Unable to travel with the 1st team, my duties were with the club's Development Team. This is a major focus for me and the club in developing a strong team to support the pathway process to the 1st XV and on the basis of the performance yesterday, it showed that the players on view would certainly be worthy of 2nd team and even 1st team starts.
It is always difficult to sell the Development team as a meaningful game to players that have aspirations to play higher up the club and it takes real character and club men to focus and perform to the level they would if they were playing for the 1st XV or 2nd XV. This is what I saw yesterday. Admittedly the pre match schedule was a little more relaxed than the usual 1st XV game, but the buzz before the game really impressed me from all the players. I really felt they wanted to be there and wear the shirt.
After showing that if we could put 4 phases together we would bust, the 1st half was a little frustrating. Teddington were a lot more accurate at the break down and defended really well. We got a little loose, started to look for the miracle offload and got frustrated. This led to them scoring first, giving away numerous penalties in their 22 and being too eager to score at times.
19 - 7 at half time.
Few words at half time and the first exchanges were perfect... hard running, close support and accurate clearout. Numbers on our feet that gave us the width of attack and a great line by new recruit John Taylor to score under the posts within a minute.
This became the story of the second half. It was not loose rugby, but controlled and disciplined play, using our structures we train on a Tuesday and Thursday night. This is what impressed me about the performance. The players had the ability and focus to keep to the plan and it worked. You need good players to make the plan work.
Full time 66 - 7
I would personally like to thank all the players. I worked with strong characters yesterday that took pride in wearing the Barnes shirt and performed as if they were in the 1st XV.