Youth round-up

HRFU Youth Cup comes to a close

In the final round of the County Cup competitions today,  our Under 14s (Ravens) secured third place in the County with a 12-12 draw at New Milton and the Under 13s (Saxons) beat Eastleigh at Gosport Park to secure seventh place in the County and a seeded place for next season's Cup competition.

Gos ball WEB

Local derby win for Under 15s

The Under 15s beat Portsmouth 31-17 on Sunday in a potentially tough match made even harder by the fact that they had no substitutes with the squad reduced to just 15 players due to injuries and half term absences.

Portsmouth opened the scoring after just 3 minutes with a drive into the corner.

Gos responded perfectly, the forwards doing their job, securing the ball and getting it out through the backs to Joe O'Mahony who danced his way down the touchline to score a converted try just 60 seconds later.

The next 15 minutes were a hard grind with the team being pushed back into their 22 red zone.

A handling error gave Portsmouth a five metre scrum which they capitalised on, taking it over for their second of the match.

Six minutes later Gosport & Fareham responded with some excellent support play, allowing Alex Stepnitz to drive forward, just managing to get the ball over the line. Harvey Field added the U15's third try of the half beneath the posts right on the half time whistle. The three tries were all converted to give G&F a half time lead of 21-12.

The second half continued in the same vein; a lot of hard, physical work by the forwards, good handling through the backs but a solid defence on both sides.

Ten minutes into the second half and a quickly taken penalty from a high tackle saw the ball floated out to the wing into Ollie Walker's hands. The initial hit from the Portsmouth defence looked to have stopped him, but backup arrived and he was bundled over the line for G&Fs fourth try.

Gos settled down into another period of physical play, but the handling errors were starting to creep in.

A bit of confusion on the half way line saw Portsmouth take a quick penalty, running it down the pitch for a third try.

Gos knew the game wasn't over and Walker finished off the scoring, taking the ball down the blindside after a turnover in the ruck from 10m out.

Manager Martin Burnett commented afterwards "There was some excellent improvement in ball handling and support play all round. Well done to the pack, winning several against the head despite being at a noticeable size disadvantage".

Ravens clinch Cup semi-final spot

The drainage of Gosport Park saved the day and the pitch was fit for Tadley Tigers to travel down from the northern border for the Hampshire Cup Quarter Final yesterday against G&F's Under 14s (the Ravens).

At stake was a top four place in the county this season meaning Division 1 League rugby position next season and the Ravens clinched a semi-final place away at Basingstoke on 12th February by winning 17-5.

The Ravens won 17-5 for a semi-final place away at Basingstoke on 12th February.

The game began with both sides probing each other’s defences and it was clear that the sides were evenly matched with perhaps Tadley stronger in the backs whilst Ravens had forward power when they could bring it into play.

Tadley's players were clearly well coached at winning turnovers in the tackle and G&F had to adjust their game to nullify the repeated loss of possession.
It took 19 minutes for Tigers to score the first try. The missed conversion made it 0-5 at half time.

In the second half, the Ravens came out firing and got into their game and after seven minutes of hard work, Lock Ben Wheeler crashed over for a try that Harry Rabjohn converted.

Tadley were resurgent and on the attack using their backs well despite the poor conditions for handling.

Gregor House was tackling well above his weight again and whilst not pretty, Tadley were being contained but were still threatening.

Fly half Rabjohn put in a tackle on the Tadley right winger to stop a try but Tadley recycled it and worked it all the way across field into the hands of one of their powerful centres who broke through two tackles and looked free for the corner. But in a desperate dive Rabjohn caught him from behind to bring him down.

The Ravens won the contest for the ball and it seemed to be a turning point, as if the Tadley players all had the same thought "What do we have to do to score?"

The Ravens moved up a gear and the front row of Harry Freeman, Finley Daly and Samuel Rushent became dominant and won ball against the head.
The back row of Joe Wilkinson, Ed Bell and Jonnies Lewis were ferocious and kept the ball going forward.

From a lineout on the 22m after a kick to touch from a penalty, Lock Euan Archbold took the ball and rolled into the narrow side channel, broke free of the first defence, shrugged off the second line and dragged the third line over the try line to score.

