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Minis & Juniors Tours Reports

Shipston-on-Stour RUFC Rugby Tour to Oswestry
The International Minis Rugby, IMR, Festival, Oswestry 30th March – 1st April 2012

100 players and a further 150 supporters travelled from Shipston to Oswestry on tour to play in the IMR Festival.  The summary of our achievements by age group;

U7
The Under 7s had a great weekend. With two teams entered there was non-stop action on the pitches. The players’ enthusiasm was brilliant; every time we needed a volunteer to play a sea of hands went up, and quite a few of the 7s played for the Under 8s with great success.
Carl Starkey's A team came second and Mark Ashworth’s B team fourth in a tournament of six teams.
Despite their exertions on the pitch the players were enthusiastic dancers at the Saturday disco. Thank you to all the parents for their enthusiasm, help and support

U8
The U8's took 2 squads to the tournament and played 4 hard fought games each against teams from Ealing (x2), Oswestry, and Winnington Park.
The quality of play from both Shipston teams was excellent, with some outstanding attacking play from Helena West, Reuben Webb, William Connor and Harry
Hutchings who were well supported by the running of Oliver Loudon, Sam Jervis, and Connar Aitchison. After a number of close defeats and draws the Shipston teams ended the tournament in 5th=. Top try scorer was Helena West with 9 tries, a brilliant achievement by the only girl in the whole U8 tournament. A fantastic time was had by both the kids and the parents on and off the field of play.

U9
The U9’s finished third behind Ealing’s two teams, beating Oswestry, Winnington Park and Whitchurch comfortably.  In total 31 tries were scored by Shipston U9’s, conceding only 10. A great team effort with all players displaying phenomenal tackling, passing and good support running.   The team consisted of George Hendy, Charlie Yates, Charlie Dews, Dylan Williams, Archie Wood, Scott Francis, Fergus Milligan, Charlie Bygate, Santi Kenneford, Jack Deans and Lizzie Pocknell (the only U9 girl in the tournament).  The support from all parents and their families was first class, especially Arlie Williams who was injured and not allowed to play.

U10
The U10s bring home the silverware from the club tour to Oswestry.  We fielded A and B teams with only 16 players and by judicious management were able to contest all 10 matches. The B side started brightly, but eventually lost to Oswestry by 2 tries to nil, whilst the A side beat a strong Ealing team before taking on a tough and well-drilled Wolverhampton side in a bruising encounter, which required five replacements for injury. In spite of living off scraps of possession, Shipston made good use of their speed and skill out wide and defended bravely to win by a slightly flattering 6-0. The B team then took on the mighty Wolverhampton in a display of immense courage and determination, leading 2-0 at half-time, only to go down still fighting by a heart-breaking 3-2. However, their upward curve continued with a well-deserved 4-4 draw against Ealing at the end of the day. In between these highlights, the A team chalked up a victory over Winnington Park to finish Saturday undefeated.

By Sunday morning, injury and absence had reduced the squad to 14, and we lost the first match to Winnington Park. The following match was quite a different story: the team defended heroically in a brutal contest with a very physical Oswestry side on an unfeasibly small pitch, holding the score to 0-0 with full time approaching , when they found the determination to mount one last desperate attack, drove upfield and scored the winning try on the final whistle, securing a place in the final. No time for celebration, as the B team play-off for 5th/6th place started 20 mins later and in a hard-fought game, we secured a victory with their best performance of the tournament. The A team final against Ealing was won by three top quality tries to nil, thanks to plenty of possession from some superb scrummaging against a far heavier pack, coupled with excellent support and teamwork in loose play, plus a massive defensive effort.
The players blended impressively into a single squad and played for each other with passion and commitment. They can be deservedly proud of a significant achievement and had a fantastic weekend away.

U11
Shipston U11’s enjoyed a very successful tour, finishing as runners up. A great team spirit shone through in all the games.
We started with a hard fought 1 try each draw against Ealing B, where a determined Shipston pack drove us to the line in the last seconds and fed the ball out wide for us to score with the games last play. We were to later win our second game against Ealing B 2-1.
Our next game was against Ealing A where we were unfortunate to be 2-0 down at half time. A hard fought second half by both teams so no further score. During our rematch against them on Sunday morning we were 2-1 down and on top of the game when one of the Ealing props was injured in a scrum. The game was unfortunately abandoned at that stage and we were all very pleased to hear later that the Ealing player was OK.
We had two excellent games against the hosts Oswestry and ran out 3-0 winners on the Saturday and 4-0 winners on the Sunday. Both games were played in a great spirit.
We were also joined by Ruthin on the Sunday and played out a very entertaining and end-to-end game against them, eventually winning by 2 tries to 1.
Apart from the rugby highlights the U11 squad took over the dance floor at the disco on Saturday night, managing to drag in all 3 coaches and a lot of the parents. A great time was had by all and we look forward to our last minis tour in 2013.
U12
A record number from this age group signed up for their final opportunity to go on a minis tour, so we entered two sides
A Team: Kieran Parker, Freddie Venables, Charlie Hutchings (c), George Loat, Alex Matthews, Angus Smith, Oliver Cox, Isaac Rowles, Matt Speechley, Mikey Redmile, Rory Geary Heaton, Tom Hooker, Cameron Stiles
B Team: Harry Mack, Sam Righton, Oliver Isles, Sam Farrell, Edward Perkin, Will Crawshaw, Leon Daniels, Sam Creagh, Fraser Lindsay (c), James Dockar-Drysdale, Jacob West
The B team found it tough going against high calibre opposition but never gave up.  A special mention to “Little Will” Crawshaw, who as always took the game to opponents much larger than him, Leon Daniels who, despite being diminutive even by fly-half standards, gamely stepped into the front row for one match in place of our injured hooker, and Sam Creagh who tackled ferociously throughout and thoroughly deserved his promotion to the A team for their play-off match.
After an increasingly comfortable series of victories on the Saturday, the A team knew it would all come down to their Sunday morning matches against the other top sides in the tournament, Ealing and Winnington Park.  In what many observers judged to be their best performance ever, they battled to a 0-0 draw against eventual champions Ealing, demonstrating huge passion and commitment and no little skill.  A win or draw against Winnington Park would clinch their place in their final.  They started well, going 10-0 up with two well taken tries.  However the boys’ exertions against Ealing began to take their toll, conceding two soft tries either side of half time.  Despite being camped on our own try line for most of the remainder of the second half, it looked like our valiant defence would be enough to clinch a draw, but the boys were to learn just how cruel sport can sometimes be.  A superbly executed cross-field kick by the Park scrum-half from the final play of the match allowed their winger to score in the corner, consigning us to the third/fourth place play-off.
Yet again the boys showed tremendous spirit, bouncing back from their earlier defeat to clinch third place with a thumping 5 tries to nil win against hosts Oswestry.
Under 15s...