Match Report
Radley College Boys-U14A vs  Tonbridge School
On: Saturday, 25 Nov 2023
Venue: Away

Focus points for this game centred on "connections", both in attack and defence. In attack this revolved around the minutiae of organisation that is required well in advance of any phase of play potentially coming your way. We used a phase option to test the boys on this put them under pressure throughout the week to be able to implement it from different places on the field. The aim was to bring this phase option into our play as regularly as possible; an option which offers both a hard line and a line that gives us the chance for early width. In defence we looked at spacings and line speed, both areas for improvement noted from the video analysis we did on our performance against Abingdon. The ability to look up and not in has been stressed all week and we have painted pictures whereby the attack and defence have had to respond to what is set up against them.

So........with these focus points, and a lovely day on which to play rugby, we went into round 2 v Tonbridge. The early exchanges were won by Tonbridge. Radley were disjointed, Tonbridge won a penalty off the first set of phases of the day - 3-0 them. Radley continued to play poorly, too much lateral play and no where near enough joined up thinking. Attacking phases were lateral and the aim of the week had gone the moment we faced an opposition intent on disrupting our rhythm. Individual moments of brilliance rescued Radley. Carter Shaw was exceptional, so was Sundavadra - both scored individual tries. Newbury also dotted down and Wickens scored a lovely solo effort from 9, exploiting poor defence at the breakdown.

We needed half time so that our aims could be re-emphasized. we went again in search of some pattern in the wide channels. Carter Shaw and Johnstone provided it and sure enough Cowell benefitted. Hoar bought into the process, running several good lines. Hargreaves started buying in.........another try resulted. Now we were playing. Not much would have changed to the eye, especially from the sideline but when the game is watched end on, you see that defenders need holding once good initial work has been done. Slowly but surely we were starting to appreciate this. Proper defences can cope with overlaps, proper attacks need ways of overcoming that - in the second half we started to offer those problems for the already outnumbered defenders. Second half scores for Bullen, Cowell and Carter Shaw saw Radley to a convincing win, despite a frustrating ish performance, especially in the first half.

Radley were decent ish, but need to be a little more accurate in their finer details when we play Oundle next week.

Thank you so much to the parents who travelled all that way to support us.