Sharks Denied again by the Apache Braves
Slough RFC 7s competition
After disappointment from Swindon the Sharks arrived at Slough in an energized mood ready for a day of good rugby. With a mix of new players starting their first tournament of the season and some seasoned campaigners, the Sharks were ready for their first game.
Todd Crofts was selected as team captain for the day with the first game against Olaf’s Axes. Hosted on the main pitch to start the tournament off, the game began slowly with the tentative start prompting a few mistakes from both sides. The Sharks were first to strike with a try from Ben Chambers but the Axes immediately replied with an unconverted try of their own. This was the kick-start the Sharks needed as further trys from Ben Jacock, two from Todd Crofts and a final one from Rhys Williams were added and the game ended 31-5 for the Sharks.
Unscathed from the first encounter, the Sharks had an eon to wait before their second game against ISC Tornados. Some tactical changes were made by the TSG to ensure full squad involvement and safeguard injuries. The starting side included Marcus Stevens and Adam Gallagher who were first to adapt to the new line up but in attack were stopped short of the line. From the turn over ball the Tornados ran the length of the pitch and scored in the corner despite the Sharks covering back. Before half time the Tornados scored another two without response from the Sharks. The second half started as the first had finished, with the Tornados capitalising on the Sharks mistakes to score further tries to finish the game 36-0 winners.
After another long break the next game was against Racing Academy, a strong and youthful side, highlighting a tangible difference in fitness standards. Racing scored first but the Sharks bounced back straight away with a good interchange of passes between the midfield to allow Ben Chambers to score under the posts. The Racing side then scored again but the Sharks were determined not to let them pull away and a powerful run by Sam Benzie and the conversion of the tournament by brother, Lee Benzie from out wide, levelled the game. From the restart the Sharks were unable to keep hold of the ball and the Racing side broke through the Sharks’ tiring defence and scored in the final seconds of the game to win 21-14.
The final pool game was against Buck’s U20s who had performed well in the 15-a-side season. After the disappointment of the last two games the Sharks needed to keep more of the possession and up the work rate off the ball. From the off it was clear it was going to be a close game. Sam Benzie showing his strength was able to score first but the Buck’s players were quick to score in response. The Sharks showed a little more pace when a mistake from the Buck’s boys allowed James Griggs to break and Marcus Stevens to score. With the game about to finish Tristan Trehan was able to turn the ball over and break away and score with the last play of the game for a Sharks win 17-10.
The Sharks finished 3rd in the group and were placed in the Bowl final against the Apache Braves, this was going to be another tight game going down to the wire with Marcus Steven and Todd Croft scoring in the first half to finish 14-12. The Sharks started the second half better with a break from Jamie Miller which allowed the supporting Jack Power to score under the posts to further their lead, 21-12. However the Sharks were unable to keep the Braves at bay and the opposition scored two tries on the bounce to finish the game 21-24 victors.
It was a disappointing finish at the Slough 7’s but a good experience for the players involved who all gave 100% but sometimes, you know, it’s just not your day!
The next event for the Sharks is Saturday 23rd July at North Dorset Rugby Club, where they will be defending their title against similarly tough opposition.
Team: Todd Crofts(C), Sam Benzie, Lee Benzie, Ben Jeacock, James Griggs, Ben Chambers, Jack Power, Rhys Williams, Tristan Trehan, Marcus Stevens, Adam Gallagher and Jamie Miller
Images by Alligin Photography ©John Walton
Article by Guy Pallet and Pony Moore