The first weekend of AKS rugby saw many of our teams taking on Birkenhead School. To view photos from the matches please visit AKS TV.
The U13A started the season with a hard fought 10-0 victory. The game started at a quick pace with the visitors looking sharp. However great defence from Josh Moreau, Alexander Douglas and Fraser Stanier ensured Birkenhead never crossed the AKS line.
Once the home side secured some ball, excellent link up play from Ryan Evans and James Cowburn set the AKS backline alight. The centre combination of Ben Holmes and Charlie Cadley always looked dangerous with the ball in hand, and on numerous occasions managed to get the ball to their wide men, Stanier and Charlie Shaw, who always made valuable meters.
The AKS pack worked hard to secure ball, especially Jake Moore, Spenser Barker and Robert Mill, who all tackled well in open play.
The ever improving Holmes, put the AKS side into an early lead with a beautifully struck penalty, which sailed high and handsomely through the posts. Some would say it was Ronan O'Gara esk!
Just before half time, quick thinking from Evans, put Sam Kyle-Clay onto the front foot, and he bull-dozed his way through the Birkenhead defence to off load to the rampaging Moreau who crashed over the line to increase the AKS lead. Again, the ever reliable Holmes, increased the lead to 10-0 and this was a lead that they never gave up.
On the 1st XV pitch, the U15A out scored Birkenhead by six tries to five as they appeared victorious by 38-29. After a well attended preseason by over 35 boys, Mr Evans allowed a squad of 34 players to take part and fight for A and B team places, and fight they did in a very entertaining and fast encounter.
Sam Royle scored the first ever hat-trick in AKS rugby with three devastating long range finishes. In fact, each try was a carbon copy as three Birkenhead attacks were halted and turned over and two quick passes to the left wing saw Royle gallop over 70 metres for each of his scores. After 20 minutes AKS led 21-0 with Ellis Whorlton-Jones successful with each conversion. Shea O'Hanlon featured well at 12, as did Tom Riley at 10 and James Luo at prop.
A flurry of substitutions (15 of them!) were made and a little confusion in the AKS ranks allowed Birkenhead back into the match and with 20 minutes left to play the visitors led 24-21. Sam Proctor, Jamie Broadbent, Ka-Po Tsang and Cal Duffy all played very well in the middle 20 minutes, and Callum Hendry made some quite outstanding tackles at full back.
In the final 20 minutes, AKS roared back and the try came from an unexpected source as hooker, Ben Pearson, latched onto a wayward Birkenhead pass to sprint home untouched from 60 metres for a 25-24 lead. Birkenhead then fought back again with a neat try down the blindside to regain the lead but this prompted the AKS boys to then score the try of the match, as six phases were recycled and it was Callum Hendry who darted over after great work by Matthew Barrett, Bill Gavin and George Rowley.
AKS then sealed their first victory of the season as Shea O'Hanlon displayed great strength and pace to race in from 40 metres when it seemed little was on. Every boy should be proud of their contribution and there were further excellent performances from Zach Evans, Matthew Worsnip, Rory Douglas, Ellis Whorlton-Jones, Kishan Mistry and Jamie Bamber but Sam Royle gets the biggest mention for a quite breathtaking hat trick.
With Birkenhead 1st XV playing in a match on Sunday, only the 2nd XV played from the senior end of the school but they were also in great form as they won by 20-13. Myles Dunlop was superb as he scored two brilliant tries from full back, rounding off some fine team play. This gave AKS a 10-0 half-time lead.
Birkenhead started brighter in the 2nd half and a good try was scored by the home side to make it 10-7 but Tyne Davis slotted a nice penalty to further the AKS lead to 13-7. Birkenhead scored some of their own penalties to close the gap but the AKS forwards finished the match strongly and the decisive try was scored by John Cowell after some wonderful inter-play from the forwards. Cameron Stubbs made the break for 2nd rower, Cowell, to dive over and a conversion from wide out by David Maddox completed the AKS scoring.
All AKS teams from U12A to 1st XV will be in action against Giggleswick next Saturday, KO 1430, and the U15B, U14A/B and U13A/B will all play against Lytham HS at AKS Lytham this coming Thursday after school.