Youth rugby: Success all round at Wendens Ambo festival
08:44 03 April 2014
Wendens Ambo RFC hosted its annual mini rugby festival at Carver Barracks on Sunday.
About 550 children took part, with many more parents and coaches attending the event, and the emphasis was on a fun day out for all.
Partner club London Wasps sent its mascot, Sting, to entertain the younger ones and WO1 Glen Atwell from the barracks presented awards to all the players.
Wendens lifted the trophy after winning all four pool games. They overcame a slow start to beat Saffron Walden 6-0, before 3-0 and 4-0 victories over Shelford A and Shelford B respectively. Wenden won the last game, 4-0 against Cambridge.
In the spirit of the day Wendens mixed the team up throughout each game so all players in the squad were busy, many playing out of position and rising to the challenge.
Some of the scores do not reflect the pressure the boys were under at times, which was always handled calmly and efficiently. The tackling was ferocious, a clean sheet for the day illustrating the organisation and dogged defence. Rucking was fast and efficient providing good clean ball for he backs to use.
What a difference an ice-cream makes. After a series of tame capitulations, a visit to the Mr Whippy van put the fight back into Wendens for the final game against Shelford.
John Rowson set the tone from the kick-off with a run through the opposition line. From the restart Shelford were knocked back by an inspired Wendens defence, resulting in turnover ball and a scoring sprint down the touchline by Charlie Riley-Orme.
The floodgates opened and accurate passing from Oscar Godfrey, Sonny Holland and Douglas Burns put Rowson through again, followed by Riley-Orme’s second. The highlight came close to the end when Rowson was tackled five metres short, and offloaded to Barnaby Catmur who crashed over for the final try as the game finished 7-1.
Wendens fielded five teams at the festival with 24 from the age group taking part.
All the players have shown significant improvement since the start of the season which is a result of the hard work that they have been putting in every week at training.
They demonstrated strong running, excellent support play and good ball-handling skills. But the foundation of the squad’s success has been their strong defence and this was evident in all teams at the weekend, crowding out the opposition and forcing turnovers.
Set out in four pools of 22 teams, Wendens won one pool and were runners up in another, only missing out on top spot on try difference.