We were playing on 3 pitches, 2 which started the day firm and dry and an astro pitch, which the team found strange and hard, when they were tackled to the ground!!
Looking at the tournament list we had some very difficult teams to play, including Kidderminster, Luctonians and Old Hales, but our team was up for the competition and eager for some wins.
After a very good warm up and team bonding session, the first 7 made their way to their first match, against one of the 2 Kidderminster teams, a team made up of giants both in height and width. Whitchurch however used this to their advantage, ensuring the ball was past wide and to the agile quick players, who ran in 5 tries. The Whitchurch defence stood fast with solid tackles preventing any tries being scored past them.
Match 2 was played on the very dry hard earthy pitch, which soon became a mud bath as the first of the afternoons storms hit us. This match was against Bromyard, whose coach insisted on refereeing, we soon realised he obviously hadn’t attended the coaching briefing and missed the rule on 7 tackles = turnover ball and we were only playing 8 minute matches, a game doesn’t finish when your team scores!!! However, the Whitchurch team were able to adjust their game play, put in some very strong tackles to ensure numerous turnover balls and went onto win 4 tries to 3.
After a 10-minute break Whitchurch played 3 matches on the bounce. The first was against Old Hales, a match we expected to be strong and hard. The match started tough with both teams playing with equal passion, Old Hales broke the stalemate first. However, Whitchurch didn’t drop their heads, they picked up the pace and started moving the ball around the pitch to go forward and win the match 3 tries to 1.
The next match was against Luctonians second team which Whitchurch won convincingly running in 4 tries and stopping Luctonians from scoring anything. Our final match in this group was against the Luctonians A team, a small, nimble, tight team who were obviously well drilled and up for the win. This match was played on the astro turf. Whitchurch worked hard on their offload before tackles, with strong hands and good side stepping to move forward. In defence they moved up as a unit and put in hard and fast tackles, unfortunately Luctonians A scored first. With the matches only being 8 minutes long and both teams matched on skill and strength it looked like Whitchurch would face their first loss, however with seconds to spare, Henry Appleby received the ball, dodged through the full Luctonians team and ran over half the length of the pitch to score and bring the match to a one all draw and the final whistle was blown, to cheers from an ecstatic bunch of Whitchurch parents.
Whitchurch had a well-deserved break to take on much needed fuel before heading into their final 2 matches, the first against Pershore was an exemplar of perfection and resulted in Whitchurch running in 4 tries and Pershore not scoring at all. It was at this point Storm Katie decided to hit us, the Whitchurch players were still up for playing their final match but Kidderminster were not quite so excited about Whitchurch’s unbeaten record and decided to forfeit match giving Whitchurch a sixth win.
Player of the tournament was awarded to Charlie Gallagher for his commitment to every single game, his consistent tackling and his speed to land on every dropped ball which enabled Whitchurch to constantly turn over ball. The other 9 players were – Henry Appleby, Esme Ashley, Jack Bell, Max Clarke, Josh Hares, Harvey Leonard, George Owen, Josh Williams and Thomas Wynn.
Our thanks go to the constant support and training the team received from our three coaches - Rachel Ashley, Tom Hares and Phil Wynn. And to our parents who dedicated their time and commitment towards the players and the club.
Updated 16:12 - 2 Jun 2016 by Jane Kay