Brighton 9s Festival
A full squad composed of fourteen U14s players headed off to Brighton for the annual 9s Festival this year hosting U9s, U11s, U13s, U14s, U16s and open age section. The Sharks aligned this year 3 teams, an U9s Team lead by Andrew, an U11s Team lead by Martin and the U14s lead by JV.
For the U14s age group, 5 teams were present to participate to the event under very wet condition. After a week of sun, the rain was unfortunately there to spoil the day and caused difficult playing conditions. Nevertheless the U14s Sharks team braved the wet cold and started warming up while the brave parents coming to support them improvised a mini camp around a tent.
First game took place under the rain and opposed the Elmbridge Eagle team who defeated our U14s in semi-final at the last festival in May. Ball was like a soap and error added one after one. Elmbridge were the first to score. The Sharks under pressure started building in strength and after a good set of three consecutive percussion, Ethan crossed the line. The Sharks managed to control the game without being able to score. The whistle ended with a draw, both team having committed an impressive amount of errors resulting in a deserved draw for both team.
The following game was scheduled straight after against home team Sussex Merlin, leaving us with few minutes to adapt our strategy and improve our game. Things seems to work, when following a good set of passes, Will crosses the line to score the first try immediately after the Kick off. This was followed by a try from Ben who perforate the defence and run till the try line without opposition. The Sharks were getting confidence and as the rain stopped, more magic were attempted. Jamie following a slalom in the Merlin defence in an impossible position offloaded the ball to Henrique who just had to cross the line for the third try of the game. Alistair, then Enrique again added 2 more tries closing the game with 5 to 0 win.
After a break, 2 more game were to be played in a row starting with Brentwood Eels. The game started badly with the opposition scoring a try after a missed tackle on the kick off. The Sharks reacted immediately with a well-built try, allowing Alistair the cross the line and equalise. Brentwood responded by a try and took again the lead. Few minutes of hand mistake before the Sharks sharpen their attack to see Maric in the wing scoring the 2-2. Brentwood decided today they will not let us win and their centre again perforated our defence surprised on the kick off to take a 3-2 lead. Few minutes to play and the Sharks started to accelerate putting pressure on the opposition who committed further mistake allowing us to take control of the game and allow Joe B. to score the equalizer try on the last play. Deserve draw for the Sharks against a very solid Brentwood formation.
Last game opposed us against a mixed team of Elmbridge/Invicta Panther. With rain again falling, hand mistake were accumulated both side but each time exploited. Lewis first score a try for the Sharks, followed by Joe B. The opposition responded and finally reduced the score to 2-1. Joe B, added his second try of the game to seal a victory. Elmbridge/Invicta scored before the whistle. Final score 3 to 2 for the Sharks.
All pool game completed, Surrey Sharks finished first and was opposed to Brentwood Eels again for a thrilling Final. Brentwood started the game putting big pressure and scored the first try followed by a second straight after. A lack of concentration at the start of the game caused the Sharks to commit defensive position error. Brentwood willing to hammer the game started facing a solid Sharks defence. Multiplying the tackles and increasing pressure, the Sharks managed to exploit few opportunities leading to a try and reducing the score to 2-1. Unfortunately few mistakes allowed the opposition to score another try making hard for the Sharks to come back. Despite a response from the Shark to reduce the score and come back to 3-2, Brentwood in the last minute increase pressure and cross the line for a win 4 to 2.
JV, Surrey Sharks Head coach said: Well done to both team. Today was a difficult festival with bad weather condition. I am proud of the Shark for their performance again, the game they produced was skilful and under pressure they managed to build in strength to come back and never give up. Still a lot of potential to exploit.
U14s: (from left to right) Will, Connor, Joe C., Ben, Henrique, Joe B, Jamie, Lewis, Alistair (c), Ross, Andrew, Maric, JV, (Front) Oscar, Ethan