A lovely summers day with clear blue skies, little or no wind and a rock hard pitch set the scene for the Scottish U17’s first Hertfordshire and Middlesex league game of the season.
After an excellent build up to the match, which saw some of the players arrive two hours before kick off, the refs whistle signalled the start of what was to be a tough and very competitive game of rugby.
A tense first ten minutes in which both teams had equal possession of the ball resulted in a well worked try to Zac Roberts with Jonny Dawson adding the easy two.
15 minutes into the first half and the coaches on the sideline had their work cut out for them, as did the Kylie our super physio.
Fred Foot was suffering with blisters from his new white boots with Joe Theobald coming on for Fred.
The remainder of the first half was both a combination of excellent organisation and intensity in defence and quick thinking on attack.
Quick turnover ball and good support running resulted in two tries for Will Banes and James Ferguson.
Our discipline was under the spotlight yet again and the ref was having none of it.
The penalty count in the first half was well into double figures and this helped Fullerians stay in the game.
Going into half time we were playing with confidence and aggression with our tails up at 20-10.
The second half started with a similar intensity to the first and it wasn't long before our Kiwi flyer – Josh Apanui dotted down for a well worked team try.
The second rowers Will Banes and Tristian Davies were working hard in both set phase and open play and both made a huge impact with ball in hand.
The game plan of playing in their half was proving to be successful with a series of well placed kicks from both Ed Sanderson and James Ferguson.
With 20 mins to go and a lead of 34-10 the impact players came on.
Ollie Salmon, Seb (cowboy) Turner, Ben Bracewell and Brandon Prosser all made a difference when they entered the game and some good link work by the back three put James Ferguson away for the easiest of finishes – from our own 10 meter line!
The focus for the forwards at training over the past few weeks has been on the set piece and this really showed with a dominant scrum and lineout.
Excellent leadership from captain Joe Meredith and his vice Tom Henfrey meant the team never took their foot off the throttle and ran in two late tries to finish with a final score of 51-10.
This is an excellent result for our first league fixture and it sets the standard for the season.
All the hard work the players are putting in at training each week is really paying off and this team now has real momentum.
A big thank you to the coaching and medical staff for the dedication to the squad, the professionalism you all bring to the team is making a difference.
Man of the Match – Will Banes.