After a very productive training session last week we sent two Old Pat’s squads across town, expecting to face two typically strong Cheltenham Tigers teams. However, it soon became obvious that this would not be the case, with Cheltenham instead opting to pick two squads with different abilities. Frustratingly, this meant that both the Old Pat’s squads played one game that provided very little challenge and one game that was an extremely stern test.
At the end of the morning both squads had played solidly against Cheltenham’s development squad, ending up comfortable winners without being tested too severely. However, in their respective games versus Cheltenham’s A team the challenge proved far greater. Ultimately, both teams ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard, but what was really pleasing was that neither game was lost by a particularly large margin and arguably both the Old Pat’s teams showed a greater range of skills, with some beautiful support play and quick handling and offloads leading to some scintillating tries. Furthermore, it was a real pleasure to see the cross field kick pass that we have been working on in training being put to good use at the right occasions to exploit the wider channels. (Even the Cheltenham RFC referee was heard to say “Great play!”)
Ultimately, the greater physicality of the Cheltenham A team proved the difference between them and both the Old Pat’s teams. Their dominance at the tackle and ruck area provided them with the possession and a platform from which to score. At least this gives us a very clear focus for our next few training sessions!
Thanks again to Cheltenham RFC for their hospitality. We wish them well for the rest of the season and we look forward to meeting them again next season.