U’13 Girls Contact Rugby
London Youth Games Tournament 2019
Report by Elsie and Mr Amooty…
As Haringey Champions the APS Yr8 girls rugby team travelled to Hackney Marshes, determined to do Team Haringey proud in the London Youth Games contact rugby festival. This year the team were kitted out in their very smart Canterbury rugby kit, designed by members of the team, who were invited to an RFU workshop earlier in the year. APS team captain Orla, was lucky enough to be presented with her rugby shirt before the England v Italy 6 Nations International match at Twickenham earlier this term.
After some vigorous warming up and a great pep talk from Ms O’Flaherty we were excited to get going. The first game was very tense with APS having to make some brilliant tackles to shut out the opposition. Solid APS defending limited Hackney’s, Mossbourne Community Schools, chances of scoring, but APS struggled to launch a meaningful attack. The game eventually ended in a stalemate 0-0.
After a short break and another encouraging pep talk, APS were back in action to play Prendergast Ladywell School from Lewisham. APS were relentless in their attack with Renee terrorising their defence, scoring three tries and Orla and Elsie scoring one apiece. Brilliant defending from Mabel and Nancy creating turnovers, helped launch attack after attack.
In our last group game, we came up against last year’s bronze medallists, Robert Clack School from Barking & Dagenham, who later went on to win this year’s competition. It was definitely our toughest game. Despite going one try down early in the match, APS stayed positive and showed real resilience and team work, to resist their constant pressure and create an attacking opportunity for Alena to brake free. She raced down the field to level the score. Elsie, Mabel and Nancy worked tirelessly in many scrums, but as the clock was running out, the other team launched the last attack of the game, getting the ball to their fastest player who managed to get past APS’s sturdy defence and score a try just before the whistle was blown. A frustrating result that meant APS came runners up in their group, narrowly missed out on playing for medals in the next round. A lunch break followed before our final set of fixtures, with APS now contesting the next group stage for a 6th place finish. Our first fixture was against strong opponents in Ark Putney Academy from Wandsworth. We narrowly lost 2-1 despite Orla, Jodie and Kate frequently penetrating their lines but just falling short of their try line. Alena eventually found space using her pace, to score APS’s only try of the game. Charter East Dulwich School from Southwark were our next opponents and this time the scores were reversed with APS winning 2-1. Mia playing a brilliant game at scrum half with some accurate kicking helping to set up Orla who scored both our tries. Doaa and Jayda produced crucial tackles to prevent the opposition from equalising.
Our next game was very challenging, but in an unexpected way. The APS team had to adjust to having a new referee, who made a variety of decisions that were inconsistent with the rules played in previous games. Early in the match William Perkins School from Ealing were awarded a generous try, when it appeared the scorer had lost control of the ball, following a fabulous last ditch tackle from Orla. However, the try stood. Despite numerous decisions going against us, the girls managed to channel their frustrations and focus on the job in hand. Alena again using her pace and agility, got over the try line to make the scores level. With
APS repeatedly probing the opposition defensive lines, Orla ended up scoring the winning try to show that APS could still remain positive and determined, despite crucial decisions not going their way.
The team were pleased to see their original referee back for their last match against Bower Park School from Havering. APS wingers Justine and Alena used their pace to devastating affect with Renee, Mabel and Kate providing essential support in attack to retain possession. Justine scored two tries and Alena one, to end a very enjoyable day for the APS girl’s rugby team.
With thankfully no serious injuries and an overall finish of 7th out of 18 teams, we headed back to school very proud of our achievement and the considerable progress that had been made from last year’s 16th place finish at the LYG’s. Our new APS Rugby kit has the school values of HARDWORK; DRIVE & FEARLESSNESS stamped on the sleeve, and every member of the squad demonstrated these in abundance. Not surprisingly there were some reports of sore and achy bodies the next day and the First Aid kit had to be re stocked with ice packs!
The team would like to thank team manager Ms. O’Flaherty for preparing the team and RFU coach Sagan who has been supporting rugby lessons in PE throughout the year and coaching at the APS extracurricular rugby club on Tuesday’s after school.