Jungle Crows

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Crows U13 Tiger Cubs Tour to UK

May 07: In May an under 13 International Rugby Festival was held outside London in the town of Bishop's Stortford.  The tournament was played over two days and was played between eight teams, India was represented by the Tiger Cubs.  The format was 15-a-side and this was probably the first time an under 13 team had toured in this way from India.  The team was brought together by the Jungle Crows and was made up from 6 boys from Kolkata, 6 from the KISS school in Bhubaneswar and 6 from Manipur.  The team was coached by IRFU Development Officer and Jungle Crows coach Sanjay ably assisted by India under 19 player Tudu.  

The Tiger Cubs got of to a winning start in the tournament beating one of the home teams the Bishop's Stortford Cougars 12-10, and taking the Cougars who were a bigger and very much more experienced side very much by surprise.  The experience of the Kolkata boys, mixed with the pace of the Bhubaneswar boys and the strength of the Manipur boys made a great and competitive combination.  Next up on day one were the Bishop's Stortford Stags who had checked out our first game and beat the Cubs 10-5.  Finally on day one the Cubs faced the Tlamelo Vultures of Botwana and had a comfortable victory 22-0.  Two wins on day one was a great achievement, but the boys were tired and knew nobody would be surprised by them on day two!

The Cubs started slowly the next morning being comprehensively outplayed and out muscled by Hertford 19-0.  But next up were another local team Saffron Walden and though the Cubs initially went down 10-0 they staged a fantastic second half fight back.  Leveling the score at 10-10 on the final whistle the Cubs needed to convert from left of the posts to win, cruelly a super effort from Manipur's Somananda bounced back of the crossbar, 10-10 the final score.

The third game of day two was with West of Scotland, a team who had travelled to the tournament only having lost once in their home season.  By now the boys were really working well as a team and some stars were shining through, in particular the Cubs speedy outside centre Bhubaneswar's Sudam who would go on to be named one of the players of the tournament.  The Cubs were 5-0 up against the Scots in the last play and just some inexperience led to the Scots breaking through under the posts for a try and easy conversion 5-7 the final score.

The end of the league stages saw the Tiger Cubs in fourth place and drawn once again against West of Scotland in the Plate Final.  This was perhaps a game too many for the Cubs who though played well were outmaneuvered by the Scots who constantly popped the ball to the big boys to drive the smaller Cubs back.  With little possession the Cubs were restricted to one or two counter attacks and the well drilled Scots were eventually 10-0 victors.

The tour was made possible by UK charity TourAid and it is hoped more such tours will be possible with their generosity.  Already another team from India is being prepared for a tour to the UK in October.  The tours are also about so much more than the rugby that is played and are designed to develop lasting community links.  The Tiger Cubs youngsters have had an experience that will stay with them for a very long time and it is hoped the support from Bishop's Stortford will be continuing.

Crows beat Cops

Jungle Crows 17 Kolkata Police 14
11 August 2007

Sunny finds light at end of tunnel

Late try to flanker-cum-center sends Jungle Crows to Centenary Cup semi

Untimely handling errors near the Kolkata Police try line had cost flanker/center Sunny Singh a pair of tries earlier in the match; his final sojourn with the ball inside the opponent’s twenty-two meters, however, in the game’s dying minutes, resulted in the try that handed Jungle Crows a hard-earned 17-14 victory. The win advances the Crows to a Centenary Cup semifinal to be played September 25 against the winner of Calcutta Cricket & Football Club/Young Rugby Club, at the CCFC grounds.

Down four points and awarded a penalty inside the Police twenty-two meters, the Crows kicked to touch five meters out from the opposition’s try line. A forward drive from the resulting lineout advanced two meters but was brought down by the Police defense. Prop forward Christophe Plais then made a go at the line himself and was held up. Plais deftly offloaded to a Crows teammate and the ball was spun out to the backs, where it ended up in the hands of Singh. Singh—who started the game at flanker and moved to the midfield when fly half Sanjay Patra came off for reserve forward Manas Jhana—made sure of this one, surging to the try line and rolling in with a defender upon him. The subsequent conversion by inside center Sailen Tudu put the Crows up three points and capped the day’s scoring. Tudu was successful in all three of his placekicking attempts and accounted for 12 of the Crows’ 17 points (1 try; 2 conversions; 1 penalty).

Said team manager Paul Walsh, “I had the feeling toward the end of the match that at any moment we were going to score. I thought, ‘at some point we’re just going to do it [cross the try line].’”

