Wednesday, 26th February 2020
1st XII v Copthorne
Won 55-15 (RC)
2nd XI v Copthorne
Drew 45-45 (GdM)
U11 VII v Copthorne
After two excellent matches showing vast improvements to many facets of our game, the first half against Copthrne was abysmal! This was largely due to the fact that the one area of our game that has made very little improvement is our tackling. At half time, we were trailing by 25-5 and it was looking like the only possible result was a hiding.
At half time, after a few deep breaths, I was frank with the boys about my disappointment. Yes Copthorne had some very good players, but I felt that their lead was not a fair reflection of the ability of our boys and that if we could play as a team and make even half of our tackles, we would have had a chance. One thing I know absolutely is that this bunch of U11s have unbelievable heart and determination but I must admit that I did not see a way of forcing ourselves back into contention...
Fifteen minutes into the second half, this wonderfully brave group of lads had scored five brilliant, unanswered team tries! 30-25 with 5 minutes to go. Unfortunately, after this supreme effort, the boys slightly ran out of puff and Copthorne scored three excellent tries, winning the game 40-30.
Result aside, the first fifteen minutes of that second half will live long in my memory. What an unbelievable reaction from a cracking bunch of lads. CS
U10 VIIv Copthorne
Won 50-35 (JD)
Local Primary Schools Touch Festival
Ashdown House - came 2nd (JS)
Wednesday, 12th February 2020
1st XII v Sunningdale
Lost 5-40 (RC)
2nd VIII v Sunningdale
If only this was American Football. This 2nd team are terrific in attack but show little interest in defence. Unfortunately, unlike the NFL, players have to do both. We looked great with the ball in hand and scored some super tries. However, to call our defensive effort 'generous' would be understating it. Charlie made a huge impact with some powerful running and Miles tackled his heart out. It needs to be a full team effort though and we currently defend as a group of individuals. Hopefully we shall regroup after half term. GdeM
U11 VII v Sunningdale
Yesterday's match against Sunningdale was an epic encounter. Playing against a mixture of their As and Bs was always going to be a tall order but the boys were undaunted and despite the long bus journey, made a sprightly start.
Ashdown had the better of the opening exchanges and took a 15-5 lead. At this point, changes were made to the opposition line up and a couple of very powerful ball carriers entered the fray, perhaps a sign that our opponents were taking us seriously. These strong runners changed the momentum of the game. Our tackling was simply not good enough and the result was three quick tries, all off first phase ball, which gave Sunningdale 20-15 lead at half time. Despite this shift in momentum, it should be noted that Ashdown were playing by far their best rugby of the season.
The second half was equally as exciting as the first. Sunningdale continued to make progress on the scoreboard but every time they opened up a lead, we would strike back. Will Fry was superb in attack but got pipped to the man of the match award by Inigo who scored countless tries and was defensively brilliant from the scrum. With a minute to go, we trailed 40-45 and did our best to apply the pressure but our opposition held firm to win the game.
I was incredibly proud of the boys, not just for the effort they put in, which has been outstanding all season, but because the penny seems to have dropped and they are starting to make fantastic progress. This was their best performance by a long long way!
Kit captained the side with real authority today. His communication, rucking and support work were all superb.
William was outstanding in attack, adding to his try tally but perhaps most pleasing were the advances in his defensive and tactical game.
Nemo continued to carry the ball in a powerful manner and like William, his understanding of the game is growing exponentially.
Aiden has found his niche and was a key man for us today. He was brilliant at digging the ball out of the rucks, choosing the right tactical option, then making consistently accurate passes. He was the catalyst for much of our attacking play as he ensured quick ball and made good decisions.
Inigo had his best game of the season and was definitely the man of the match. He scored five tries, tackled with aggression and made a nuisance of himself at the rucks.
Anthony is another who had his best game of the season. He has good physical attributes and his understanding of the game is making him increasingly difficult to play against.
Tony is our least experienced member of the team and is therefore, understandably, not quite at the same stage of development as the others. However, he put in the hardest and most technically brilliant tackle of anyone and is slowly growing in confidence.
At the beginning of the season, we discussed the importance of consistent progress. We agreed that for us, the scoreboard was a sideshow to the main event- our own development. I could not be more proud and delighted by the progress this group has made in the past month. CS
U10 VII v Sunningdale
Lost 15-55 (JS)
Wednesday, 5th February 2020
1st XII v Worth
This was a superb game of rugby to watch. We faced a very strong Worth side who had size, pace and skill in abundance. Four early tries from them did not bode well and we were down 30-10 at half time. The boys then showed outstanding character in the second half; two early tries from us must have had them worried. One of these was one of the best tries I have seen in a long time; a whole team effort that resulted in Martin finishing in the corner. There was no shame in this defeat. RC
2nd VIII v Worth
This was a fairly chastening afternoon. We were never really at the races and, baring a good spell before half time, we didn't compete, which was hugely disappointing. The boys need to understand that tackling is as much about desire as it is about technique. The few moments to remember fondly were the tackling and work rate of Hunter and the lone try scored by Miles. An afternoon we need to learn from. GdeM
U11 VII v Skippers Hill
What a wonderful afternoon to be a member of the Ashdown U11 rugby team. The boys have had to endure some torrid times this season with little to show for their efforts. Yesterday, they were rewarded. Admittedly we could only draw the game but for the first time this season, we played beautiful rugby and every boy played his part. The glory went to Kit (1 try), Will (2 tries) and Inigo (4 tries) but I can honestly say that all deserve equal credit. For example, three of the tries came from exactly the same combination: Will Fry makes a superb break, Kit is there quickly to clear out at the ruck, Aidan takes responsibility at scrum half, choosing the right option and making a perfect pass to Anthony who makes an outside break before drawing the last defender and putting Inigo in for the score. Fantastic stuff.
