Under 13's London Junior League 9's at Hemel Stags

Elmbridge U13's successfully qualified to enter the competition after field a ten man squad for the opening 9's tournament at Hemel Hempstead, home of the Hemel Stags National 1 RL team.

There was a total of 6 debuts for boys representing Elmbridge, and they didn't let the club down.

There was a total of 6 teams taking part Elmbridge Eagles, Hemel Stags, Medway Dragons, Eastern Rhinos, Invictar Panthers and Richmond Warriors.

We were placed in the toughest pool coming up against two with greater size and more experienced teams in Hemel and the Rhinos.  Thankfully we possessed our new recruit 'Big Luke', and he made an impact on the field scoring two tries and Guy picking up 1 to secure a 3-2 victory.

The win was on the back of some strong defence, excellent tackling especially by Charlie and our two new wingers Noah and Ethan.  It wasn't all defence and Ross, and Vincent was solid in the middle of the park taking up the ball and never taking a back step.

After that win we had to go straight into our second match against a fresh Hemel side who had the opportunity to watch the 1st game, it was going to an even sterner test.  Again the boy's guts and a real team spirit coming close to scoring on many occasions.  Ollie Game was heavily involved in taking the ball forward and putting in a strong defensive effort.  Alex one of the youngest players on the pitch did not look out of place got stuck into the tacking and wasn't afraid to take the ball into contact.

Billy had a great game on the right-hand side with Noah ensuring the opposition couldn't score on the fringes.

After an enormous defensive effort, Hemel did eventually score from short range and scrapped a 1-0 victory.  The Eagles, however, came off the field with heads held high and the effort and commitment could not be faulted.

The result led to a second place playoff with Richmond who came second in their group.  The local derby was on, and it was played a fast pace with no let up in the robust tacking and strong running by all the boys.  Elmbridge ended up victorious with Vincent getting the final try in a 4-2 win.

The tournament was a great start to the season, and we now know who and what we face in the months to come, boys and I can't wait, (neither can the club mascot Buddy!)

Matt Walker

Under 13's Coach