Alton Rugby Football Club

Head coach’s half season review

The executive summary – the lads are doing great! It’s onwards and upwards.

The season started with a few players leaving and some new ones joining, it’s a net loss which means we’re still looking to add to our squad. We have yet to field a full bench in any fixture which is great for the boys playing full games but not so good for squad depth and training numbers. What we have is a wonderfully committed bunch of lads who have worked hard at their game.

Results have been good, seven wins from nine matches played, the two losses by a single point and one score respectively – both games could’ve been won. In the League we are just off the back of a tremendous win against Farnborough, the fourth win from four matches which should guarantee promotion.

Strangely, we were placed in a lower league than our U14 results would suggest and not surprisingly therefore we won three of those games by margins of over 35 points. After Christmas we should have much more competitive matches against the likes of Andover and Tadley.

Our finest performances this season have come against a strong Salisbury side and our main rivals for the League, Farnborough. Consistency is our target for the remainder of the season as we step up a League.

My target for this season was on defence, for the lads to have pride in protecting their goal line and be far more difficult to score against. The good news is that we’ve nilled the opposition four times in our nine games. Offensively we have a solid and creative game based on an initial 3-phase structure followed by a heads up, attack the space philosophy. We’ve averaged over 7 tries per game which suggests the lads have a deep understanding of the structure have the weapons to strike. By being stronger in defence we will have to strike less often and more clinically in those tighter, more competitive games to come.

Confidence is huge in sport and the lads have built a steely resolve based on belief in both their structure and each other. Teamwork has been displayed throughout our games with the vast majority of tries scored by team play rather than one individual’s effort. Individual skill and teamwork makes the boys very enjoyable and exciting to watch.

Congratulations are due to four of the squad who succeeded in the recent Hampshire U15 trials. Niall, Harry T, Ollie B and Ollie H have progressed up the ladder whilst several others can count themselves unlucky not to have made the grade this time. There’s always next season with one more year of rugby under the belt.

It’s worth remembering that Alton is not a big or fashionable club, so this kind of success is both remarkable and exceptional. My thanks go Wendy who is the most excellent team manager and to the coaching team of Theo and Josh with parent helpers Greg and Adam without whom none of this would be possible.

Most of all my thanks go to the boys who have inspired us as coaches as much as we hope to have inspired them. They are without exception a credit to their parents and families whose support has been just amazing.

Our targets for the second half of the season are firstly to have a great and highly enjoyable tour in France. Wendy, Darren Paine and others have worked hard so far on the organisation that should ensure that, my thanks to them. Secondly, we will aim to be highly competitive in the League and put in some consistently high quality performances in all the friendly matches. We will achieve that by reinforcing the confidence already instilled in the players and by continuing to make playing for Alton RFC an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

As ever, the coaching team are open to all feedback.

Season’s greetings to you all, have a cool Yule.



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