U14s finish the season with a win
By Richard Culver
A physical development match against a committed Wythenshawe side, whose direct style made them tricky opponents.
A disjointed game, with lots of new combinations and positional changes, ensuring everyone had plenty of game time.
A good squad, although the bank holiday meant that we were without 4 regular starters, Wythenshawe arrived with 13 so each 20 minute period saw a couple of the boys swap shirts to ensure 15 a side and get some different perspectives!
The squad was: Leon, Charlie, Ethan, Dan, Eoin, Azzane, Will (c), Yousuf, Jack, Charlie B, Cian, Tom, Alastair, George, Jacob, Oscar, Ali, Rafi, Matthew.
Wythenshawe scored three tries, using their big pack effectively, with some direct running and a strong scrum. The MV tackling was a bit tentative and the opposition were able to make big dents in a rather poorly organised and at times weak defensive line. Again, forwards not prepared to get low allowed some cheap turnovers, and whilst Tom in particular was happy to put the big hits in, the forwards didn't, and had Wythenshawe played a bit more rugby, and used the ball more, they may have added to their tally.
With the ball, MV looked to play with pace, keeping the ball alive and through the hands. At times we were guilty of over playing, offloading when building phases may have been safer and some poor handling stopped a lot of moves.
Having said that the home side scored 7 tries, Ethan levelling Wythenshawe's early effort with a simple finish after a penalty, followed by a Will score after excellent work from Leon and Cian. Jack slotted both conversions to open a 14-5 lead.
Azzane and Tom then combined to find room for Cian to score.
Dan, who had an excellent match with the ball added a deserved fourth with a powerful run, Charlie converting. Jacob added the fifth, streaking down the blind side for a trademark score. Wythenshawe got their second to leave the score at 31-10, and Matthew was unlucky not to get his first try after a good move saw him stopped just short.
The game was pretty attritional, Cian suffering a nasty knock, was carried off, Ethan and Will took big knocks and Wythenshawe also had a few visibly walking wounded as MV started to put their tackles in.
The home pack decided to step up their efforts in the set piece and a scrum was nicked against the head, Charlie B broke and Matthew took the ball on, and he delivered a lovely inside pass to Jacob for a simple finish in the corner.
Will, enjoying a brief spell at 13, and showing a few of his teammates the benefits of straight running, fixing the man and then passing, grabbed his second, before Wythenshawe rallied for a converted score at the death. 41-17 the final score.
As said, positional changes and a few absences prevented some fluency, but the season has been a long one and it was a big win against a very physical side containing a few older players.
Defensively Tom put in a huge shift and was the man of the match in the backs with Rafi going close, Will had a good game up front and just edged Leon in the pack, mainly down to his stint in the centres where he was excellent.