After just months of practice, our inexperienced Year 7/8 rugby squad travelled to Kettering Buccleuch Academy for a much-anticipated encounter, as it was a United Learning derby! And for most of the visiting team, this was their first taste of competitive rugby. Despite having depleted numbers and facing some Year 9's, the Academy boys never stopped trying throughout the whole game. As the match progressed, it was obvious that the Kettering team was made up of some experienced players, as they controlled the game through their fierce rucking and line outs.
Kettering scored three tries in the first half, with all three accurately converted. The home side could have scored more if it wasn’t for some last-gasp tackles from the Academy team. The visitors weren’t able to score a try in the first half, but they came closer towards the end of the first half. At half-time, the score was 21-0 to Kettering. Mr. Windsor gave a team talk at half time, praising every player and encouraging the Academy to keep tackling and passing well, which would enable them to get some points on the board.
The second half started with the Academy kicking to Kettering, with all of the visiting team giving chase as soon as the ball left the kicker’s foot. Despite this fast start from the Academy, Kettering were able to add three more tries to their tally, increasing their lead to 36-0. This didn’t rattle the Academy though, as they continued to pile the pressure on their opponents, with quick passes and some powerful runs forward. In the last play of the game, the Northampton Academy finally got what they deserved. It started with a penalty for the Academy, played quickly with a tap of the foot. A couple of speedy passes resulted with the ball falling into the hands of Reece Hawkins, who used some nifty footwork, combined with strength and speed, to burst past the Kettering backs and score a try. After that, the final whistle blew, and after some warm handshakes, both teams went back to their coaches.
A huge thank you to Mr. Windsor and the Kettering coach for their coaching and encouragement during the game.
By George Thompson
Year 8, and school rugby player.