The conversion missed, at 12-5 the game was still in the balance but the Ravens were now in control with seven minutes to go.

They shut down Talley's attack despite valiant efforts by their man of the match Connor Sitton and Paris McErlain to keep their team in the game.

With three minutes left and after eight phases of pick and drive, scrum half George Smith distributed to close runners and Ben Wheeler crashed over but too wide for the conversion in the conditions.

It was a tremendous game of rugby well officiated by Hampshire Youth Academy Referee Gareth Blake and enjoyed by all those watching. Both sides were a credit to their coaches and played a superb game with real passion.

Ben Wheeler was nominated Man of the Match for the Ravens.

With absences due to sickness in the backs, wingers Oliver Orsag and Jude Read got there first cup game run outs and both did well.
The momentum in the pack didn't drop when forward substitutes William Hosell and Christian Osborne came on in the second half.

Captain Ethan Hammond at inside centre played his part but along with winger Aaron Spiteri and full back Tom Archer had to accept the conditions weren't the best for their game but all played their part in a great team performance.

EdBell vTadley WEB

Ed Bell on the charge with Club Academy Referee Gareth Blake looking on.


Disappointing Sunday for Youth Section

It was a disappointing day all round for the Youth teams yesterday.

In the Semi-Final of the Hampshire Under 13s Plate at Andover, the Saxons built up a 25-10 only to let it slip and go down 35-30 at the final whistle. 

They will now face Petersfield or Eastleigh in the 7th / 8th play-off on 12th March at Gosport Park but will be seeded in top 8 for next season's Cup.

In the Semi-Final of the Hampshire Under 14s Cup at Basingstoke, the Ravens gave too little too late to let Basingstoke build a 29 point lead.

The final score was 29-10 as the come back ran out of time.

They will travel to New Milton on the 12th March to play in the 3rd Place Play Off with the seasion already one game each.

Ravens have secured Division 1 league rugby for next season.

The Beserkers (U16) had a disappointing day at Basingstoke where both teams struggled to filed full sides and the game deteriorated as injuries reduced numbers.

The match was finally abandoned when only 22 fit players remained on the pitch.

Ravens round off start of season in style.

In the last game of 2016, a track record of narrow defeats to Petersfield, who were cup finalists last season, needed to be put behind them if the Ravens were going to truly show how far they have come.

It took five minutes to put down the first marker when winger Aaron Spiteri went in at the corner for the first try after getting on to the end of an excellent tactical kick by fly half Aidan Jarvis.

The game was a real contest and Petersfield pressed hard but in the eighth minute the Ravens turned the ball over in their 22 and began a march up the field that took five phases, the ball passed through 16 pairs of hands for Spiteri on the wing to dive in for his second.

Petersfield came back four minutes later with a strong run from their No. 8 Jacob that broke tackles to touch down in the corner.

Ravens set about building up to another try and seven minutes later Euan Archbold crashed over and this time Harry Rabjohn converted to give the Ravens a 17-5 half time lead.

Jonnie Lewis, Prop, and Jarvis had both put in a big first half performance with some burst of speed from backs Tom Ellis and Tom Archer to get the Ravens going forward.

After the break,the Ravens seemed to go off the boil and Petersfield came into the game in a powerful display of their determination.

But Ravens held them and then Joe Wilkinson battled his way over the line, again in the corner, for their fourth try of the game.

Ben Wheeler and Ed Bell continued to crash it up but Petersfield contained the threat.

Support play and offloading was needed to maintain possession and the team delivered.

However, when Petersfield took a tap penalty on the attacking 22m, Ravens appeared asleep and No.8 Jacob ran in untouched to touch down in the corner.
Ravens responded to the coaches' calls and got back into the game but it was now well balanced as both sides battled it out for supremacy.

Scrum Half George Smith made a couple of telling breaks and Ravens had the last word when William Hosell drove over and Rabjohn converted to close out the game 29-10.

Archbold was nominated Man of the Match by the opposition.

The Ravens now have a couple of weeks off and then are back into training as they build towards their Hampshire Cup Quarter Final against Tadley after the Ravens knocked out Petersfield in the last round on 15th January at Gosport Park.

Man of the Match - Euan Archbold


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