U12 BOYS Win Defender Cup

19th April 2024

On Sunday 12 teams from all over Devon and Cornwall travelled to Newton Abbot Rugby Club to take part in the Exeter Chiefs Defender Cup.
After being postponed twice due to the dreadful weather, we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to host the tournament at home. With the help of a wonderful team of volunteers and many hours behind the scenes, Rackerhayes was the place to be on Sunday morning.
Brixham, Camborne, Cullompton, Exeter Saracens, Newton Abbot, Tavistock, Barnstaple, Penzance and Newlyn, Plymstock Oaks, Teignmouth, Topsham and Exeter Athletic all turned up to enter this prestigious Defender Cup.
Over 200 boys turned up all determined to lift the cup; the teams were split into two pools; with the winners from each pool playing each other in the finals.
Newton Abbot’s team of 18 consisting of Alfie H, Archie P, Billy C, Billy N, Ethan H, George J, Harrison F, Henry B, Issac C, John W, Jude C-D, Marco B, Myles B-W, Myles M, Noah B, Riley J, Tyler N-B and Will J were all warmed up and ready to go.
After an early morning, it was time for the tournament to commence. First up for the Newton boys was Brixham. If the boys were nervous, they certainly didn’t let it show and through the first game showed a defiant victory of 4-0, including an amazing defence display when Brixham nearly got to Newton’s try line.
With a victory under their belts, next up were Cullompton, who had put up a tough battle when we played them away earlier in the year. The boys showed their fighting spirit and soon the final whistle was blown with a 2-0 win.
The boys barely had time to refuel when they were straight back out on the pitch to play against Tavistock. Some great runs and amazing pressure contributed to an early lead of 6-0, where the game was called off early. Unfortunately, on the back of an amazing run, one of Newton’s own ended up injured- he has now made a full recovery but it was upsetting and worrying for the whole team at the time.
After the shock of seeing one of their own injured, next up was Camborne. Pre-tournament there were a lot of nervous players; worried about coming up against Camborne. Two years ago on tour, Camborne proved their might and easily beat us. With this in the back of their mind; everyone was worried about the challenge that was to be next. Newton needn’t have been worried; the nerves were converted into competitive energy and Newton was victorious at a 7-0 win.
The final game of the pool stages, we had Exeter Saracens. Struggling to remember the last time we played the Saracens; the boys were starting to see the final goal; they were undefeated and hadn’t conceded a try yet! That was to change with the Exeter Saracens taking the game to Newton and scoring an early try. However; instead of heads dropping; Newton readjusted and strode to a 6-1 victory.
Undefeated, with only one try conceded; Newton Abbot U12s were into the final! The team took a break, refuelled and anxiously awaited to see who they would be playing last. When the announcement was made, a few nervous ramblings were heard around the camp as we were due to play Barnstaple. We have played Barnstaple three times already this season and know from past games that this side was a powerful, well-structured team.
The sidelines were full of parents, grandparents, siblings, volunteers, other age-grade parents and children all willing Newton to do their best as they took to the pitch. A nerve-racking 13 minutes was left between the boys lifting that trophy! You could see the determination in the eyes of every Newton player, and at halftime Newton was 2-0 ahead. The final half of the game saw Newton Abbot playing a wonderful defensive game of rugby ensuring that Barnstaple could not score any tries. When the final whistle blew; the cheers could have probably been heard all over Kingsteignton! The boys were ecstatic and there was not a dry eye amongst the coaching squad! The hard work had been worth it- Newton Abbot U12s were not only Defender Cup winners they were off to the Premiership Cup Final at Twickenham!
Celebrations continued with the presentation of the cup trophy, and then everyone having a well-deserved burger and pint in the marquee!
Massive thanks must go to everyone who made this day as special as it was. Exeter Community Chiefs who were excellent all day, reffing and hosting the day. All the coaches, parents, and children who turn up in all weathers for training and travelling to and from matches. All the teams who had travelled up to 2 hours in some cases just to be at the event. All the volunteers who made the grounds and the club run efficiently all day whilst hosting this event and everyone who just turned up and cheered! A massive thank you to our grassroots partners for all your support year round, M & O Wrayford, Insight 6, Hamiltons Fish, HSS Ltd, Geach Haulage & Aggregates and Revolution Marine Engineering. Finally thank you to Barnstaple; who were worthy finalists and we look forward to playing you again soon.

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