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October 25, 2016
by Fallibroome Admin
Fallibroome U18s had a pleasant surprise when, following a resounding win against St Joseph’s in the first round of the Natwest Cup, they were drawn against King William College over on the Isle of Man. This led to instant excitement from both players and staff alike! Following an extremely generous donation from King William and the FSA, the trip was able to go ahead and tickets were booked to head over to the rock for the second round game.
The day began with an early start for the boys, meeting at the airport at 7:00 a.m. Impeccably dressed and with a real sense of excitement, they proceeded to go through the airport’s strenuous security procedures. For some this turned out to be a challenge in itself; whether that was using the wrong boarding pass for the barriers to open, or understanding why they couldn’t carry a pair of garden pliers in their hand luggage!
The plane was only 25 minutes in the air (the whole cabin were grateful for this as Ben Heginbotham forgot the difference between an ‘indoor’ and an ‘outdoor’ voice). Staff from King William were there to greet the boys and provide a comfortable base for the players to relax in before their warm up.
Sam Bailey got his team together for a warm up, whilst Mr Dale and Mr Howard discussed tactics and the scenery. The team were looking good and, obviously highly motivated by their new surroundings, the ball was fizzing about between teammates as they psyched themselves up for the game ahead. Mr Dale had obviously researched some motivational speeches the night before and got the boys in for a clichéd yet inspirational team talk. With the game delayed by 30 minutes, the Fallibroome boys did very well to adapt and get warm again, with Mr Dale’s speech still ringing in their ears.
The game started at 12:30 BST, with a home crowd of close to 150 and an away crowd of 5 subs and 2 staff. Fallibroome’s rush defence (which at times was so fast the referee thought it was offside) obviously took their opposition by surprise, forcing King William into making basic errors. Matt Joyce converted these mistakes into points by kicking an impeccable 4 out of 4. The half ended in all 22 boys getting excited to know each other better in a brief ‘group huddle’!
The half time chat started by Mr Howard, continued by Mr Dale and finished by Sam Bailey was highly positive, and rightly so as the boys had performed above and beyond expectations. With a few comments around certain aspects to improve, the Fallibroome squad knew the second half would be a whole new game, which certainly proved to be the case.
With a change in wind direction, a change of personnel on their team and obviously a ringing in their ears from stern words at half time, King William scored a penalty and two quick important tries. At this point, the Fallibroome team started picking up injuries and were looking jaded on such a large pitch. However, with 7 minutes to play, the boys in green found a new lease of life and made a break. This resulted in a held up try, followed by around 25 phases of play. With Mr Dale shouting for the boys to continue to drive forwards and Ollie Luckman lying down cramping up in both calves, the relentless pressure from the powerful forwards allowed Jonny Rutley to dive over the line to make the score 17-20.
However, before the restart could be kicked off the referee blew for full time. In what was a truly fascinating game, their coach commented “You were the fastest and biggest tacklers we have faced in four years”, which was a fitting compliment to such an exciting game of rugby. The Fallibroome lads, despite being disappointed with the result, left the rock having had a fantastic experience of being international rugby players for the day and lifelong memories of a great day trip to the Isle of Man.