18
A 12 man squad made up of Newton, Alex, Seb, Joe, Tom, Ollie D, Jack, Jake, Sam, Harvey, Alvin and Elijah travelled to Ipswich RFC for our inaugural participation in a Seven’s competition.
The weather was forecast to be bright blue skies and hot, and we were not disappointed, being the hottest day of the year so far it was going to make keeping hydrated an important part of the day’s preparations for the boys.
Norwich was drawn in Pool B and was scheduled to play Bury SE1, Ipswich Gold 2, Bury SE3 and Southwold 2 during the group stages; the games would consist of two half’s each lasting 7 minutes.
Referees were provided for the competition and allowed the coaches to concentrate on monitoring their boys.
Seven’s being an unknown quantity for us it was difficult to know how the boys would perform. We know they have the skill but could they transpose this ability to the Sevens arena.
Our first game was against Bury SE1, having played Bury just recently we were aware of their capability as a club and knew that we would have our work cut out. The game kicked off and from the start Norwich played with the high intensity that Sevens rugby demands; Norwich gave no quarter and used the ball intelligently.
Norwich’s performance was crisp and they dominated much of the game, the final score was Norwich 40 – Bury SE1 10.
Due to the games running late we were required to play pretty much straightaway against Ipswich Gold 2. Having come from their first game on a high the boys were buzzing and it was obvious that if they could maintain this intensity over the four games then we were going to have a good day.
Norwich continued to play in the same vein as in their first match and it was clear that they were too strong for Ipswich. Clever switch routines and quick use of the ball allowed for the team to move the ball out to the wings and make use of the ever-growing space, which their smart play rewarded them. Although Ipswich tried hard to push through Norwich’s defence their stoic resistance prevailed with the final score being Norwich 50 – Ipswich 0.
We then had a short break, which allowed our boys to relax and take on some much-needed hydration; the weather remained bright and hot which whilst very nice for the spectators made playing even more tiring for the boys.
Our next game was against Southwold 2, Norwich has not played Southwold for sometime but knew from reputation that they would have to be on top of their game if they wanted to keep progressing in the competition.
This was a very different style of game with both sides evenly matched both in attack and defence. However Norwich were just able to keep the upper hand and through some tight defence work and open attacking managed to hold Southwold to a 25 – 20 victory to Norwich.
After a much longer break the boy’s final group game was against Bury SE3, again the boy’s expectation was for a tough game given the conditions and also the standard of the opposition.
The game was again evenly matched but Norwich just seemed to be motivated that little bit more and continued to play at a fantastic intensity which belied their young age and experience in Sevens rugby.
Again the game was tightly fought and at times looked as if it could go either way, however Norwich maintained their dominance and were able to secure another victory, the final score being Norwich 20 – Bury SE3 15.
Having secured wins in all their group games Norwich were informed that they had made it to the competition final where they would face Southwold 1.
I think it is safe to say that if someone had told us before the day’s play had started that we would make the Ipswich Seven’s final on our first attempt then we would have probably found that to be incredulous. But here we were in the Sevens final playing against Southwold 1 who would be the boys strongest opponents of the day.
So to the final game of the day, in more ways than one; the game commenced and Norwich started off with great intensity and commitment. It was clear though that Southwold 1 were an extremely well drilled team with some very capable and strong players. Although Norwich were initially able to hold back the Southwold attack it was not long before Southwold were able to penetrate Norwich’s defence and get over the goal line.
I’m not sure why it was but Norwich finally lost its cohesiveness, which it had previously had in bucket loads and started to make a few uncharacteristic handling mistakes, which gave Southwold 1 the upper hand.
Norwich fought bravely on and managed to pull a couple of try’s back however it was not enough and the boys lost to Southwold 1, 30 -10.
The boys were disappointed to lose in the final but they had an unbelievable day coming in as runners up in there first Sevens competition. Throughout the day they were a credit to Norwich Rugby Club and themselves, the intensity and work ethic they showed through out the day was amazing and to maintain this into the final is a real credit to them all.
A fantastic day boys I can’t tell you enough how proud we all were of your performance, you can walk away with your heads held high knowing that you have well and truly put yourselves on the Sevens rugby map in the Eastern Counties.