The final word of this report is regarding attitude. As I mentioned, the boys have had some tough moments. It would have been easy for them to crumble today when they found themselves four tries down with ten minutes to go but they kept their chins up and scored four of their own to draw the match 35-35 with the final play of the game. Congratulations to one and all. CS
U10 VII v Skippers Hill
Today’s game was played on a very even playing field. Both sides were strong with the same attacking flair about them. What separated the teams at times was pace going forward. We need to try and improve on how to stop an opponent who is very quick. This was mentioned at half-time as we soon picked up that we need to run in the direction they are running... not at them.
Anyway, overall our movement play and passing was excellent but sadly lost Felix who had a nasty injury so we battled on with his support on the sideline. Our rucking was a lot slower than it normally is. We found ourselves being pushed back a lot of the times. But, saying all this, it was an outstanding game and I’m very happy with the boys. JS
Wednesday, 30th January 2020
1st v St Christopher's
This was an excellent performance against a strong St Christopher’s side. We had several absences today and the boys overcame this and pulled together. Khalel was a revelation at inside-centre and this is a change of position we will look to build on in the future. Special mention to Edward who had a strong game; simple and effective, he ran strong lines and took a very good try. RC
2nd v St Christopher's
There were some genuine moments of excellent rugby on this staggeringly cold afternoon. Harrison made some fantastic runs and scored a brace of tries. Maxim dazzled with his footwork and scored his first try. Edward did a good job as the playmaker and kicked particularly well. Our defence is still an area we need to work on but there are very promising moments, we just need more of them. GdeM
U11 v St Christopher's
U10 v St Christopher's
What a game! It was the best performance I’ve ever seen us play. Our passionate driving forward with the ball was excellent and couldn’t be stopped. The game was a very physical battle. Both sides got stuck in but our boys stood there ground and fought. (Yes, it does sound like a war!)
Throughout the game we stretched the pitch in order to create gaps in between the opposition players. While doing this a few times, the opposition cotton on and we needed a new game plan. With the game still being close, half-time approached us, thankfully.
The new tactic was so run through the middle at all time with at least two supporting players. One to ruck if so and the other to be the scrum-half. Overall, this worked perfectly and went to our advantage.
Personally, this is the best performances I’ve seen from a group of young, hard-hitting rugby players. Bravo! JS
U9 v St Christopher's
The under 9’s boys played a great game of rugby, unfortunately losing by just two trys. Demonstrating an amazing amount of speed and understanding for the game Andrey’s performance was very commendable. Lincoln also exhibited great team work following his team mate with the ball and providing passing opportunity should it be needed. Albie also showed a great deal of knowledge for the game with his passing and playing skills. Etienne also demonstrated a great ability for quick hands and fast thinking by always managing to tag his opponents that just slipped past the others. Overall it was a great game played by our boys. FP
Wednesday, 23rd January 2020
1st XII v Vinehall
Lost 5 - 20
This was a difficult match against an aggressive, physical team. They looked to slow the game down at the breakdown, meaning we were unable to produce quick ball for our backs and therefore exploit our strengths. This was a shame but the boys battled hard and never gave up. We will look to bounce back against St Christopher's next week. RC
2nd XII v Vinehall
Lost 45 - 55
On a somewhat moist afternoon, the 2nd team made their debut after the long journey to Vinehall. We started slowly and showed no interest in tackling for the opening 5 minutes. However, we warmed into the contest and scored some super tries of our own. Roca was superb as captain and scored a magnificent hat trick. Harrison also made some storming runs. Though we fell to a relatively comfortable defeat, there were green shoots of promise and much potential for the future. GdeM
U11 VII v Vinehall
Lost 5 - 50
We really didn't cover ourselves in glory today. Admittedly we were up against a very strong side but we were not at the races today. As a result, we were given the hiding we deserved. That having been said, there were some positives. Nemo and William were very good with ball in hand and Kit tackled well and did everything he could to marshall the rest of the defence. The real issue at present is not a lack of effort or determination but a lack of thought. We are trying to learn the various structures of the game as well as the techniques and this is taking a little longer than I had hoped. However, the boys are persevering and morale is still high so I am confident of progress in the near future. CS
U10 VII v Vinehall
Won 45 - 25
Today the boys took on a very good Vinehall side. The game was end to end, which was great to watch to see how our side defended tactically. During the week we worked on driving forward when we had the ball. Oh boy... this certainly paid off! We were so strong going forward while being brave at the same time.
