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Monday, 03 March 2014
An exhausting day of 7s rugby saw the U13s triumph in the Plate competition at AKS Lytham. Having only had one week of 7s training, it was always going to be a steep learning curve for the Bolton team.
A narrow loss against Altrincham GS, who went on to the Cup final, was followed by a convincing win over Lytham High School. The Bolton team were then overpowered by Wirral GS and were still recovering when they came up against Hutton GS. An error-strewn game resulted in a loss for Bolton, which meant finishing 4th in the group and facing the formidable Lancaster RGS, who had finished 3rd in the other group, in the semi-final of the Plate.
There had been some outstanding tries from the Bolton team, made by the hard work of Guest, Hardy, Bailey and Hughes, the skill and decision-making of Winstanley, Price and Phillips and finished by the pace of Greenwood, Holland, Asumu and Brooks. However, legs were beginning to tire and the gaps in the Bolton defence were beginning to open up.
After some honest words from the coaches and the boys, the team re-grouped and re-focused for the semi-final match. Would it be the final match for Bolton? A thrilling game ensued between two fairly evenly-matched teams and some lung-busting passages of play lead to tries for each team. With three minutes to go, LRGS took the lead, 22 - 19. Bolton received the kick off and immediately made ground up the pitch, looking dangerous, keeping possession well and after testing the Lancaster defence down the left, came back right, allowing Asumu some space on the outside of his marker which he exploited to devastating effect - racing in to score in the corner. Bolton win 24 - 22. The coaches on the touchline were ecstatic, the players exhausted, but only 5 minutes before the final - a re-match against Hutton.
Just time to take some fluids on board and some final words of wisdom and advice from the coaches. Bolton started well, pinning Hutton back in their own half, but a couple of Bolton errors allowed Hutton two scores and they led 10 - 0 at half time. More of the same in the second half, but fewer errors and Bolton took advantage of their possession, drawing level, 10 - 10 at the final whistle. To extra time and "golden try"! The players were out on their feet, but some grit, determination and no little skill under pressure saw space created again for Asumu to finish in the corner and win the match for Bolton. Exhausting, exhilarating.
A tremendous performance, a well-earned victory and a testament to the team's willingness to learn, improve and play for each other.
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