BERFC u16s vs Romford
By pete hofmann
Anger Is An Energy
R&GP RFC U16 17 - 15 BERFC
Despite half-term absences and some last minute dropouts, 14 players made it to the windswept Essex marshes for a close and somewhat tetchy encounter with Romford & Gidea Park.
This was an opportunity for some fringe players to get significant game time against big, organised and spirited opposition, in challenging conditions as a force ten gale blew the length of the pitch.
Barnet playing with the wind at their backs in the first half took some time to get going. Not so R&GP, whose back line prevented Barnet progress with their high pressure blitz defence and some big forwards who took it in turns to pick and go at the base of the ruck when in possession.
Nonetheless it was Barnet who were trying to force the pace, with Ed's sterling work stealing in the line-out, Albert's committed tackling and Iketchi making ground at 8. Just as it looked like a sluggish Barnet start might still yield points, a missed tackle out wide allowed R&GP's speedy winger to break through and score. Worse was to come at the start of the second half when R&GP's busy scrum half and big second row combined to score an excellent try from close in.
Stung by being 12-0 behind and galvanised by a couple of, ahem, 'contentious' refereeing decisions, Barnet showed up. Some intelligent kicks behind the blitz defence by Ted almost got both Louie and Ben into the corners and as the forwards started to exert control, Charlie, Ted, Callum, Tom & Leevin were putting together some intricate and incisive backs moves. But the R&GP defence stretched as it was, held firm.
That is until Thomas NS showed real athletic determination to make yards and then spin under his tacklers to score. Five minutes later more excellent handling and combination back play put Louie into the same corner. As Barnet were pressing for the winner, a midfield error allowed R&GP to break away and score the decisive try under the posts. There was still time for the excellent Tom Watt to cut through the opposition backline and score, but on a blustery day there was little chance to add the extras from the corner.
So a narrow 17-15 defeat but plenty of genuine positives to take, particularly for the second half performance and the appearance during a match of back line routines developed on the training pitch. The boys were annoyed at the loss, but that's rugby, and this sort of game will surely stand the squad in good stead for bigger challenges in the future.
Man of the match goes to Callum Bremner for soft hands, good game understanding and some great passes .