The transition from U6 to U7 was a big one. Knowing that there would be many fixtures, that the games needed to have real structure, that the children would need to develop their skills and play to laws and rules, meant the coaching team had to hit the ground running. I needn’t have been worried. The kids have loads of potential and this soon became evident in the first few weeks of training. We soon hosted our first game against Olney. This would set the standard and allow us to compare how our kids perform against a team with similar numbers on roll to ourselves. The children were great in that first fixture and this has simply grown from week to week. Against teams such as Bedford, Buckingham, Luton, Northampton, Towcester and St Albans the children continued to develop skills of passing, catching, dodging, spatial awareness, tagging, defensive lines, formations, team work, invading spaces etc….. But perhaps more importantly they were bonding, forming relationships, developing friendships, socialising, sharing, understanding and caring about each other.
We entered festivals at Stockwood Park, where, despite the weather and conditions the standard of the rugby was amazing. In one particular game between Ampthill and Luton RFC the referee from Bedford Blues simply ignored the centrally timed final whistle and continued to allow the two teams to play, such was his own enjoyment of the game and the quality of what was on show. The children have become mean taggers. Making tags into double figures and forcing opponents backwards or until they cough up the ball such is the pressure of the defensive play. This bodes well for next year and the 6 tag turnover rule!
Our first tour to Norfolk was a huge success. With 32 children in attendance and over 100 in total when including Mums, Dads and siblings, there was a real family atmosphere and it felt like Ampthill had arrived on mass. We played against strong opposition on the Sunday in Norwich and Wymondham but came through the games with flying colours. The games were always played in friendly, good spirits. This was helped by Mr Dance and Mr Freeze orchestrating spontaneous moments of hilarity which parents, coaches and children of all clubs got involved in. I’m not sure who had more fun…..the kids or the adults! What a weekend…..plans are already underway for the coaches Saturday night stage performance at the next tour in 2017-18.
The coaching team have certainly played their part, turning out week after week come rain or shine. Their commitment, passion, desire and love for the game has rubbed off on the children and without their constant support the children would not have had the successes that they have had. A big thank you from me to you for all your help. Our team manager, Anita Jarrett has worked tirelessly behind the scenes and she rightly deserves to be acknowledged and recognised for all her hard work for which I am very grateful. Well done everyone….please come back again in September and continue all the great work you have begun.
We finished the season with a festival of rugby at Peterborough. The children’s ability and skills never ceases to amaze me. One coach from Spalding was questioning the laws and sportsmanship as one of our players ran backwards and almost moon-walked, Michael Jackson style over the try line to dab down and to prevent being tagged. ‘Not in the spirit of the game’ was the comment, ‘how are my team supposed to tag him’. ‘Tactically nous’ was my response!
As one final hurrah, we agreed to play the current U6’s to help them to prepare for what is to come next season. They have some super players and the future of their squad is bright. If they have half as much fun as our kids and coaches have had this season it will be a great season for them. It really has been a super year and I have personally loved every moment of it. More importantly, the kids are learning the core values of rugby and keep coming back for more. We look forward to the 2017-18 season with great anticipation.
Head Coach U7 2016-17