The Jungle Crows had had scoring opportunities earlier in the game. A bounty of handling errors halted some excellent attacking phases, including some obvious try opportunities for Singh and his teammates.

Strong defensive showings from both teams made the game a battle for field position in the first half. Effective kicking from the Police fly half put the Crows under pressure and led to first half’s only points, a converted try for the Police forward pack.

In the second half, the Jungle Crows’ attack found significant space to run in the wide portions of the field. Jungle Crows U19 player Pintu Das made significant contributions as a second half replacement in the wing position. Forwards running off fly half captain Sanjay Patra in the center of the field drew the defense, and Patra did a fine job of moving the ball to the backline. Outside center Nanda Gopal, visiting the Crows from Chennai, created openings for fullback Prosun “Tuna” Kumar Sao and his fellow outside backs to run through. At this point, the Jungle Crows attack began to show life. Dropped balls, however, influenced by pressure from the Police defense, denied the team what might have been a shining performance.

Yet after a Sailen Tudu penalty narrowed the score 7-3, Gopal put Tudu away in the most spectacular action of the day. Operating on a large blind side from a ruck forty meters from goal, Gopal took a long pass as first receiver and executed a clean draw-and-pass to the fleet Tudu. Tudu sprinted twenty meters untouched, then cut inside of two chasing defenders before winning a race to the try zone.

Kolkata Police responded through their kicking game. A chip kick from halfway bounced between more than a few Crow and Police hands and feet before ending up in the arms of a Police player for a try and a dramatic 14-10 margin, before Singh’s move took the lead away for the final time.

Jungle Crows:
1 Arijit Sarker 2 Ajay Kumar Singh 3 Christophe Plais 4 Nitish Kumar Singh 5 Md Sharib 6 Thoudam Gunadunda 7 Sunny Singh 8 Surrendra Jhana 9 Brian Wolf 10 Sanjay Patra 11 Sanjay Das 12 Sailen Tudu 13 Nanda Gopal 14 Rohsin Xaxa 15 Prosun Kumar Sao 16 Md Akhtar 17 Soubik Biswas 18 Nanda Majhi 19 Arran Manton 20 Pintu Das 21 Debasis Mondal 22 Manas Jhana

Half Time: Jungle Crows 0  Kolkata Police 7

Calcutta Cup Semi Final CCFC 20 - Crows 14

July '07: Saturday 28 July: Bugger we could and should have won this one - the semi final of the Calcutta Cup. We had lots of possession and the boys played very well. Some serious experience amongst CCFC did for us in the end and they were just a bit better organised and able to implement their game plan.  Our planned higher tempo game never really got going as CCFC employed every tactic to slow us down.  Although we never lost touch with CCFC as the game progressed we could never quite finish.  Next time!!

semi fiinal

Crows 23 - Army 3

Saturday 21 July:

The Crows ground this one out a bit but at the end of the day it is the result that matters. A couple of enforced personel changes saw Brian (our US expat player and coach) play scrum half in place of injured Sanjay P. Brian had a solid game and kept the team moving forward well and even managed to introduce a couple of innovative penalty moves near the line.

Sanjay D our diminutive winger (and Future Hope's carpenter) scored a couple of nice tries in the corners. Surrendra also scored a couple with some very direct running from No.8 - this really is his speciality.


Future Hope 10 - Crows 9

Saturday 14 July: Both teams were tense and nervous and the game very much reflected this. And it all came down to the last second.with the bell ringing the Crows were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Tudu stepped up and slotted it through.this was surely an historic win for the Crows! But for the first time in our experience of Kolkata rugby the ref decided he would add on some injury time. Time for Future Hope to kick-off.a Jungle Crow to knock on and another Crow to play the ball.penalty Future Hope. The rest as they say is history.defeat from the jaws of victory!

A keenly fought game saw an unfortunate yellow card to Tuna in the second half for a high tackle. We also got marched on several times for some silly indiscipline. In a controversial incident the Future Hope try was clearly knocked on and their conversion it was later confirmed by the referee did not go through the posts, though the touch judges raised their flags. When the luck is not with you it is not with you.

But the Crows took heart from this match which saw us once again making progress against Kolkata's top team. Go the Crows!!


Crows 59 - Sergeants Institute 3

Saturday 30 June: Good win for the Crows and the team stepping up their game. Excellent performances from Guna, Tudu and Captain Sanjay. In the end to cheers of 'ALLEZZ' the crows had a record win snatched from them as the bell was rung by the Sergeants Manager five minutes early!


