Westcombe Park win 2 and lose 3 at the Kent 7's tournament at Canterbury RFC by Tom Barrett
By Rebecca Cahill
Ralph Bags 9 Tries in an Energy Sapping Day
Wolves opened this competition well on a coldish, breezy Spring day although tantalisingly lost the first game from a winning position in the last second against a strong Gravesend team (who had trounced Westcombe in the last 13 a side game). Unfortunately Coombe never quite matched this excellent opening performance although did themselves proud and there were some good moments in all of the remaining games; as can be seen from the scores each match was closely fought:
Gravesend 19 Westcombe Park 14
Westcombe Park 49 Aylesford B 0
Old Alleynians 12 Westcombe Park 7
*Tonbridge Wells 4 tries Westcombe Park 2 tries
*Old Dartfodians 2 tries Westcombe Park 4 tries
*Apologies but a beer may have been drunk towards the end of the day and some conversions/final scores missed!
If there were any learning points from the day it was to move the ball from side to side more as when Wolves did this they usually opened up the opposition as Westcombe kept good width throughout. Sometimes in defence Wolves players became isolated and would do well to hunt more in twos in defence – easier said than done I know on such a big pitch! Coombe were out-scrummed and out-rucked at times which gave possession away. Every boy did themselves proud here though and there was some great moments in every game, great fight, excellent fitness, good togetherness and some brilliant rugby on show – well done to each and every one:
Unfortunately Henry managed to injure himself on his bike the day before but supported his teammates well throughout the day and even joined in the warm ups!
Ralph’s athletic prowess really came to the fore here and he rounded off an already impressive season with some fantastic play in both attack and defence. As well as stopping a few scores with last ditch tackles Ralph racked up an outstanding 9 tries which I hope his dad is paying out on (!) often cutting in from the wing and gliding almost at ease through any defensive cover. One of the moments of the day was in the final game when he made up 20 yards on the large opposition winger who seemed home and hosed and who himself was no slouch – Ralph tackled him right on the line and although the Dartfordian player scored he was dazed for a while from the tackle before finally getting to his feet.
A solid performance in a format that suited him, Christopher was full of running and made some trademark tackles and although he broke through the lines a couple of times couldn’t manage a score despite a generous try bonus on offer! Made a couple of assists in the final third and against Gravesend he set up Hayden’s score after a good burst through having been fed from Jack Piller. On finishing a post-match burger in the car he immediately fell into a deep sleep all the way home so definitely put a shift in!
Guided the troops well throughout the day not only on the pitch but also in the warm-up’s. Probed well as always and has mastered the handoff to buy time and create space and put up some good defence up too. Assisted scores throughout the day not least in looping “miss” passes out to Ralph on the wing and kicked some decent conversions too in windy conditions.
Gained ground in the middle all day and was competitive both when Coombe had the ball with some barnstorming runs and also in defence making some typically strong tackles. Seemed to be nursing a knock but battled on well.
Performed well in a good all round display doing all the basics well of passing, moving and putting in tackles. Got caught late in the Tonbridge Wells game off the ball which was badly refereed (by a 17 year old full of the arrogance of youth!) but thankfully was given the all clear in A&E post game.
Jamie is great to watch when in full flow and played well especially when coming from deep running the ball well and starting attacks with good insightful passing. He also made a couple of great conversions in the latter two games and is another well suited to the sevens format also defending well when required.
What a competitor! Although Tommy was busy in attack it was his defence that caught the eye making two try saving tackles the first after running 40 yards to nail a Gravesend player who was odds on to score. On another occasion he again looked second best but showed good anticipation running into space where the attacker was running to rather than going for the man and again stopped a try. Took a stud to the leg in the OAs game and was tenderly carried off the pitch by Tim Peppiatt!
Every time Ollie got the ball he looked a threat and scored 3 on a day when he took a couple of knocks and looked to be on his last legs. He saved his best to the last game bagging a brace of tries – 0 to 60 in 3 seconds – if Ralph is a Rolls Royce then Ollie is an F1 car!
Another strong performance today - Jack has mastered the sidestep and seems to find gaps that don’t exist in the middle of the pitch, has an impressive turn of pace and also puts in tackles. Bagged a hat-trick of tries against Aylseford including an interception and of course a trademark step and spin through the middle. Got caught by a handoff to the face in the Tonbridge Wells game which the ref inexplicably allowed!
Looks well suited to this format and got a well-deserved score in the trouncing of Aylesford making a good angled run through the centre. Battled well in the scrum.
Hayden got the opening try of the day against Gravesend running it home well down the left and although he didn’t add to that score he played well on the day, creating space for others, switching well with Christopher on the left and setting up Ralph on at least one occasion. He also played his part defensively in an unselfish display.