CRUSADERS U16'S FLOURISH IN THEIR NORFOLK CUP GAME WITH HOLT.
By Amanda White
Holt 10-38 Crusaders
It's been quite extraordinary and something of an achievement to see how this age group has gone from strength to strength this season. The progression of skill, fitness, confidence and depth of squad numbers within Crusaders U16's has been nothing less than remarkable. It's been a real testament to the commitment and hard work these players have devoted to their sport and now it's paying off. They're not just competitors in the Norfolk Cup; they're contenders!
Crusaders kick off to Holt and immediately fight to regain the ball. Crusaders don't give Holt any chance of building any effective structure and pin them down inside their own 22. Within a few minutes Crusaders forwards have regained the ball. Harvey sends the ball quickly into the backs, it goes wide and John's there to take it; but a good tackle from Holt takes him down before he can score. Our forwards clear out the ruck and secure the ball, Fraser picks and goes and he's over with the try!
Holt restart and Crusaders take the ball straight back into the sea of black shirts. Our forwards are quite happy here; almost at home in the middle of the fight for the ball. They've learnt their trade well. Holt do their utmost; putting their bodies on the line to subdue Crusaders steady momentum up field; but there is little they can do to hold us back now. Suddenly, Harvey box kicks from a ruck and Adam runs onto it to collect the bounce, he's brought down but offloads it to Elias who scores. John gets the conversion and adds those extra points onto Crusaders growing scoreline.
We go into the second half 12 points up. Holt have some very talented players, they'd put in some great tackles and had some reasonable possession of the ball. But Crusaders have been totally focused on the job in hand and had managed to stem anything Holt tried to put together.
In the second half Crusaders pile on the pressure, continuously testing Holt's defense, searching for that weak link and space to break through. Holt hold, and manage to build some plays that help them find ground, closer and closer towards Crusaders 22. We're getting complacent now, letting Holt slowly back into the game; too much. Missed tackles let Holt through to score, they miss the conversion, but have done enough to make their mark on the score board. This at least serves to wake Crusaders from they're moment of drowse.
Crusaders hit back with two impressive tries. Callum goes blind from a ruck and passes out to Benjamin. Benjamin runs through a host of Holt players like they're thin air but is brought down, just short of the line. Again great support from the forwards sees Mason pick and power over for the try. John, who's boot seems to be able to slot anything; from any distance or angle adds another conversion.
The second is a superb run by Kingsley down the wing. He puts on the burners and there's nothing on that pitch that can stop him. He finishes 'Chris Ashton esk' in he corner, making the conversion a tricky one. Callum's on it and gets the points anyway.
Holt are not done for the day and manage to get another try and bring their points up to 10. But Crusaders haven't finished either; Daniel uses his strength to smash through Holt's defense to score another one for the forwards and Benjamin runs on to score from a beautifully placed kick from Callum.
A job well done by Crusaders U16's. The months of hard work and training all worth it in the end for a glorious result. Although Holt did put up a fight and did their best to stem Crusaders flow of attacking rugby, they were unable to hold back the sheer want and determination in the contest for the ball.
A great ending to the year and maybe a taste of what's in store for 2019? Have a great Christmas Crusaders under 16's. You've earned it!