2 November 2017
At the start of half term 40 boys and six coaches set off in four mini buses on our South West tour. The whole squad had been improving since the start of the season and we were interested to see how we would perform against the three schools we would be playing… and of course have some fun along the way.
Monday 16 October
After a two hour journey we arrived at Millfield School who were kindly hosting us for a training session en route. We also played a game of touch rugby against Millfield followed by a delicious lunch. Before we departed we were given a tour of the school by one of Millfield's 1st XV players.
Next up that afternoon we played our first match of the tour against Blundell’s. The playing conditions were testing for both sides with strong winds. The game was played in four quarters to even up the impact of the weather on each team’s performance.
The A team lost 24-15. The As had a strong start and achieved an early score. However from the second quarter we gradually lost focus and cohesion. We were very dominant at the breakdown, but struggled with handling in the conditions. Many of our passes being blown around. In defence we lacked organisation and more often than not Blundells had an overlap. A significant aspect we highlighted from that game was our mindset going into the game. We needed to keep playing our best throughout the duration of the game to win.
The B team had a convincing win over Blundell’s stopping the match at half term after being over 40 points up. The teams were then mixed up and reselected from players from both teams. This proved to be not only great fun but extremely competitive with boys playing in many positions and scoring some top tries. The big thing with touring is the experience you get of meeting new people and this certainly was one way to bond with new schools!
Tuesday 17 October
In the morning we went laser tagging after a pleasant breakfast at the Taunton Premier Inn. We quickly discovered that some boys had a better shot with the laser gun than others. A fun and enjoyable activity.
Then in the afternoon we took part in raft building and attempted to use our creations on the canal. The squad was split in four to build four rafts. It was a really good activity in terms of working as a team. Surprisingly some rafts stayed relatively intact when tested. However there were still rafts that didn’t quite work as hoped!
Later in the evening we went bowling. Very good fun, and we quickly found out who was competitive. There were some close victories and some not so close ones!
Wednesday 18 October
We set off from our hotel to do a high ropes course. We did a number of different courses, with some races and many different obstacles. The objective was to improve our balance, coordination and teamwork.
In the afternoon we went to King’s Taunton to play Bournside and the hosts.
A team v King’s Taunton
The A team played King’s Taunton first and won 0-7. The first half was a bit slow moving and there were a number of penalties against us and for us. However when we got into the second half we played much better. The forwards competed hard in contact and made good ground. The backs made some good plays based on the drills we had been working on. Then in the last play Charlie Lloyd put a crossfield kick in for James Connelly to finish off.
A team v Bournside
Second up the As played Bournside and achieved a convincing win of 25-5. The first half saw a strong start from Abingdon. Abingdon had most of the possession and made some good pieces of play. Taking the ball forward and making many off loads more often than not resulting in a score. Going into the second half feeling confident we built upon what we had already done, playing set pieces and creating space.
B team vs Taunton
The match started strongly and Abingdon powered forward creating some excellent try scoring opportunities and finishing in the corner after some wonderful close forward play. The team secured victory in the second half with a superbly well worked finish in the corner. Winning the match 10-0.
B team vs Bournside
The match was played at a high tempo with some huge tackles and tremendous physicality. The opposition were effectively playing their A team against the B team due to only having one side in the school, but the boys stuck with the big ball carriers and persevered. Scoring to finish the match 20-5 loss.
I think the tour gave us all, players and coaches, a chance to get to know each other better off the field. The squad developed on the field as well, having the confidence to try new pieces of play. Everyone developed and learnt new skills, for example I learnt the importance of being on time. Overall the tour helped us develop as a whole squad in the few days we were away. Thank you also to Mr Broadbent, Mr Birkbeck, Mr Gold, Mr Hunter, Mr Bignell and Mr Adamson for supporting us over the few days.
Written by U14 A XV Captain, Cameron Wood