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A weekend of all sorts of rugby

What a lot of rugby in one weekend! Starting with the feet up in front of the box to watch the All Blacks make light of their progress into the World Cup Final - didn't bode well for England's chances the next day...

Then an early start to spend my morning watching the Saints' Community Under 9's Festival on the back pitches......I had a vested interest in a grandson taking to the pitch for the first time but what fun it was. 

The heartfelt cries of "spread out" from the coaches was cheerfully ignored by all the players who simply followed the ball. Tackling was often tentative, sometimes non-existent and very occasionally fierce. More injuries seemed to happen with roughhousing between games than on the pitch - but I suppose that's just the joy of being under 9.

Bugbrooke 3 were adjudged to have been the embodiment of Saints Community Spirit values - but I think it could have gone to almost any team there!


Small Towcestrians on the charge!


The main event.....

A quick pitstop for refreshments and it was into the stadium for the main event. 

Some interesting selections had to be made thanks to the amount of injuries and international call ups but I was looking forward to seeing Tommy Freeman in the centre.

Yet another injury - this time in the warm up - meant we were deprived not only of the Hutch/Freeman centre pairing but also of the rangy runs of full back George Hendy. Tom Litchfield suddenly found himself starting - and did not disgrace himself.

But it was another game of what could have been. A strong start with some wonderful rugby in the first half came to a stuttering halt in the second half and Bristol surged back to carve out the win. 

Having said that the average age from 9-15 at the end of the game was just over 22 and they fought back to grab a lbp so the future looks bright. The boys also had the wind taken from their sails when the Craig Maxwell-Keys blew up for a forward pass as they were pressing the Bristol line.  As everyone else could see on the big screen the pass wasn't forward and CMK did reverse his decision, but the damage was done and momentum lost.

A brace of  tries from Tom Seabrook - he just can't stop scoring - and one each from Tom Pearson and Tommy Freeman had us wondering in the Stands if you could only cross the line if you were called Tom. Two conversions and a penalty from Fin (not Tom) Smith made up the extras.

Onwards and upwards as they say - Newcastle next week, goodness knows who will be playing given the ever-growing list of injuries - if you are going to Kingston Park - take your boots, just in case!

Photographs of the U9's and Saints courtesy of Claire Jones


Two thirds of the back row on the rampage...


Curtis Langdon - the happy hooker...


Two of the Toms - just doing what Toms do....

Later the same day......

In Paris England surprised everybody by nearly winning the semi-final. This has been analysed to the nth degree. All I have to say is we were winning til Mitch went off and if only we had had a dynamic back rower to come off the bench, but we had Billy Vunipola.

But to cap it all

Our very own photographer, Claire Jones, notched up her 500th game on Saturday and was duly awarded a Cap by the club. She assures me it will not be replacing the Red Hat behind the try line.

Many congratulations, Claire, and here's looking to many more photographs and money made for the Wheelchair Lads and lasses.

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