Tom Jameson U12 manager
‘Winter Breaks Hearts, But Not Our Valiant Resolve’
We put away the Christmas tree, the lights and the tinsel, and pulled out the old rugby kit. We dusted down the Black & Amber after what has seemed an impossibly long break, so long in fact that having packed away the festivities it was unclear whether we’d be the Christmas Fairies, or the North Stars as we tripped up to the Gwent valley to Blackwood on the gloomiest of mornings. Truth was this was our home fixture, a return battle after the scrap back in October that saw us end on the wrong side of just a 17-10 score. But such is January, and Hailey Park is floating downstream!
In order to get some game time we did ‘groundhog day’ and hit the road once more. Whatever the state of our home at CF14 the Blackwood pitch was many times worse. We were shocked! We wanted a game make no mistake but with no council to answer to Blackwood were able to give the go ahead on a pitch that was quite simply the worst we’ve ever been asked to play on. It resembled a farmyard in February; freezing mud and puddles, barely a blade of grass and a moonscape of a surface churned like the Somme by Saturday’s seniors. I feared we’d lose someone!
What we did lose however was the first try. Our now legendary slow starting team had offered a try last time out to Old Pens in about 20 seconds. Today Blackwood could only get the scoreboard moving after a turgid 31 seconds. Having turned the Old Pens around for a famous victory I hoped. But Blackwood have acquired a couple of new recruits since last we met; big running forwards of U14 size. They complemented their otherwise quite ordinary side and made the difference. Two tries became three before we switched on, but then we dug in. Archie Morgan and Ewan all putting bodies on the line to prevent another collapse like we’d seen against Rhiwbina and Penarth and when our defensive line pressure panicked Blackwood into a mistake, Ben Hembury was able to fly hack through and score. At 22-7 we were back in the game. Valiant midfield tackling and good defensive pressure kept the ordinary sized Blackwood boys at bay but in attack we were unable to get out of the ‘Cowshed’ mud and only the Blackwood giants got through to add further scores.
Archie’s last ditch try saving tackle when the game was already lost typified a fantastic spirit and a sturdy resolve. The Old Pens win had left it’s mark and we went down fighting. If only we could get Blackwood on a fast, dry, and flat track like Hailey Park in springtime and we’d be their match I’m sure, but in the bog of Blackwood that signalled the end of our ‘Winter Break’, only our ‘Resolve’ remained intact. Next time Dai!
Result:- Blackwood U12’s 39 – 7 Llandaff North U12’s
Tries:- B. Hembury
Conversion:- B. Yarwood
Man of the Match:- M. Strinati
Manager’s Player of the Day:- A.Baxter