Arnold School v Bolton School reports
The weather was not kind in Saturday's rugby matches versus Bolton School with howling wind and driving rain the order for the day at both venues. However, despite the conditions, seven matches were played from 1st XV down to U12B.
The U15s produced a gutsy display to overcome Bolton by 13-0 away from home. Intelligent kicking by Alex Vowles-Bradley and Tyne Davis put Arnold in control in the first half as Arnold enjoyed the advantage of the wind. Pressure was built and, from the only two kickable penalties, Tyne Davis made no errors in tricky kicking conditions. With Arnold 6-0 up, they then showed that they could play with width as the forwards won two fast rucks on the far left of the field and superb handling all the way down the backline created an overlap. It was Elliott Fackey who finished a superb team move off. With another successful Davis kick, Arnold led 13-0 at the break.
Bolton enjoyed more time in the Arnold half in the after half time but the U15s still claimed more of the possession and again Vowles-Bradley and Davis kicked quite brilliantly when it was needed and atacked out wide when the opportunity was there. Tom Forster had a strong game at 12 and the entire forward pack excelled in the loose, with Matthew Garrod, Sunil Hutchinson and Oscar Howarth in fabulous form. The Arnold defence held firm to shut Bolton out and the score remained 13-0.
The U14s were back to a full strength squad, and were looking to build on the positives from last weeks match, to notch up their 5th win of the season on a wet and windy day against Bolton School. Arnolds intentions were clear straight form the KO, setting up clean ball and shipping the ball out wide for Royle to race round his opposite number and touch down in the corner. 5-0 after 30 seconds. Arnold continued the first half in much the same fashion with Whorlton-Jones timing his passes to perfection on several occasions, unleashing Rolye to run in another two tries. Haydar was playing like an extra loose forward, and popped up in the back line on a few occasions, much to his delight, running some excellent lines. Gavin, who had an outstanding game, was a constant threat to the opposition and made a charging run from a KO. The ball was then recycled, and scored out wide by Sharratt, after some neat hands down the left touch line. Mills and Tsang were defending valiantly, and didn't give the opposition a sniff around the breakdown, whilst Douglas gave their fly half little time on the ball. Whorlton-Jones took his chances well and raced in 2 tries form long distance. The captain brought organisation and tenacity at the breakdown, proving his value to the team on several occasions. Bolton never really looked like scoring and struggled to breakdown a far more organised and aggressive Arnold defence. Arnold led 40- at the break.
Rileys distribution at fly half finally paid off and made the right decision, keeping the ball in hand and sliced through the Bolton defence, showing good pace to run in fro 50 metres. Likely was getting his hands dirty around the ruck area, and was looking for the ball, coming off his wing. Ellwood made a few crunching tackles, and joined the line well from full back. Mohindra provided an excellent lineout resource, whilst Kinagi made his usual abrasive runs, using his handoff to good effect. Gavin's hard work saw him make another charging run, this time touching down in the corner from the half way line. A good bit of pace from the number 8. The U14s ran out the eventual winners 50-0.
The U12A lost 14-0 to a determined Bolton team. The game was a very even contest, with both sets of forwards competing manfully for possession, but the Bolton backs had more of a cutting edge, whereas the Arnold team were too stationary when receiving the ball and therefore didn't really threaten as much as they should have.
However, the howling wind, driving rain and slippy underfoot conditions did not make it easy on either team and all the boys deserve credit for their effort and commitment in some really horrible conditions. With injuries taking their toll, the Arnold team finished with only 13 players on the pitch and only some desperate defending by all players, with the irrepressible Michael Storton and Matthew Clayton in particular standing out, kept the score to two tries to nil. The U12B played well but lost 26-10, with Harvey Moore making some impressive tackles.
Both 1st XVs worked hard in the monsoon-like conditions and bitterly cold temperatures, which seemed quite literally to freeze players to the core in what was a very disappointing performance from so many perspectives. Arnold allowed the opposition team to dominate large areas of the game, without ever showing signs of creativity or real hunger for the ball.
Despite playing into the howling gale in the first half, the few forays into the Bolton half had been inspired by the very direct and purposeful running of Jacob Nickson. However the two or three golden scoring opportunities were squandered by the inability of the supporting players to secure possession quickly enough or to make careless errors with the ball in hand. That said, to trail just 3-0 at the break was a job well done.
Three routine tackles were missed early in the second-half and were punished severely, as Bolton took the ascendency, extending their lead to 8 points. However, as Sam Crowther kicked intelligently with the wind, his good field position was rewarded with a successful penalty to narrow the gap, only for another try to be conceded due to poor defence, as Arnold trailed 13-3 mid-way through the half.
Nickson, again leading from the front, was rewarded with a try following some good work by Alex Casey and Charles Laycock, which Crowther converted. Whilst this brought Arnold back into the game, there were too many frailties in the side to establish a real platform. Maintaining possession and continuity was not always easy in the difficult conditions and a number of needless penalties were conceded allowing Bolton to clear their lines.
Despite much hard work during the week, too many forwards again stood off at the maul, and were not sufficiently aggressive as guards. This enabled Bolton to drive up-field with ease from a lineout, and ultimately cross the line relatively unopposed and seal out the game 18-10.
The 2nd XV lost 29-0 and the U13s battled valiantly but went down 42-0.