The Dragon festival was a great chance for the 1st XV squad to put into practice all of the hard work that they had done in pre-season. It gave a good opportunity to rotate players in different positions and see how different combinations worked.
The first group game was full of intensity and intent right from the off with the team scoring almost immediately from the kick off. Support of the ball carrier and continuity of play was great to see, resulting in a couple more tries. Belmont came back strongly in the second half and the team had to defend well and organise themselves to ensure victory.
The second group game against Abingdon was a fantastic performance with backs and forwards linking well and moving the ball. This was everything we had worked on over the pre-season and it was pleasing to see. All players handled the ball comfortably and the offloading and linking skills were pleasing to see.
The last group game was against a powerful MCS team that were strong in contact and had an effective set-piece game. In defence we did stand-off a few tackles which allowed them to get behind our defence on numerous occasions. Our indiscipline also let us a down a few times, and these are areas that we must look to work on. Nevertheless, we did come close to scoring three or four times and sometimes we failed to look after the ball in contact which let us down. I feel that we learnt an awful lot from the game to take us forward into the season. (MCS went on to win the final).
In the semi-final we played the Beacon in a very tense and tight match. We undoubtedly had the most territory and possession throughout the game but sadly the last pass often went to ground or we tried to force the play too often. We did tackle really well and organised ourselves around the breakdown effectively meaning that any ball that they had was often kicked away. The game was 0-0 after normal time meaning that three five minute periods of 'golden time' were played. Caldicott played within the Beacon half for the majority of this period but just failed to get the crucial score. This meant that drop-kick sudden death had to decide the winner, and sadly we were not able to convert the required amount.
Overall we were pleased by how well the team played today. The festival was a chance to look at patterns of play and also give the boys game time. Ultimately the support of the ball carrier and continuity of play were really pleasing strengths. With our work on areas needing to be close contact skills and defensive technique. A peasing day with a lot of positives. (Mr Hutchings)