Quins extend winning record to 4 matches.

Yesterday we went up to Fond du Lac for the goal of demonstrating Harlequin rugby.  We achieved this goal in aces and it was apparent from the very outset with 30 players making  the trip up to Fond du Lac. For many players this was their first appearance in the Harlequin colors. This, after an excellent turn out to Thursday nights training.  Unfortunately, our opponent was short numbers and they weren’t able to field two sides. However, they agreed to at least play 3 “halves” to give our 2nd team some playing time. Looking forward in the schedule, this should not be a problem for the next three games as we are playing clubs that will have the numbers and the experience to challenge us in both the A and B games.  We  will be able to give everybody more time to develop the cohesiveness of playing together on the field.  I’m excited by this, as I’m seeing many players put forward good arguments as to why they should be on the A side and great strides in performance of new players to the game. Not to be left out, experienced players are demonstrating the cohesive play we are striving for as a club.

We used the 3 halves that Fond du Lac were able to provide as follows:

  • the first for the starting A side.
  • the second to bring in players we wanted to see run with the A side.
  • the third for the full B side.- I would like to thank Sharpo for coming out and helping to coach and prepare the B side while Ray and I were watching the games. Thank you. 

It was apparent from the kick off who was going to dominate possession and control of the game. We can credit Fond du Lac with throwing everything they had at us.  Even though we easily dominated line outs and scrums, Fond du Lac made good inroads in the contesting around the ruck.  This is one area we need to work on before Lincoln Park this Saturday. We can present the ball better at the breakdown and, once it is available, redistribute the ball more effectively.The scoring  began off a play which summarized what we were looking to achieve , a solid first phase , good use  of the ball by the backline and then at the breakdown, excellent passing to take advantage of penetrating through their line. It included a good run and pass by Joseph koliber the  Harlequins captain for the match and finished off by Otto. Otto confirmed it was his first try in about 10 years for the A side.

Fortunately for Joseph he was able to Cross the line himself  for the second try which again came from good continuous  support play after breaking the defensive line.  Josephs’ students and their parents from the local school, who all came out in Harlequin T-shirts to support their favorite teacher, rewarded the try with great roaring from the crowd. Thank them for us Joseph – as it is always great to have more supporters than the home team.

Our backline made great inroads  working as a unit and used the game  to explore different options we have a available to us. With so many penetrating runs, the key factors was the communication and positioning of support runners that allowed us to really break through the defensive line.

The game in the first half continued to be one sided , but became dragged  down  by questionable calls and the referee allowing disruptive play  at the breakdown. It was the referees 2nd game and he was out of his element and struggled to  stay with the play. This compounded matters further in the second half.

Here we had the opportunity to demonstrate the development in our game with very little complaining over calls and just resetting and getting on with the game. This was no more apparent than in the last 10 minutes of the second half.

Scoring was continuous in the first 2 halves with the final score of 55-0. With Ray doing an amazing job in coordinating the substitutions, neither of us did an acceptable job of recording the try scorers for all 3 halves so be honest and fill in the gaps for the leaderboard. Tobin trys scored for the opposition in the third half do not count (or should they?).

The third ‘half’ began with a change in referee and I want to thank Jeff Noe for doing that for us. It is never easy refereeing your own team and Jeff did a great job in letting the game flow. A second big thank you goes out to the A side players who filled in for Fond du Lac so we could have a third match. Their contribution provided much improved opposition and lead to a tightly contested game.

With the numbers we were able to start an entire  new team for the third half and it was a good mixture of experienced players , new players to the club and new players to the game. Since we had the numbers, this squad had taken the time to during the first match to walk through positions calls and gameplan and it showed once they hit the field.

Here again we demonstrated how we want to play the game and they also showed they had learnt from watching the first side and had much better control of the breakdown than we had had in the previous 2 halves. The team made use of the clean ball it received and had some great support running. With the A side players on the other side, the Harlequins were able to demonstrate good control on defense were rewarded with some good turnover ball.

After the game, we continued to demonstrate Harlequin rugby by all going to the after-match party and socializing with the Fond Du Lac players.

I am confident that we left a good impression on and off the field. Congratulations and lets keep developing.

Mike Loader
Mike Loader
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