U16's Dronfield vs Rotherham Phoenix
U16's Dronfield vs Rotherham Phoenix - Image

There were high hopes from Dronfield this week for this additional friendly match against their neighbours Rotherham Phoenix. Not long before Christmas, Dronfield had lost in a tight brawl against Phoenix so the lads were keen for a better outcome.
The team arrived pitch side ready for the encounter - nearly everyone arriving on time. Rotherham are a strong pack with both big lads in the forwards pack and some nippy speedsters in the backs. Therefore, Dronfield knew we needed to match them up front and there will be space out wide. Coach Craig was late to training, probably because of his valentine’s gift. He got a new antisnoring mouth guard which hopefully helped him have a lovely, long nights sleep. However, Sue testified that rather than preventing snoring, it’s just changed the pitch of the rumbling cacophony.
Overnight rain had left the pitch very wet and muddy in places. But, the sun was shining as the teams stepped out and to the pitch ready for the match ahead.
With high hopes, the fist twenty minutes of the match were played within the Rotherham 22. There were some big tackles from Jack and Eli and an excellent run from Sam and Seth, sadly despite the pressure Dronfield were not rewarded with a try. Harry had a knock in the guts so came off the pitch. Fortunately, injured Adam turned up, strapped up his fingers and went out to play. Against the run of play, Rotherham made a break down the centre of the field and scored a try, which they didn’t manage to convert.
Whilst pressure was piling on from Rotherham, Dronfield countered. Some excellent passing and a nice run by Finn added several metres to the Dronfield attack. This time, Dronfield was rewarded with a try, scored by Charlie, and converted by Eli. The score at this point in the match was Dronfield 7 and Rotherham 5.
With 10 minutes to go in the first half, there was some scrappy play around the half way line, but the Rotherham machine kept on pumping. Seth’s great sling-shot tackle prevented a Rotherham break down the line but danger was quick to follow. Play moved nail-bitingly close to the Dronfield line but the lads managed to hold up the ball. Eli cleared out down the pitch from the goal-line dropout. A magnificent chase by Jack, covering ¾ of the pitch, was a highlight. Some individual runs created space but a lack of support around the rucks meant that Rotherham turned over the ball and pressure was only coming one way. Rotherham scored again, converting the try. Going into half time, Dronfield has the majority of possession but score line reflected a strong Rotherham defence. Rotherham 12 – Dronfield 7.
As the second half started, the sun started to shine, and Dronfield came out strongly. A great kick from Eli and a dominant chase by Dronfield had the team threatening their 5m line. Gabe took a very hard tackle against one of the big Rotherham lads, but some poor scrummaging and some dropped balls meant that this chance wasn’t capitalised on. Rotherham, on the other hand, kept the pressure on and quickly countered with another try, which they converted… Rotherham 19 – Dronfield 7.
In a turn of momentum, the restart was positive for Dronfield with a double tackle from Finn and Seth turning over the ball. The subsequent lineout was a success as Archie ran a sneaky 9’s line in a half-break. Taking advantage of the space made, Finn broke the line and scored a great try. Eli’s kicking was outstanding, converting another try. Rotherham 19 – Dronfield 14. Some tense final moments for the match meant for some tit for tat play. Rotherham quickly countered scoring a driving try which they failed to convert. Rotherham 24 – Dronfield 14. But then Dronfield pressure pushed back with a try by William. Rotherham 24 – Dronfield 19.
As the match drew to a close, there was pressure from both sides and some frayed tempers. The lads played well and the teams were evenly matched. Sadly, errors from Dronfield, lack of support around the ruck and some handling mistakes meant the score line remained Rotherham 24 – Dronfield 19.
Ollie was awarded player of the match for some great tackling and a high work rate.

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