On what was probably the best day of the year in terms of weather, it was also the best day that the Rugby Academy could have wished for in terms of the result. Having battled like lions past BHASVIC in the Semi Final to win 9 – 5, The Weald awaited them in the final which was held at Angmering. They were going to be a tough team and very well drilled.
Angmering line up:
Jenner, Young, Gage, Dingle, Hodges, Bevan, Flain, Arden
Dixon, Burn, Burger, Collins, Witney, Stuttard, Green
Replacements: Morton, Jordan, Collier, Jones, Renzuli
With a crowd of around 200 people, the Angmering Team emerged from the changing rooms to a ferocious reception from students, staff and parents. Clearly nervous but feeding off the atmosphere, the game got started with James Burn hanging the ball up perfectly from the kick off. Angmering started like a house on fire with Dixon carrying on his good form from the semi final, in partnership with Burn. The forward pack was boosted by the return of Tom Jenner who steadied the scrum and showed his ball skills in attack. 10 secure and penetrative phases of play saw Dixon pick the ball up and feed to Arden who picked his gap and went over for the first score of the game. Burn converted to make it 7 – 0 to Angmering.
Angmering were in control and on the front foot. Clear decision making and incisive lines saw Angmering reach the Weald half. The ball was recycled through good forward work by Hodges, Flain and Gage. Drawing defenders in, Dixon then fed to Burn. Burger then took the ball, went past 1 and offloaded to Collins. He then showed beautifully and stepped off his left foot to scythe through the defence to touch down, to the delight of the on looking crowd. Burn converted to make it 14-0. There was no let up and the breakdown skills of Morton, Hodges, Dingle, Bevan, Arden and Flain were outstanding, turning ball over and it was Flain who saw his own breakdown work rewarded 7 phases later when he scored Angmerings 3rd try of the game to take the score to 21 – 0.
The set piece was working beautifully with communication between Young and the line excellent, especially to the back. The lineout was what brought the next try for Burger who powered through to make it 28-0 with good work from Stuttard and Gage.
An unbelievable start from the team. The Weald did pull a try back through Angmering just switching off through a charged down kick and they went into half time 28 – 5 up. Half time was a case for calming the players down and focusing their minds on themselves, remembering the patterns of play they had learnt and not rushing!
The second half was a slower affair with Burn especially managing the game beautifully to ensure Angmering were playing in the Weald territory. Witney, who was saving his best performance for the final, as were others, was the beneficiary of a well executed set piece move when he waltzed through a gaping hole in the Weald defence, coming off his wing to score. The score was 35 – 5 after Burns 100% kicking performance saw him convert. He then took a penalty to make the score 38 – 5. Replacements entered the fray and it was Jordan who showed his skills with ball in hand who created a precise move down the Angmering left. 3 lovely offloads later and Angmering thought they had scored but unfortunately the last pass was forward and it was a chance gone begging. Morton was adding aggression to the breakdown and his 2nd row partnership with another Year 11, Dingle was refreshing to see. They both cleared out well to allow Angmering to break again through Burger, Green and Witney. The last score was particularly pleasing and it showed Angmerings variety. The ball was fed into the lineout to the back pod accurately by Young. Plucked out of the air by Flain and all 8 forwards drove the Weald 10 metres for Gage to grab the try. It typified the spirit within the team and put the gloss on what was already a fantastic result. Late replacements Jones and Renzuli also played their part, with Jones showing his quick feet to beat 2 men and Jenner brought the crowd to life when he blasted through with four men holding onto him to no avail.
The final whistle blew and Angmering had Won the Sussex League Final 43-12 against a well drilled and spirited Weald side who never gave in. An outstanding Angmering team performance to complete what has been an immensely positive 2 years for the players. It was fitting that they brought their best performance to a final and put into practice all they had learnt through training. The team who run over three year groups are extremely close knit and they were deserved winners. James Burn picked up the Man of the Final and James Burger, an outstanding Leader and Captain lifted the trophy in front of the supporters and the players were ecstatic.
A huge thank you must go to all the support. The players were astounded by the numbers and also to the parents who have been there every week to support them. 2 Years of hard work well worth it!