U12s Credit to our club

Ashford Under 12s recently travelled to Old Elthamians to participate in a festival. Having taken on some of the biggest clubs West Kent can offer, they averaged 13 Tries for and only 3 against. An absolutely monumental effort.

We as a club are extremely proud of our youth system, which goes on to provide over 90% of our 1st team squad. And having read the match reports, many of these players will go far within the game.

Head Coach Scott Booth’s report on each of their matches are as follows:

Game 1:

Ashford 1 v 1 Westcombe Park.

A hard fought game. WP having the advantage of already having their eye in and a game under their belt. One of our weaknesses has been getting fired up and ready for kick off. This wasn’t a problem this week. The lions roar squeeze from our lot before kick off showed everyone within hearing range that we were ready. We scored first and we scored well. Some beautiful play against a very defensive WP who had just been held to a draw with Tunbridge Wells. WP came at us hard and fast when given the opportunity and had amazing support desperate for the win. A win they never got!!! We held them to a draw to claim our first 2 points for the day. If any of our boys weren’t awake yet, they were now!

Game 2:

Ashford 6 v 0 Bromley.

We gave the boys a more focused game plan for this one. In both halves of the WP game, the action had lended itself to the lower left corner of the pitch. The slope had clearly played a part in dictating the movement of the game. We started with the slope in our favour and Sam Knighton was encouraged to kick to chasers in the bottom left corner. “We want 3 Tries on them in the first half if you can boys, then when they have the slope, we become a fortress!!!!”. We scored 6 in the first half! So mechanical was our effort, I was able to wander down to the corner they were scoring in and stand ready with my phone out to take pics. I got a few but in my excitement each time, they are mainly of my own feet! In the second half, Bromley were losing the will. They looked disengaged and unhappy. We agreed with them that they would ‘declare’ at 6-0 and in return, we’d take a couple of players off for the second half. We played the second half with 10 men and no wingers. I think we scored another couple of Tries that don’t show on the official count. Bromley couldn’t claw it back but they were very grateful for the gesture. New friends made ‘up the road’.

Game 3:

Ashford 6 v 0 Beccahamians.

I think we all expected more of a fight in this one. Beccs had lost a couple of players due to injury, one being carted off with a suspected broken ankle by the ambulance staff. They gave a great account of themselves considering, better than the scoreline reflects in my opinion. In the second half they had two more kids carried off. Same as before, we called the game at 6-0 and then took a couple of our players off to even up the sides and allow the game to continue. Their kids still wanted to play so it’s the least we could do. It’s here, being critical, that our plan came slightly unstitched. Game 1 and 2 had been textbook. At the start of Game 3 and having only conceeded a single Try so far, a bit of the ole white-line-fever started to creep in and increasingly, we started to see a bit of selfish play. It’s tough. If you have the ability to stick 10 points on a team and get a bit of glory, that’s all well and good. Looks great in the family photo album. The trick is to know when not to do it and that’s when you come up against a more formidable foe…..

Game 4:

Ashford 0 v 2 Tunbridge Wells.

….cometh the formidable foe. Tunbridge Wells are a well drilled unit. They draw players from a much larger pool than us and they kicked off with the same pace and fury we’d brought to Bromley and Beccahamians. Within one minute they’d put a Try on us, only our second conceded of the day and you could see it visibly rattle our boys. Within a couple more minutes they’d done it again. This fired the lads up and they were determined to not let any more through. Some beautiful textbook link up play through the hands saw us get within spitting distance of their Try line in our preferred corner, but the white line fever kicked in once more and we ran 3 or 4 unsupported phases back into the same defenders in the same corner… all whilst having a screaming 3 man overlap desperate to get hands on the ball for an easy score. When we do this against a side that, to be fair, were simply better than us, it just doesn’t work! Eventually they ripped it off us and back we go to defending. Had we scored that Try, would the momentum have shifted? Who knows. Tunbridge Wells were better than us and that’s that. We were particularly disappointed to see that they were still playing that lad that deliberately kneed the WP kid in the back in the earlier game….and we were particularly disappointed to see that we somehow played the first 3-4 minutes of the second half with only 11 players on the field. But. BUT, at the end of the day, the boys put nothing but 110% effort in and gave a great account of themselves. The style of play we used in the last game, we can correct with time. The strategy we wanted to see, will take months if not years to truly perfect. The effort and the passion that they played with however, could not be called into question.

We came away having had a great day with some real terrific moments of Rugby played. If you’d asked me to write in a secure envelope before the games, the scores that we would have walked away with, I wouldn’t have had us with a For/Against ratio of 12 tries to 3 against 4 big names in Kent Rugby. We leave with lessons learnt and ideas on how to address them before we get to Round 2. We also know now that we will be playing in the 3rd tier of the Kent Tournament and we stand a really REALLY good chance of going all the way to the final and coming away with some silverware!!!

Thanks everyone that came and please pass on our thanks to the boys for being such a pleasure to Coach. They make us and our club so proud. I saw flashes of hissy fits and ill discipline around the grounds yesterday but none of it came from our lot. They are a tremendous team and genuinely work so well with each other. I hope one day they realise just how lucky they are!


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