26 September 2017

Saturday was an extremely good test for the Abingdon Rugby Club with 15 fixtures both home and away against Eton College. Eton are always a tough fixture not just because of the sheer number of boys that they have playing rugby, but their approach to rugby is very like minded, and I am pleased to say all matches were played in good spirit and manner.

The 1st XV, had a tough day and we will learn a lot from it. Having come off the back of an incredible away win at Berkhamsted two weeks ago the boys were looking forward to running out on Waste Court for the first official time this season. The game started off strongly with both sides putting together some exciting rugby, with Eton first to break the deadlock and they then made it 12-0 at half-time. The boys in pink and white understood the challenge that faced them and responded strongly with two tries in the first 5 minutes, from a strong run from Ed Hayes and a perfectly weighted cross field kick gathered by Ali Cornforth after some excellent attacking play. The score was 12-10 with everything to play for with 15 minutes to go. Unfortunately the game started to slip away as Eton gained momentum through their strong set piece work and powerful ball carriers to cross the try line twice more in the last quarter. The final score stood at 27-10.  The scoreline is not a good representation of the game itself, as Abingdon played some very exciting rugby in the style we wanted to play. This seemed to refelect many of the matches on the day at various age groups, where performances were good with much encouraging play. The 1st XV will certainly take lots of positives as well as many lessons from the match, but most importantly they know they are a side that can cause havoc when we play how we want to play. We will continue to learn and improve and hopefully show this in our next game vs Cheltenham.

The 2nd XV lost 14-39 to a strong Eton 2nd XV after an impressive win away at Berkhamsted two weeks previously. The Eton pack was impressive with size and organisation and started well. Abingdon came back into the match but ran out of time. The 3rd XV was strong and superb in defence going down 17-5 in a very good match. And our 4th XV lost 20-10 in a cracker of a match with Eton scoring two tries in the final couple of minutes of the game to snatch the win.

Our U16 A XV won a superb fixture away at Eton. An impressive display scoring a brace of tries in the final quarter. This is an excellent result and they remain unbeaten. Our 16 B XV lost 38-3 to a stronger more accurate Eton, and the C XV lost convincingly 57-0 against a very strong C XV. Two tough matches but ones where the boys never gave up.

U15 A XV lost a ding dong of a match where the lead exchanged hands five times, but unfortunately went down 33-22. This will no doubt motivate them all going into the Cheltenham fixture. Our U15 B XV won 19-7, the U15 C XV won 24-0, and U15 D XV won 54-0 in what were a superb set of results away from home, showing how much depth we have in this year group. All boys concerned should be very proud of these performances results.

The U14s played their first matches at Cox’s Field. All teams had very competitive matches, but unfortunately did not come on the right side of the results. Pleasingly the teams are improving a lot since their first school fixtures against Berkhamsted. The A XV lost 12-36, the B XV lost 7-34, the C XV lost 0-25, and the D XV lost 42-0. The tough games will bode well for the remainder of the season with some exciting matches coming up. Well done boys on a great effort with you first home matches.

All our teams learned a lot about about where they are, and now know what to work on and what needs to be improved before Cheltenham College this coming Saturday. Some really impressive performances and results at all age groups, but as mentioned particularly good wins for the U16 A XV and most of our U15 XVs both away from home – terrific results. The 1st XV will be training hard and looking to bounce back this coming weekend.

Please can I remind you all of our annual Touchliners black tie dinner being held on Saturday 4 November in the CMR and dining hall. We have England World Cup winner and British Lion Neil Back as our guest speaker, so it promises to be another fantastic night helping to fundraise for our rugby club as well as local charity. If you are keen to come please email [email protected] for more information. If you would like to support our club please sign up to Touchliners – please go to the webpage or email touchliners.

Mr M Gold, Director of Rugby

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