Originally scheduled for the 15 December 2019, but called off due to a water logged pitch, then rescheduled twice more and cancelled again, this time due to Storms Ciara and Jorge, Llantwit Major U14 Tigers were finally this Sunday able to take part in the slightly delayed, Cambrian RFC Under 14s 2019/20 Christmas Tournament.
Arranged and hosted by Cambrian RFC, this mini event was intended to bring together some teams that were struggling with numbers with the aim of having some competitive games. Llantrisant attended with just 8-players, while the Tigers full squad were boosted by the debut of new player - Emlyn Miles, taking their numbers up to 13.
With only 3 of the original teams being available on the required day, the hosts having a larger squad were able to pull in some U13 players to make up numbers so that 2-games could be played at a time on the heavy ground of the lofty Cambrian Welfare pitch. With 3 games for each team, halves were limited to 10-minutes each way, scrums were uncontested and no conversions would be taken.
With the occasional rain shower intermixed with tantalising glimpses of spring sunshine, the Tigers kicked started with a match against one half of Cambrian RFC. The other half played against Llantrisant whose numbers were boosted by 2 loaned Llantwit players.
With their last game being 5-weeks ago on the 2nd February 2020, the Tigers might have been excused of being a little rusty. However, a great warmup session before the game coupled with some positive re-enforcement, especially in communication just before kick off by prop and eventual man of the match, Flynn Barry, saw the team hit the ground running. Tries by Cameron Hegney, Jakub Jeziorski and Emlyn Miles saw the visitors open a big lead before the hosts hit back with a try of their own just before half time. The second half saw the Tigers continue the momentum with a second try for both Cameron and Jakub as well as a hard earned first try for the team by number 10 James Wharfe.
Next up was the Cambrian A-team, and unsurprisingly this proved more of a challenge. In a close fought game it was the Tigers who once again grabbed a victory with tries from barnstorming captain, Kelyn Joseph, and another blistering score by winger and man of the match Emlyn Miles.
Following some swapping around of players again, the last game of the day for the Tigers was against a Llantrisant outfit fielding 2 members of our own team! One pleasing aspect of the day was the way in which the boys were prepared to help out the opposition teams. No complaining and no drop off in effort either as demonstrated by the 2-tries scored by Cameron Hegney against his own team that took Llantrisant into a half time lead. Second half tries by Emlyn, and the newly restored Cameron brought the game level only for the last play to seal victory for the visitors with a lung bursting run by Jakob.
3-games and 3-wins. What is more pleasing however was the manner of the wins and the sprit in which each of the games was played. It was a real credit to the players and coaches of all teams.
One aspect that really stood out to the Tigers coaches was the self organisation happening in the team. Although not completely redundant just yet, head coach Matt Dixon was delighted to see the boys showing such confidence and maturity, and that surely is reflected by the performances on the pitch.
All players deserve credit for their performance and attitude, but special mention to man of the tournament - Cameron Hegney who played exceptionally well (for whichever team he played for!)
Nathan is the Operations Director and one half of Vale Breakfast on Bro Radio. You'll hear him reading local news, hosting at local events and presenting our facebook live videos.