LEETON Phantoms under 16 Viva 7s traveled to Cootamundra for the first round of the 2017 rugby competition and have come away with plenty of optimism after a strong 3-0 win against Tumut and a narrrow 3-2 loss to a well-drilled Young side.
The first up loss to Young was a tough affair with Young coming out of the blocks fast and establishing a early 2-0 lead into halftime. The girls rallied in the second half and managed to level the score after a run away try to the speedy Felicity Allen and a scintillating try to Shakiah Byrnes following some excellent interplay with Madison Teerman. A late try to Young pushed the score to 3-2 at full-time.
The girls put Young under pressure in the second game. Three tries to Jenna Elliot left the crowd in awe as she found open space, proving unstoppable. Strong defense from Zoe Locke and Lauren Young ensured the opposition remained scoreless while Charlie Reilly and Sarah Allen threatened all day and were unlucky not to score on numerous occasions.
UNDER 14s were up against Tumut and the game started with Bulls scoring quick tries but a try to Liam Owers at half-time turned the game to the Phantoms’ favour and then held the Bulls scoreless in the second half with the backs dominating. Jesse Weeks helped claw the score back to within points, but time defeated the Phantoms.
The second game saw some champagne rugby from both Phantoms and a determined Coota/Wylong side Ben Graham, Josh Martin, Rory Walsh, led from the front. The Phantoms clean outs and ruck work provided a strong base for the back line to manipulate a fading opposition. Phantoms won strongly playing as a team all players stood out and showed the 14s Phantoms will be a strong force for the season ahead.
UNDER 10s started off the year as they finished off last year, with a couple of strong victories with a 55-5 win against Tumut and 30-5 win against Young.
In the first game against Tumut the boys came out firing and it did not take long to start piling the points on. Tumut had no answers to the vast game the under 10s played with some big hit ups up front drawing the Tumut players in and then spreading it wide to score in the corners on a number of occasions.
In the second game of the day the boys started a little slow and were a little bit stunned by the physicality of Young who quickly scored against the Phantoms.
This seemed to be just what the boys needed as they woke up and decided to play rugby and the score indicates this.
However, the boys did not have it all their own way with the Young boys being a much bigger and stronger side than Tumut and the game proved to be a very physical encounter.
To the credit of the boys they adapted to Young’s up front physical approach to the game and certainly came out on top in the end.
Special mentions to Vula for his first game, leading the way in the forwards in attack and defence, and to Ethan McDonald for his first game at halfback doing a great job of directing play around the field.
LEETON under 8s took on Cootamundra and Temora in the first game of the season.
The young Phantoms performed strongly in their first games of tackle rugby and went down to both sides by a small margin.
Patrick Smith and Wesley Wate did the hard yards up the middle and were rewarded with a number of tries while George McCrohan and Max Onley tackled fiercely and presented many challenges for the defence in broken play.
Jy Mawer was always busy in the game, making a great contribution in attack and defence, and ably supported by Jed Longhurst and Lachie Johnstone.
Connor and Katelyn Ward showed real speed in running down the opposition in what was a promising start to under 8s the season.