The U17-boys season kicked off on Wednesday June-20 – with Crusaders ARROWS traveling to take-on North-Halton Highlanders. The hot weather made the pitch-side splash-pad seem particularly inviting, as we arrived to see the well-drilled Highlanders team going through their game-prep. In spite of only brief and staccato warm-up, while the final-few Crusaders players dribbled in, the starting line-up was sorted, and the boys stepped up to play.
The coaches were pleased to see that the message to “not-let-the-ball-bounce” from the kick-off, had actually make it through. Crusaders showed their dominance early. Ruck-ball was neatly recycled, and the players looked to spin the ball wide at every occasion. After a few side-to-side forays, a chance-opening came, and Aidan Germain pinned his ears-back, rounded his winger, neatly side stepped the covering full-back, to open the scoring. Crusaders continued to dominate in the forwards – applying terrific pressure in the scrums, to win most of the set-pieces, (regardless of who had the put-in). Tackling in the loose was solid, and resulted in several turnovers as the Arrows-players fought to strip the ball when chance presented itself. However, our catching skills left a little to be desired, with several short passes going to ground, and momentum being lost – but given that this was the first-time many of the boys had played-together – I guess we can forgive that.
Crusaders kept-up the pressure, with eventual Man-of the match Ryan Hasselfeldt leading the charge, making some bullocking runs through the Highlanders defensive line – Good support, meant for quick recycled ball, and created some excellent attacking chances. Half time arrived with Crusaders up 38 to 8.
In the second-half, Crusaders continued to pressure the Highlanders defence – but better organization from the North-Halton team, held a firmer line, and kept the Crusaders team off the scoresheet for much of the half. Final score was 52-13 in favour of the Crusaders.
Great-job boys – An excellent start to the season, but we can’t rest on the laurels too-much, there are several things that we need to improve