Sleaford combined U7 and 8 team shone with two teams fielded for the first time and both were fantastic.
The combined Sleaford side were against Newark Under Eights. A combined team would have been expected to fair less well against an older team however Sleaford were the epitome of the club’s ethos. They showed that teamwork, hard work, support and communication are the core skills that will prevail every time.
Despite half of each team being a year younger than the opposition they played as one. The older children were directing and encouraging; the younger players listened and followed. Both teams went forward together and played for each other.
For the younger members of both teams the Under 8 size pitch is quite a lot bigger than what they should be used to. This didn’t phase any of them, they saw the challenge and ably led by the older members of the team ran around the park like naturals. Spreading the ball wide and keeping the flow going, both teams progressed towards the try lines with speed and confidence that belied their age.
Building on a theme from last week at Stamford, and obviously part of the strong team ethos, was support play. Each and every player was able to make strong direct runs, sure in the knowledge that if they were tagged that a team mate would be there in support, to move forward and retain the ball. Phase play is developing swiftly and the kids have realised this is a key to success.
Ball carriers were sure they could off load after the tag, they could always hear their support player calling for the ball. On this hinged their success.
In Under 7 and 8s rugby the game is played to encourage fun and awareness of the game, competition is secondary to their development as players at this age. It must be said however many scored tries (especially the new kids), many defended as if they were taking part in the Battle of Britain. But all worked together to make sure their team was a success, and they were.
A special thank you must be given to Newark who played with all the spirit, skill and values that Sleaford encourage in their players.