Another year, and the Ilkeston festival rolls around again.
By Ben Perrin
One of the highlights of my year ?. The kids looked so much more like a team this season with every aspect of their game having improved. From calling for the ball to rucks and even passing the ball (sometimes).
The kids were well up for the games and the main problem seemed to be kerbing their “playful” tendencies for the matches. Between matches controlling the boisterous natures seemed to be the order of the day. Watching Thomas camouflage his dad with grass was a highlight!
The first few games went well, with Chesterfield Reds finding the first match a bit of a challenge. As always Charlie pulled back the game with a well-timed try. Ella was the Queen of the breakdowns winning loose balls and her physicality in play was second to none. My highlight was an interception of a pass by Felix and a running try for almost the full pitch “proud Dad moment”.
The frivolity was not just limited to the players the coaches were also getting quiet silly by the end of the day. Richard’s award-winning impression of Biggles was a highlight! Getting the match overview from the coaches at the end of the festival, was interesting. Matt and Gavin in fine form to say the least, Andy and Richard were slowly turning in the Chuckle Brothers. But you know when the matches are going well when all you see are the smiling coaches.
Thoughts from the trenches;
Andy and Richard “Chuckle Brothers”
Andy: A truly enjoyable match, and I have really enjoyed today. Some great rugby on display, some great team work and prodigious individual performances in certain games. Altogether though, it’s always work-in-progress but they are doing really well, and I have been extremely proud of them today. There have been times we looked like an extremely good side and can compete with most of the teams in their age group. We have made massive progress, it’s been a great festival for us, I’ve really enjoyed it and so have the kids.
Richard: I can only agree with what Andy has said, the teams have played fanatically, the team work has been super, it really has they have worked together well. One player will be doing one good thing, and it will not stop there and is passed on meaning play just keeps getting better.
Matthew: The grand slam, you can’t go wrong with that? Five hard games and five good wins, that last games were very hard, everyone has played above and beyond. Stand out player for me was Garvin’s Oli (Garvin did not totally agree on this) he had a rip-roaring game, and that’s in a team of 8 who have dug in and come out blinding. Super proud of every-last one of them.
Garvin: As already stated by Matthew ?, the lads have played 5 fantastic games, defence has been immense. What’s really pleasing this year, and what we have tried to embrace is seeing good running try’s. I cannot be prouder of the efforts they have put in and to stick it out against some good teams. Well done lads, the Chesterfield All-Blacks!
Dave: What a great day out at Ilkeston! The thing that really stood out for me was the team performances. Everyone stepped up and played their part in some great games. I was really impressed by the Ilkeston lads that became Panthers for the day. Ansell (in Archie’s team was awesome, I am hoping that the bribes of brownies and biscuits might persuade some of them to relocate?
Ben: Really impressed today with everyone. Every single player stepped up and did themselves proud. Some great team performances on both pitches, well done to all. As always, a big thank you for the fantastic support from friends and family.
I know we do not show the scores, but the festivals do show how far the kids have come.
Chesterfield Red...........................………..………Chesterfield Black
Ashfield 3/5 Chesterfield Red...…………...……..Ilkeston 0/5 Chesterfield Blacks
Chesterfield Red 7/1 Mosborough……………...Chesterfield Blacks 3/0 Notts Casuals
Chesterfield Red 5/7 Matlock Yellow...……....Chesterfield Blacks 7/2 Matlock Blues
Chesterfield Red 8/1 Ashbourne Yellow...…..Chesterfield Blacks 6/4 Ashbourne Blue
Chesterfield Red 3/2 Burton Blacks...…..…….Burton Whites 0/1 Chesterfield Blacks
As always massive thanks to Andy, Alice, Ben, Dave, Garve, Matthew and Richard who give up their time every week to herd cats and one day the cats may turn into fully fledged Panthers.
D.A. Cooke (Roving Match Reporter, U10(s) proof-reading Rachel Cooke any comments please email: Rugby@dacfox.com.
Thanks to everyone for their efforts on Sunday, players, coaches and supporters alike. Some great performances from all the players, including the 3 honorary Panthers Ansell, Max and William, thanks for the help guys. And finally, a massive thank you to Sam for refereeing probably 10 games on the day, great work Sam - BP