In preparation for their first season as ‘youth’ players, the 2016/17 season started early for the Under 13’s with fitness coach Abe Kerr running specialised preseason fitness training at Wrest Park, these were well attend by the squad all of whom seem to understand the importance of the sessions, the benefit would hopefully pay off on the bigger pitches this season.
As with previous seasons we were fortunate to have in excess of 30 boys registered to play, and looking forward to their first season in the HML league, under the guidance of coaches Darren Prosser & Gary Hobart. The early training sessions focused on the boys understanding the new rules, with the addition of a number 8, together with rule changes at the scrum and rucks and the increased pitch size.
With the numbers we have, the coaches are very keen to try and give each player as much game time as possible, either in A team fixtures or development games. It soon became apparent that being allocated to Pool 1 of the HML league wasn’t beneficial to the boys, so a number of extra friendly fixtures were arranged against more competitive opposition.
As the season developed we enjoyed fixtures against some of our traditional opponents but we also some ‘new’ teams with games against clubs including Amersham, Brackley, Peterborough Lions, BBOB, Buckingham etc. The commitment the boys have shown throughout the season has been really impressive, they have adjusted really well to what has been asked of them both on and of the pitch, a few have even taken a shower after a game! They definitely seem proud to be representing Ampthill Rugby Club.
One of the highlights of the season was in March, when we had the pleasure of hosting Fylde, who were on tour from Lancashire and combining it with the opportunity to watch their 1StXV get beaten on the Saturday. The fixture became a triangular event as we also joined by BBOB from Northampton. We played a total of three games managing to win one & lose one against Fylde and also beat Bebathe torrential rain throughout the morning failed to dampen our boy’s spirits or efforts, the Fylde team the beat were as strong as anything they come up against and it really showed, both to the coaches, but more importantly to themselves, how well they can play as a team.
The coaches are already starting to make plans for next season, when will play 15 a side rugby for the first time and welcome the addition of flankers to the scrum.
At the end of April, we are to touring in Wales, with fixtures at Abergavenny on Saturday, Bryncoch on Sunday and we finish off with a tour of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on the Monday. I am sure everyone involved with Under 13’s will join me in thanking Jo Randall for all her hard work in organising this seasons tour. I would also like to thanks Becky Kerr and her Fundraising team including Cath Rob,Ryan Tobias,Jo Randall,Adam Newland for all the time effort they have put in to raise a substantial amount of money for the age group, with bag packing, fun runs, booze sales, raffles, etc.A special mention also to Bradley Pollard for his record breaking sponsorship effort !!
U13 Team Manager