There is little in the world of sports better than a WHOLE day of rugby played under beautiful blue skies! Except for NOT HAVING TO TRAVEL to play! For the last 4 weeks the Oaks Youth program has traveled to Roseville, Modesto, Sacramento (BEFORE 8:00AM) and finally Granite Bay last weekend! Yesterday was our first home match of the season and was the best weekend by far!
The Chico Oaks Youth RFC hosted the Carmichael Hawks in U-10 and U-12 matches and the Wolf Pack of Roseville in a middle school match! Also, the Wild Oaks hosted the women of the Humboldt High School area.
The day started with the White Oaks and Gray Oaks kicking off at 11:00am. Given I had to ref the U-12 match I was unable to watch much of the White Oaks, but I know the first half our guests were having a hard time with our size and physical nature of how we were playing. After discussing this with the Hawks manager we decided to change things up a little in our lineup to make it more of a “light” match opposed to an “open” match. In the TRUE meaning of sportsmanship which is so common in rugby, we decided to pull one of our better players to even things up a bit. White Oaks on the day were Riley and Zoey Miller, Dylan Terry, Manny Zepeda, Tyler Mays, Sean Saise, Angelina Berger, Sabrina Tuitele, Braden Hass, Kalin Montana and AJ. Try scorers on the day were Manny, Sean, Sabrina and Braden! (If I missed one I apologize, please let me know so I can send a corrected email!!) Players of the Match went to Manny Zepeda for the forwards and Sean Saise for the backs! Great job to the White Oaks for continuing to improve each week!!!!
Also, playing at the same time on this day were the Gray Oaks. I had a bird’s eye view of this match! Carmichael is a very organized, fundamental squad! They rucked well and passed the ball very well to space. This caught us off guard a bit and it took us to get organized in our defensive approach. The first half was a little long, but we hung in pretty well! The visitors jumped up on us pretty good but our ruggers never lost their cool! They battled back and brought their tackles down quite a bit and started to win ball and move the ball out on our own! It was a great day for these kids. I think they all learned a lot!!! Taking the pitch for the Gray Oaks yesterday were Trenton Topps, Carl Taylor, Tony Capucion, Zach Maxey, Eric Hartman, Francis Marc, Atticus Mikles, Joseph Huitt, Grayson Boots, Chase Junk and Issac Funderburk. Try scorers on the day were Francis, Carl, Aticus, Greyson and Eric. (if I missed one I apologize, please let me know so I can send a corrected email!!) Man of the Match honors for the Gray Oaks were forward Atticus Mikles, and back Francis Marc. These ruggers just get better each week and their desire to play this game is AWESOME! Keep it up guys! See you Tuesday!
Next up, the RED OAKS!!! Taking the field for the first time in two weeks, these guys showed a HUGE amount of improvement! Their rucks were more consistent; they looked to pass more and overall were in pretty good support all the way around. The Wolfpack from Roseville is a really well coached team but we aren’t too bad ourselves! Players on the day for the Red Oaks were Devin Berger, Cameron Boyer, Trevor Buckman, Flynn Davis, Damon Garrido, Owen Hill, Doug Hufford, Bryce Jagoe, Kaleb Jewett, Zach Lehor, Ty Miller, Patrick Ralston, Alex Saise, Michael Terry, Tanner Topp and Kaitlyn Woodcock. We had two players score tries today, Zach Lehor scored his first try of the season and Devin Berger scored 6 tries. YES, six. Man of the match honors presented by the Wolfpack captains went to Devin for the backs and Tanner Topps of the forwards!! My man of the match went to Doug Hufford for “taking on for the team” and playing with our opponent in TRUE rugby form to allow the game to be played with both teams having a full side! The Red Oaks need to take a more aggressive approach to the game on the pitch. It’s rugby. It is aggressive it is a hard hitting game. You either hit hard or get hit hard. I ALWAYS!!!!!!!!! HIT HARD! You gotta bring it! I have no doubt that as long as we continue to come out to practice and improve these ruggers will see a huge difference in the product we put out on the pitch!!!
After a full year, we were finally presented with the privilege to have MOST (minus the Black Oaks) play on the same pitch on the same day! The Wild Oaks played host to Humboldt as mentioned above and came out FAST scoring the first try in the first minute of the match by Sierra Tuitele taking ball from a Humboldt player and racing to the try zone and dotting it down for the try. Then, Humboldt started to get the ball to their FAST, and big outside center scoring the next 4 tries on her own. It took the Wild Oaks most of the match to realize they would NOT be able to tackle this lady until they got low in the tackle!!!!!! She ran wild on the Oaks scoring what I think may have been 5 of their 7 tries on the day or more! Once the Oaks women started making their tackles around the legs the game turned around a bit and the Lady Oaks made this a MUCH more enjoyable match to watch and ref. The final score of the day was 39-25, but as I mentioned, the first half was out of control and then our ladies turned it around and ended the day with their heads held high and they should be very proud of the match!!! Women of the match honors went to Sierra Tuitele for the backs and Elysha Clark for the forwards.
I must say a HUGE thank you to everyone who made the day possible. Given the fact that I had to ref 3 consecutive matches (U-12, Middle School and the girl’s high school). THIS MEANS WE NEED HELP FROM PARENTS WHO MAY WANT TO LEARN THE GAME AT A DIFFERENT LEVEL. WE NEED YOU TO HELP TOUCH JUDGE AND REF!!!! PLEASE SEE ME IF YOU ARE INTERESTED!! (Joe…?) Our coaching staff came up HUGE today taking control of each their respective teams! Those individuals are Eric Miller of the White Oaks, Billy Luden of the Gray Oaks and Tim Lehor of the Red Oaks. Also thanks, to an ex-player of mine from Chico State, Allen Stahler! Thanks to you all for your continued commitment to the program. The program will not be able to continue without people like you willing to give back! To Ashley Bocast, the head coach of the Wild Oaks and her assistant, Denita Arens; you ladies have put so much work in to making this program succeed, you not only need to be thanked, but congratulated as well!!! So, thanks and congratulations!!!!! More thanks to John Fox of the Mighty Oaks who helps coach the youth and lined the field and set up the goal posts on the day. Rich Hartman for bringing his BBQ out and helping BBQ on the day, (ask to see his new screen saver. It’s a beaut!!) Erick and Heather Ralston for putting together and organizing the social feed, BBQing, etc. Thanks to Tim and Lori Lehor for organizing all the apparel sales. Thank you to all the parents for making their different contributions. And most importantly, my wife for allowing me to spend countless hours on and off the pitch!
If I forgot someone it is only because I was not able to watch anything other than the product we put on the pitch, and for that I will forever be grateful that you have all allowed me to do so.
At the end of the day, “IT’S A GREAT DAY TO BE AN OAK!!!!”