As we enter the final week before the Christmas Break it gives me time to comment of all that has been achieved across the past two weeks and indeed the season thus far.
Without doubt the highlight of the last few weeks has been the wonderful success of the U14 Girls who were victorious in their Grand final over Sandy Bay last Sunday at Kings Park.
I have had the pleasure of coaching a few small sessions with these girls throughout the season and their enthusiasm and willingness to learn and improve is infectious. What I witnessed on Sunday was perhaps their most complete performance of the season. Running Rugby, secure set piece, effective work at the breakdown and technically sound defense.
The coaching staff Rebecca Thompson, Kea Herewini and Justine Lavea, KK and Claudia who have all had involvements at some stage during the season are to be congratulated. The management of Steve Hersey also cannot be underestimated. An all-round complete Valley Fort effort!!
The U16 girls saw their season come to a close and the combination of girls which made up this team and the inclusion of the “Bright” girls will lead to further success in the years ahead. These girls showed they can play a wonderful brand of Rugby if given the chance and Justine, KK, Claudia and Gary Oxley have worked very hard in ensuring Valley Fort had a place in the U16 competition
Whilst the win/loss ratio is not the only statistic that is important, what it does show is the coaching and improvement and performances of all out teams are something we can all be proud of. The success of any club is the sum of the collective. So many people who give up time and expertise to see our players flourish in a wonderful, supportive learning environment.
The U18 boys have continued their successful season, and this culminated in a dominant victory against Kowloon to claim the League title for the season. In what was a flawless first half the boys produced some wonderful running Rugby and their ability to maintain possession staved the opposition of the ball. 26-0 at half time was a clear indication of the comprehensive showing by the Valley boys. The 33-0 fulltime result places the team as first seed into the semi-finals of the Grand Championship at Happy Valley on January 9. Whist we congratulate all those associated with the team we are fully aware that the job is not yet done, and huge games await us in the New Year.
It was nail biting stuff for the U18 Champs team the previous Sunday against Sandy Bay. The closeness of the game had everyone on edge and when the Valley Fort boys went ahead 3-0 late in the second half hopes were high. Unfortunately, a fantastic maul from a lineout in the dying seconds gave Sandy Bay the 5-3 victory and some valuable lesson for our boys.
The great news is the team closed out THT Lions/Gai Wu to claim second place on the ladder and therefore second seed into the Grand Championship semi-finals. A committed defensive display was the foundation for the win which will be the blueprint in the big games after the break.
Not enough can be said about the U16 Boys teams this season so far. Congratulations from everyone associated with the club for teams securing the League title last Sunday at Happy Valley.
Two totally dominant performances 57-7 (Prems) and 50-0 (Champs) were examples of the depth and quality of the squads giving then great confidence going into the semi-finals on Jan 9.
The exciting brand of Rugby they bring each week has been a pleasure to watch particularly as their skills have improved markedly across the season. The two teams play their semi-finals at THT.
I have been very impressed with the continued improvement of the U14 Boys squad as the season has progressed. The Rugby skills they are developing will only have them ready for some big performances in the 10s and 7s seasons after Christmas. Their defence and physicality are the biggest areas of improvement. Player depth has been an issue this season with all boys playing big minutes each week.
What a win by the U13 boys on Sunday against archrivals Sandy Bay. When this team clicks they are a great team to watch and can score some fantastic tries. Whilst at times a little inconsistent their ability to move the ball and break through teams is most impressive. They play a high paced high-risk game which has proven to be very successful. This group will continue with 15-a-side rugby into the New Year before finishing the season with 7s.
To everyone involved in Youth Rugby at Valley Fort. May I extend seasons greetings for a wonderful Christmas. Special thanks to Head of Youth Becky Maltas for her support but to all involved from team managers and pro coaches to our supporters. Enjoy the break and I look forward to more success in the New Year.
Director of Rugby