Our support play, like rucking, was outstanding today. We won 95% of the rucks which showed a good level of strength and passion as sometimes rucks you just need to be brave. There were many outstanding phases of the game today so I cant just pick out one, but I feel today it was a real collective battle that we fought... and won!
Well done boys... keep progressing! JS
Saturday, 11th January 2020
1st XI v Brambletye, Won 10-5
1st XI v Cottesmore, Lost 5-15
The 1sts had a triangular against Brambletye and Cottesmore. The team played some high-quality rugby, building phases well (which was particularly pleasing as this had been the focus in training) and supporting each other at all times. We were narrowly beaten by Brambletye which was frustrating, however the boys bounced back and showed their strength of character with a good win over Cottesmore. Well done to all the boys and in particular Freddie whose commitment and physicality was an example to all. RC
U11 VII v Cottesmore
What an absolute belter of a game to start the season! Ashdown came flying out of the blocks from the first whistle and quickly got the scoreboard moving with an excellent try. The boys were very much up for this one and with less than five minutes on the clock had scored their second. However, Cottesmore soon found their feet and showed that, with aggressive rucking at the breakdown, they could win ball against the head and send one of their very speedy backs off towards the try line. They did this with some success, scoring an excellent try shortly before half time. This score certainly seemed to galvanise the Cottesmore boys into a remarkable start to the second half. They went on the rampage, scoring three tries before Ashdown knew what had hit them. With Cottesmore ahead 20-15 and less than ten minutes to go, Ashdown finally pulled themselves together and mustered an emphatic response in the shape of two quick tries. With the momentum in our favour, I had hoped for a comfortable end to the game but to their credit, Cottesmore again fought back, levelling the score. In the final moments of the game, Ashdown were camped in the Cottesmore 22 and looking like they had to score. Just as the dam seemed like it must burst, Ashdown lost the ball in the tackle and COttesmore went the length to score what would have been the winning try in the final play. At this point, I must single out William Fry, who not only scored a number of tries in the game but also, more importantly, never gave up the chase. He pursued the Cottesmore flier all the way back to the Ashdown line and tackled him just as he was attempting to place the ball, dislodging it in the process. The final score was a 25 all draw and a fair result after both teams had shown great endeavour. CS
U10 VII v Cottesmore, Lost 10-25
U10 VII v Brambletye, Lost 5-15
The mighty under 10s started the season off with a triangular. Even though our pre-season was promising, we just weren't up for it today.
The first game we played against was Cottesmore. The game was very balanced for most of the game until we started to lose out momentum and drive. With this, we left a lot of gaps open to which the opposition countered on. In all fairness to the boys, we did have a few phases of some lovely rugby, but to be honest, we were beaten by the better team.
Ashdown then had a little 15-minute break to then play their final game against Brambletye. Yet again, we just weren't hitting out tackles for some reason. We were letting them run at us which gave them a massive advantage. Saying this, out ball play and rucking was very nice. Overall, I think what we can take away from this is to start strong.
Keep going, boys!
U9 VI Touch Rugby v Cottesmore, Won 15-0
U9 VI Touch Rugby V Brambletye, Won 25-0
Saturday, 7th December 2019
1st XII v Cottesmore
What a difference a week makes. The 1st XII have worked hard in training all week and put in a much improved performance this afternoon against Cottesmore. Everything about the team was more assured; they did the basics well and it paid off. Khalel had a superb game at prop; his rucking was outstanding. Edward Nolan was at his best at fly half, reading the game well and exploiting gaps all over the pitch, as well as scoring a great individual try. 3 tries from Massimo and 4 from Martin guaranteed the victory. This was a classic prep school clash and all the boys fought hard to bring home the victory. They have laid great foundations for the season ahead. RC
U11 VII v Cottesmore
U10 VIII v Cottesmore
U9 Tag v Cottesmore
Saturday, 30th November 2019
1st X11 v Brambletye
The 1st XII had a pre-season match against Brambletye. We got off to a good start and Miro very nearly scored, however we then gave a try away and found things difficult. Our forwards battled hard, Johnny was particularly effective in the ruck, however our backs struggled against a solid Brambletye defence. Martin scored a good try, however special mention must go to Massimo who had an outstanding game at inside centre. We look forward to our second pre-season match against Cottesmore. RC
U11 V11 v Brambletye
U10 V1 v Brambletye
U9 V TAG v Brambletye
This was a great game from the boys. Albie settled the nerves with an early try and we found our rhythm. Andre was excellent in the tagging and also added to the try tally an a number of occasions. We could have been a little better in our support play and this was something we focused on in the second half. As a result, Freddie got on to the score sheet twice. Well done to all! PM
Wednesday, 20th November 2019
1st XII - Worth Pre-Season Rugby Festival
3rd in their group & lost narrowly in their playoff