Cheshire last played Gloucester at Cinderford in their 2013 Championship Final campaign, That game along with this Valentine’s day fixture, was played in the true spirit of the game by very accommodating hosts and very capable opposition. It’s unfortunate that during past weeks Cheshire had suffered from injury and other impediments to secure all the squad players to be available for this training game as we move toward the first championship qualifying round at Wirral in a fortnight’s time.

This was the first game for many recent recruits, and following previous practice the young Cestrian’s adapted well. From only having recently come together ,balancing their individual skills and talents within the team tactics they worked towards achieving the structured objectives set by coach Finnemore. After conceding an unfortunate early charge drown try, by a ‘live’ opposition, there was perhaps a reality check here that the hosts would punish any opportunity to their advantage.

There was no time for slow readjustment and the consequence , set a demonstration of Cestrian defence and then controlled phases of attack. Although 12 ‘kickable’ points were left on the pitch, the team provided 3 solid tries from confident play. With the ‘Trimmings’ (penalties / conversions) the final score of 15-17, had not only provided spectators with a quality rugby demonstration from two focused capable young teams, but from a Cheshire perspective, also displayed individual performances  and ‘Team Skills’ and confidence in a testing environment worthy of the long journey.

The immediate performance review has commenced, further training is in place with Coach Finnemore. The team is now clearly concentrating on the next 80 minutes performance and what they collectively  need to achieve.

Team Manager Ian Stanton said after the match ……“ With some changes forced upon us, this was the test we needed, a good opposition pushing all the way. There were some great individual performances today, and although it didn’t all go to plan, it was great to see them as a team re-adjust, Our forwards clearly dominated, setting up a great platform for the backs to play from, Once they built confidence, and controlled the phases and the game tempo, it was pleasing to see what collectively and individually just what they could do under pressure … These guys do this week in and week out for their County clubs and in representative rugby at this level we need to make sure we keep doing it as a team as we know from experience what lies ahead”…..

Thanks must again be made to Gloucester for hosting this event at Cheltenham, and a special thanks to the many travelling Cheshire supporters

Nick Jones
Cheshire RFU U20’s