Four New Opponents for the Celts
By Neil Fisher
On the Thames @ Henley
The Celts were fortunate to field a team in the Land Rover Cup sponsored by London Irish and hosted by Henley RFC. A pretty miserable start to the day in the weather was not reflected in the Celts opening match V London Irish (of all opponents!). The boys played superbly well and the team effort was magnificent - the boys ever gave up and really showed LI who we were! A first half highlight was when a LI defender intercepted a pass in his own half and looked to be running clear through and as he was getting ready to slide over the line Charlie Fisher brought him down and held the ball up. His effort was not wasted as all the Celts had tracked back, faced up and turned the ball over on our own line - this epitomised the never say die attitude we saw at Havant recently. The second half was a battle of two teams not wanting to give an inch and super-Irish-fan Michael Cromie had to use all his strength to power over from 20m taking 3 Irish players with him to score our opening try. Magnificent effort! Celts were dominant in the ruck and we looked like winning the ball at every breakdown. Irish came back strong and found space out wide after battering the midfield. Morgan Clayton made some massive hits that I'm sure some of the Irish players will remember for a few days! Celts looked like they were going to win towards the end with the ball bobbling into touch in the corner. D 1-1. What. A. Start. One of the best matches I have watched in a long time and very proud to be part of G&FRFC.
Next up were Redingensians who found a Celts team in good spirits and determined mood. The rugby was glorious; our defence was solid, our rucking again was second to none but best of all the Celts found their passing and running and we scored 3 tries from distance after William May powered over through the middle. Charlie Fisher and Harry Cromie used their speed and angled runs to cut through to score great individual efforts but the best was yet to come. A magnificent team try was finished off by Thomas Hutchinson after the ball was fed one way then the other using the full width of the pitch and most players contributing. William May could have crossed over himself but selflessly off-loaded to ensure the try - well done! Jake Hoare carried the ball well, Peter Headley was strong at the ruck and Harrison Bennett kept the "Red Indians" at bay with some last ditch tackling down the wing. W 4-0
A little complacency may have set in against a very well drilled Henley who knew how to use the space and they raced into a 3-0 lead at half time. The Celts knew they were up against it but a better second half defensive performance kept the score at 3-0 with some tough lessons to learn on positioning. George Popplewell s tackling kept the Celts in the match and Joshua Fernandes was cool under pressure catching and kicking well. Having said that, all the boys did tremendously well against the best defensive team we played all day. L 0-3
Last up was Brighton who are unbeaten this season and the gas was low. The boys tried their best again but were unable to match them at the breakdown. Oliver Smith tried his best to rally and lead the players but Brighton were just too strong. L 0-4.
There were far more positives to take from the day than negatives and it was a great day out. The players and parents represented G&FRFC magnificently both on and off the pitch and despite some tough new opponents, they will all remember they played the Celts today!
Thanks to all the parents, managers and coaches who helped out. I hope the rest of the squad had a good training session at home. We are away to US Portsmouth next week and details will follow.