Barla on the road continues to Wetherby

 

 

 

 

Wetherby Bulldogs U14’s - League Champions  2017 – Our story

 

When the Under 14 Wetherby Bulldogs season kicked off in January with a seven hour round trip fixture at Barrow and an emphatic national cup victory over the Cumbria champions, who hadn’t lost for the best part of two years, it was clear to most who had watched the game that this Wetherby Bulldogs team, who had finished 3rd in the first division the previous year, were heading for a special season. As coach Jamie Field will tell you, it’s not what we learned about ourselves on the pitch that day that was so special, it’s the togetherness and team building that is most valuable. We win together – lose together – celebrate together. Fast forward 8 months and when the final whistle blew in the penultimate game of the Bulldogs league season against Siddal, the defending league champions, and the Bulldogs were crowned champions with a game in hand, that was the icing on the cake for a special season and it’s safe to say that the boys got exactly what they deserved.

 

Looking back at the league table you would be forgiven for thinking it was a walk in the park. Far from it! The table only tells part of the story and only the boys and coaches can tell you what time, discipline, dedication and sacrifices it takes to finish top of the league after a long, hard season. It wasn’t the perfect season by any means and there were some painful lessons to be learned along the way. But learning is what this team do best and whenever an opportunity to learn something new came along, the team grasped it with two hands and ceased the opportunity. Two painful defeats in the Yorkshire and National cups and the first league loss of the season against West Hull with three league games to go (a potential banana skin?) may have hurt at the time, but as forwards coach Vila Halafihi will tell you all day long, you learn more from those defeats then you do from winning week in, week out. Time for reflection, a quick scribble on the white board and then hours on the training ground ironing out the new plays and strategies. Game on! Maybe those painful defeats turned out to be defining moments after all in a tough old season.

 

It’s been a strange season in a way and there were plenty of wrongs to put right this year. West Hull joining the league brought about a new level of challenge and there were some demons from last year that needed putting to rest. Defending Leeds and District and BARLA cup champions at the start of the season is a great starting point and brings confidence. But the Bulldogs had never beaten Shaw Cross in the league nor Siddal and a strong, and at times unpredictable Stanningley side brought added perils to the season. Add to the mix a strong Hunslet side who the league knew little about and this season was wide open. Respected opposition and some epic, tough encounters. This is what the game is about. What a competition and it’s no surprise that the league wasn’t decided until so late in the season.  Looking back over the season, the Bulldogs attack was electric, breath-taking at best. That old adage that you win games by scoring tries; no way!! The Bulldogs defence line has been solid, rock solid throughout the season and was responsible for grinding out some tough, hard thought victories. The league was won with an all-round game which has won applause from the neutrals and earned a great deal of respect. 

 

The boys have been as much a unit off the park as on. Togetherness is what this team is about. Amazing individual players working hard for each other, trying things new and trusting each other, putting their bodies on the line for each other week in week out. The value of having a full squad cannot be stated enough this year and each and every squad member has played a part in this successful season. All the boys can be equally proud of their contributions. You can’t win a league without a strong squad. So an amazing achievement for the Bulldogs. Perhaps a defining season for some of the boys. League champions and coach Jamie Field named BARLA Junior Coach of the year. Just deserts for a great team. Thank you to the league, all our opposition and referees this year. We are already looking forward to defending out title at under 15’s.

 

Up the Bulldogs!!

 

Squad

 

Harry Arundel

Samuel Arundel 

Jacob Beer

Brodie Bond

Samuel Carrara

Kyle Davies 

William Dennis

Josh Draper 

Oliver Field 

Alfie Goor 

Aaron Jackson

Oliver Kay

Samuel Little 

Harry Mason 

Ben Mayhew

Joshua Milthorpe

Jack Reid

Luke Richardson 

Oliver Sinfield

Kai Slatter

Jack Spence

Callum Tatterton 

Max Taylor

Patrick Tolan 

Charlie Waterland

Thomas Wilson

 

Coaches

 

Jamie Field

Vila Halafihi

Coaches Assistants

Warren Davies

Rob Goor

Steve Mason

Dave Wilson



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