Calcutta Cup Starts
Crows 66 - YRC 0

Saturday 23 June:
The Calcutta Cup kicked of for the Jungle Crows this year with a fixture versus YRC. To be fair to YRC their team was much depleted after nearly all their players defected to the bright lights' of CCFC. The Crows put in a professional performance though with a clutch of tries from Surrendra, Zaffar and Tudu.


U19s at All-India Mumbai

17th June : 16 and 17 June was the first ever All-India Under 19 Rugby Sevens tournament. In advance Sanjay our Coach ran a two week preparatory camp in Kolkata. Having the boys brave very early mornings and heavy monsoon rains really helped the team bond together as a unit. We even had one session interrupted by a snake coming across the pitch!

Our travel to Mumbai was a bit of a trial as well. Although we had booked our train tickets well in advance they were not confirmed and on arrival at Howrah station we found we had no seats. Sleeping on the corridors next to the toilets was not really an option for 27 hours. Several phone calls later we managed to find tickets next day on Air Deccan - but that was the 2007 sponsorship blown!!

Saturday morning and all the teams were ready and warming up at the central Mumbai Bombay Gymkhana Club ground. A total of fifteen teams had turned out and the Jungle Crows had been ranked 12 th . We were drawn in what on paper seemed a tough group with Delhi Lions and Bangalore - both top senior teams.

First up and second game of the day Jungle Crows v Delhi Lions. Well we should have won, but nerves got the better of the boys. They were also a bit intimidated by Delhi's Fijian player - he was a damn sight bigger than our boys and made life difficult for us when he had procession and when covering our attacks. Five minutes each half also messed up our plans a bit.but a 0-0 draw was disappointing.

We only had an hour to wait for our next game and we were up against some more big lads from Bangalore. This time though the game plan clicked and we were able to move the ball freely and attack through gaps in the middle and out wide. Prakash on the wing ran in two good tries to make the final score 22-0. Great!!

The next day saw revised seedings and the Crows had jumped to 4 th and a quarter final against Orissa. Once again the plan worked and we were able to play a fast moving open game passing the ball and working to find gaps. Monu and Captain Tudu both got on the score sheet in a 19-0 victory.

So to the semi finals and at this point we regretted our failure to beat Delhi on day one and avoid top ranked team Armenians. We have played the Armenian boys plenty of times and as they played with the Jungle Crows for a couple of seasons we know them well. The Armenian boys are much bigger than their Indian opposite numbers and are always a challenge. The Crows started nervously again and a 20 point onslaught in the first half meant we could never get in the game properly. We did manage to hold them to a try a piece in the second half and run out 25-5 losers. Our only consolation was Tarak's try, the only one scored against the Armenians in the entire tournament.and by possibly the smallest player!

The Armenians went on to face Bombay Gymkhana in the final and were comfortable winners.

A great weekend for the Jungle Crows and we would now expect to be ranked 3 rd in India at Under 19 level having only lost one game as compared to two by the other semi finalist CCFC.


Odd Socks

May 2007 : For the last couple of seasons the Crows played with one blue sock and one green sock. This tradition dated back to the founding of the club when there was a competition as to which colour shirt the Crows should wear.Navy or Green. This was resolved by the winner of the first game - the greens. But to respect both teams every player turned out in one green and one blue sock.

This season we decided to acknowledge the services of one of our longest serving players by including him in the sock design. Christophe is French and so our sock designer got to work and came up with a blue, green and red banded combination for 2007. And very good they look to!!


'Tour Aid' tour to UK

April 2007 : In April the Jungle Crows development work was recognised by 'Tour Aid' a UK charity working to give youngsters the chance to take rugby tours in the UK. Tour Aid asked Jungle Crows to put together an Under 14 team to represent India and take part in the 'Nations Cup'. The Nations Cup will be played between ten teams from developing rugby countries in England during September.

The Crows have chosen to extend this opportunity to one of the schools we have worked with in Orissa in collaboration with the Tag Rugby Development Trust. The school is named the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS). The tour is intended to develop links beyond just rugby and also foster educational links, so working with one of our schools seemed appropriate.

KISS is a very special School as it is home to more than 3000 children all of whom come from the many Tribal Communities of Orissa. Tribal communities are some of the most disadvantaged in Indian society.

The KISS Jungle Crows will be hosted by Cams Hill School, partnered by London Irish Rugby Club and sponsored by UK law company Ashurst.


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