On a chilly afternoon of 11th December, in the closing stages of what has been a long first term without fixtures, the Year 8 Quest rugby squad was in fine form and ready for their opening match of the season against Orchard Park. Quest was able to bring a full team and considerable depth in the bench to the fixture alongside considerable enthusiasm.
With conditions favouring an open and expansive running game, Quest was able to capitalise on the strength it possesses within its backline, with an early try just minutes into the first half, ably converted by Joey Roseweir who has very much taken to his role not only from the kicking-tee, but marshalling from the base of the scrum.
Early success was dampened by some sterling forward play from Orchard Park, whose preference for route-one rugby was clear, and they were able to capitalise on a break and missed tackles that saw them quickly respond in kind to Quest’s early lead.
10 minutes into the first-half the game was level at 12-12, and with some powerful motivation from the side-lines Quest did not look back. Some tremendous running breaks from Josh Tumushabe and Tayo Edun saw the score line creeping up, and by half-time Quest had created a comfortable 41-12 cushion for themselves.
With the change of ends and tiredness setting in, particular credit must go to the tenacity and resilience of the front five and their replacements (the author’s bias at being a former front-rower himself) whose services were frequently called upon as handling errors started to creep in from both sides.
An early concession in the second-half saw Orchard Park bring the score to 41-17, but from there on it was again all one-way traffic. As the second half-progressed Orchard Park managed a number of breaks, but commitment and ferocious tackling, particularly from Shko, Kaan and Jahmirrah (taking on players three-times his size) ensured the defensive line remained intact.
In the dying stages of the match we saw great breaks from Kcee Berry and Abraham Quayson, who were able to exploit some gaps in the line, and the faithful runners of Josh and Tayo were able to add to their try haul from the first half.
With light failing the safest move for all concerned was for the referee to blow the whistle slightly early on the second-half, but that in no way lessened the victory for Quest.
A final score of 67-17 is a fantastic first result of the year, and although there is still plenty of learning to take place, particularly in defence, communication and missed tackles, the boys have shown their superb potential for fixtures to come.