Spitfies went into the Colfes Rugby Festival all fired up ready for a fight, and in some cases had a fight. We were up against old enemies Old Elthamians, Sidcup, Blackheath and finally Beccahamians. The team came through battered but jubillant.
Against type the Spitfies went into this competition all fired up ready for a fight. First up was old friends and occasional enemies Old Elthamians, after a thrilling game The Spitfires walked away winners 5-0. Next up was Sidcup, this was a niggly game which saw three of our players injured, we lost 5-15. Blackheath then stepped up and with their usual flair tried to run the ball, again the Spits with dogged defence stepped up and won the match in the last gasps of the game.
As we had accrued the most points and wins we were through to final to face Beccahamians, we won 5-10. An excellent result and a lot of hard work from all in the team today.
A full match report will be forthcoming soon.
Full Match Report from roving reporter Leo:-
We began the day facing the daunting task of taking on Old Es, Sidcup and Blackheath and in all honesty I did not think it would end as it did.
First game we weathered early pressure, to establish a foothold through great rucking and a strong scrum, going in at half time level. But crucially the boys had the belief that they could win the game. Second half, they never took a backward step, every player stood up and was counted and it paid dividends. Archie made another trade mark burst up to and over the line and was held up by 3 OE players, Ollie S arrived to strip the ball and roll over for what was the winning try. Some great defending and good hard work ensured that we held onto our lead to record a significant victory and a great start to the day.
Next up was Sidcup, this was always going to be difficult given recent events. The lads needed to be on their game right from the word go. Unfortunately Sidcup were fired up for revenge and they pummelled our line from the start. They gained the upper hand in both ruck and scrum and inevitably crossed for the first score before half-time. The intensity of the Sidcup play completely knocked our guys for six, we conceeded a second early in the second half, before Ollie S crossed to spark a potential comeback. However this was shortlived as Sidcup ran in another try to leave the final score 1 - 3. We took a bit of a beating physically, with Jake coming off following a heavy knock and we lost Jack P to an off-ball tackle which left him unable to continue in the tournament. We also lost Ciaus to the lurgey following this game, (he was pretty green looking, hopefully he has recovered in time for school).
The final game against Blackheath was now crucial, with the whole group evenly balanced. With spirits low after the mauling by Sidcup, this was going to be as much a mental test, as a physical one. But boy did the lads respond. They got straight into Blackheath from the off and we were soon 1 - 0 up through Archie. We worked tirelessely throughout the first half, the scrum and rucking again to the fore, along with some great tackling out wide to snuff out any danger. We again were in the ascendency in the second half, but had an early warning of just how slender our advantage was, when Blackheath broke out from their line and only a great cover tackle from Ollie S prevented a try in the corner. Blackheath did draw level shortly after when again a breakaway runner made it across in the corner. But again the lads dug deep, a great pick and drive move up the field with some quick recycling and slick close passing saw Ollie crash over in the corner for the winning score. A great try built on teamwork and controlled rucking.
The two wins combined with a losing point awarded in the Sidcup game, gave us 9 pts. Sidcup and OE's played out a draw in their final group match, so we edged Sidcup who finished on 8pts (1 win 2 draws).
Our first cup final against Beccs. With a reshuffled squad ready to take on one of the best teams in the area, we were just pleased to be there, anything more was going to be a big bonus. The boys took to the field fired up and determined to give everything they had and boy did they deliver. They worked hard all around the field repelling the best Beccs could muster. Again our rucking and scrum were to the fore, along with some good breaks from defence, the confidence grew, Archie crashed over for our first try, now we had something to hold onto. We got to half-time our lead intact, it was clear in the huddle that they believed they could take the game and went out ready to give 100%. A second try followed early in the second half, this was looking promising. But you cant keep a team as good as Beccs down all the time and they struck back with their first try of the game, sucked us in and got it wide to score. How would we respond? With determination and cheered on by a racous band pf parents, we extended our lead again, 3 - 1. Faced with the expected Beccs response we defended courageously to a man, driving them back and away from our line time after time, last ditch tackles out wide, the clock was counting down, finally Beccs crossed again 3 - 2 and 30 seconds to go. Final play of the match was a Beccs scrum at halfway, they recycled then hit a wall of blue, turned over the ball which was dispatched over the touchline, quickly followed by the fulltime whistle.
The joy and pride that erupted around and on the pitch was incredible. The team showed great character to come back from a real psychological and physical beating from Sidcup, to put in two immense performances which rightly resulted in overall victory. Great performances all round: