Deal and Betteshanger U12/13s vs Canterbury 24 Jan 16
When the Deal and Betteshanger Lions RFC U12/13s team visited Canterbury on Sunday twenty-four players turned out to meet the Canterbury 1st XV and the visiting Folkestone team. Canterbury also had a good sized squad so each team donated some players to form a Barbarians side. With four teams on the field each team played three matches.
Deals first match was against the Barbarians who played a great game despite forming from three clubs. The Barbarians were particularly strong in the pack, driving forward with the strength of brothers Chris and Alex Reoch and held together by Monty Mitford. The Barbarians hooker from Canterbury was particularly good and together the Barbarian pack continuously fed ball to their back line consisting of loaned Lions Segun Asekun, Alexi Powieci, Ladislass de Miramon and Lucy Rowarth. The Barbarian backs showed some good passages of the ball but struggled to penetrate the Lions back line. Turnover ball was generally won by the Lions and when the Deal and Betteshanger backs were given the ball they invariably found the holes in the Barbarian defence. In the first half Lions Captain Ollie White ran an angle across the Barbarians and made a pass to Henry English who came in on the left wing from his position at full back to score the first try. Gonzalo Ballester was tireless in containing the Barbarian advance with some devastating tackles and just before half time he was rewarded with the Lions second try. The second half saw four more trys for the Lions from Hooker Josh Taylor, Ollie Allen on the wing, Luke Baalham from quick ball after a penalty and finally a second try for Henry English following an individual run along half of the pitch. The final score was 6-0 to Deal and Betteshanger.
The next games were Deal and Betteshanger vs Folkestone while the Barbarians took on the Canterbury 1st XV.
After a fast and open first game against the Barbarians, the Folkestone game was an entirely different affair. Two strong, defensive teams dug in for a battle of attrition that ended in a low scoring game, but with plenty of knocks and bruises on both sides. Captain Ollie White was one of the casualties and came off in the first half with a suspected injury. Sonny Bell was another loss to the Lions when he came off with a cut to his knee. Sheer guts and determination from both sides prevented attempt after attempt to open the scoring. Finally, acting Captain Ben Heaver was able to pick up a loose ball near the try line and spin through two Folkestone tackles to plant the first score. The second half was more of the same with strong attacking performances from Sid Payne and Oliver Martin. Joe Lewis and Jake St Agnes both made some good runs and valuable space but Folkestone continuously denied a second try. As the players on both sides were worn down Folkestone finally found a crack in the Lions defence and scored their only try, closing the score at a 1-1 draw. It had been a tough and tiring game for everyone.
The Barbarians second game was vs Canterbury which resulted in a 5-1 victory to Canterbury. The Barbarians try being scored by a loaned Canterbury player.
Before the final game five of the Lions players had to leave, meaning that the loaned Barbarians players returned to Deal and Betteshanger to meet the Canterbury 1st XV. Canterbury however were a well drilled side with some exceptional players. The first half saw four Canterbury trys cross the line, but each of those trys was a hard fought battle as the Lions refused to give up. Two additional try attempts by Canterbury were not given as they were both held up over the line by Lions players. Harrison Febery, Adam Woodward and Charlie Smith were always in the thick of it and pivotal in the grim task of holding back the Canterbury offense. When we did have the ball Henry Wood and Sam Hignett made some good yards for the Lions before hitting the Canterbury defensive wall. The second half saw only one try from Canterbury which was a tribute to the Lions defense and dogged determination not to give up. The final score was a disappointing 5-0 to Canterbury but the continuous effort from each and every Lion made it a much closer game than Canterbury expected.
Player of the Week – Jake S Agnes