U14 Rugby Tour to Worcestershire

31 October 2018

On Monday morning, we all arrived at school with our bags and all we would need for the next three days. It was an early start for a holiday but we set off in the minibuses for our first match, RGS Worcester. When we arrived the weather was, well, very bad and for the first time in the season we had to play in bad weather. With the added fact we had been sitting in a bus for the last two hours it took a while for us to warm up and we had a slow start. Thankfully we had a lot of time before the match to switch on. When the opposition came and we were just about to play, the weather was still bad, so our hopes of it clearing were gone, we would have to deal with it.

U14 A match v RGS Worcester

The game had a slow start from us, with us conceding very early on from putting ourselves under pressure. Then after freeing ourselves up and playing where the space was we began to score some tries. We had some strong line breaks by Callum Aiken and Harvey Vinton and powerful runs by Josh Mensah. We went into the second half a few tries up.

In the second half we started to try and preserve space on the outside, letting our faster players run. One thing that the opposition did very well was taking quick tap penalties, catching us out many times for not getting back ten. This led to them getting another try. In the end I think we could have played better than we did but overall it was a good performance from everyone but especially Tom Perrott and Freddie Badcock for taking the kicks.

U14 B match v RGS Worcester

Overall in this match against RGS we played well as individuals and we had a few good team tries. The overall score was 64-10 to Abingdon as we breezed past this opposition. Personally the best try for me was the first one. We drew their defence over to one side and then spread it with quick hands to the wing, where we scored in the corner. At halftime we gave ourselves challenges, such as make at least two offloads or score off a kick…

Lots of players played in positions that they were not used to as well. For example we had our scrum half playing flanker and a centre playing fullback. We conceded two tries which were mainly due to missed tackles on their larger player. However we easily won with lots of good individual runs and as I said, a few good team tries. This was a good start to the tour.

After the game we had an evening of go karting and laser tag, both very fun and exciting activities and surprisingly competitive. We finished the evening with pizza, it was a good end to the first day.

The second day was team building, a mixture of many different team oriented activities but all we really knew going into it was that we were going to get wet…   

Firstly, we did raft building but before we got to that, we needed to learn the basics of paddling, so we got into canoes. For me, being on the water is just normal, so this was something that I was used to but I know for some others that this was new and the raft building was going to be a challenge. We had rope, wood, and barrels and we had to make a raft, after learning some knew knots (square lashings) we got on with building the raft, after tying knots and getting rope burn, we tested them and they all worked surprisingly well.

Then we had high ropes and crate stacking, a hard but fun activity that tested our balance and teamwork. I think the highlight was the high rope swing, with some memorable moments such as the time when Mr Davies and Mr Birkbeck did the swing… I’m not sure any of us will forget that!

After the high ropes and activities we went to the escape rooms, something very new to alot of us, but very fun at the same time, testing our problem solving skills. It was a good experience for everyone. After that we went climbing, something that challenged us all physically but it was good fun.

In the evening we went to Nandos, with half of us thinking we could take much more spice than we actually could, this was a very good end of the 2nd day.

For the final day, we were going to play Malvern College. From what we knew, a very strong rugby school. In the morning we went to visit Worcester Warriors stadium. This was a very good experience for everyone, to be able to be shown around a big rugby stadium and learn about the new techniques for artificial pitches and meet one of the players.

After looking around we went to one of their artificial training pitches to do a pre match training session, then travelled to Malvern College for the matches.

U14 A v Malvern College

After a short bus journey we got to the school and got ready for the match. We noticed early that the pitch was on a fairly steep slope, and for the first half we were going uphill, so we knew it would be hard. As the match started, we were pushed back into our 22 very quickly and the speed of the play shocked us all, and very quickly in we conceded a try. This made us play harder, we weren't planning on losing our winning streak and we kept hold of the ball, moving up the field slowly. It was getting to the end of the first half and we were still looking for our first try. All we needed was just one line break but we did not get it, we went into the second half one try down.

We knew we were on top going into the second half, we just needed that try, but this half we had the hill. We got off to a quick start and got down into their half and after hitting their line, I managed to get through and score our first try, this lifted the team and our confidence was up. After that the trys began to role in, we managed to get round their wings many times with Callum Aiken and Harvey Vinton hitting hard lines, as well as Tom Perrott putting in some good kicks. It was a team performance where everybody played very well and we should all be proud, coming away with a strong win.

U14 B v Malvern College

In this match we came up against an apparently unbeaten Malvern College side. We lost this game 24-17 but apart from a few early tries on their behalf it was a very evenly matched game. After going 12-0 down we battled back and scored a converted try just before the break. We knew that if we scored the next try of the game it would definitely be game on. However, Malvern scored a try early into the second half and from then on it was a difficult match for Abingdon. We went 24-7 down and thought it was game over. Then we battled back and just before the final whistle we made the scoreline 24-17 with two well worked tries. Unfortunately it was not enough to secure a win but it was definitely a good way to finish the tour. After the match we had some pasta and garlic bread and we were on our way home.

Thank you to staff for giving up their holiday to take us on tour. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. It was the end to an excellent rugby tour with all boys having a wonderful time. We look forward to fixtures in the next few weeks against Eton College and Radley College.

Tour report and U14 A match reports by Thomas Robson. U14 B match reports written by Samuel Houldsworth-Bianek.

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