Year 11 Boys Rugby @ The Howden Rosslyn Park National Schools 7’s

On Wednesday this week, the Year 11 boys rugby squad left Clyst Vale at 5am to make the long and winding journey to London to take part in the U16s Colts tournament at the Howden Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s. The journey went very well until a significant delay at the Wisley interchange whilst coming off (or attempting to) the M25 and onto the A3. Preparations were made on the bus, with the lads changing into their kit and boots ready for their first game at 10.20am, due to this unexpected delay. We made it for kick off, however had to rush our warm up and preparation which was less than ideal.

Despite the inconvenience of traffic and best laid plans, the boys put in an outstanding performance in their opening Pool C game versus New Hall School of Chelmsford, the first of two public schools we would face in the challenging group. The final result of 34-12 did not do Clyst Vale justice in terms of the character and resolve shown after conceding some early scores versus a very well organised and drilled team. Rhys Smith also provided much needed pace in the second half for us. Both Jack Bauer and Oliver Hargreaves kept us in touch with scores, with Dan Horn converting.

The second game versus Tonbridge School (6 Nations player of the tournament and England player, Ben Earl’s former school) was a really challenging one, with Clyst Vale really struggling to get hold of any type of possession and the pool favourites punishing us on several occasions for not looking after the ball well enough. We did, however, tackle really well and rotated the squad to give everyone an opportunity to start a game and to be involved. JJ Slater carried and caught lots of ball in this game, with Archie Jameson doing a good job at 9 and Jasper Forty, Finlay Woollacott and Sonny Brown getting stuck in on several occasions. Max Metherell did a good job at hooker when we needed him to, with Josh Jones providing great footwork and handling in the midfield. The boys seemed dejected after the defeat which was a slight reality check but still regrouped an wanted to finish the day and their 5 years of rugby at Clyst Vale with a big performance against Belgian side, Waterloo Schools, on RE2, the second pitch at the venue, which was live streamed with commentary and plenty of crowds watching from the grandstands.

So, here it was, the culmination of rugby at Clyst Vale and all of the effort and sacrifice over the past 5 years. In a game against a very well organised French speaking side, we had the worst possible start, conceding from the kick off with the ball bouncing into the winger’s hands and him racing behind the posts for a converted score. Clyst Vale rallied, and Oliver Hargreaves bounced two players on the far touchline to dot down with Horn converting for 7-7. Waterloo Schools hit straight back with an unconverted score, despite great shape from Clyst Vale in defence and with us being on the wrong side of some borderline calls by the official. 7-12 was the score at the break.

The scoreline got even more challenging for Clyst Vale after the break with Waterloo Schools’ fast and physical winger notching his hat trick score under the posts (unconverted) after we had conceded yet another penalty, this time for a high tackle. Lenny Bolt, skipper, Dan Baker and Jake Ferris made outstanding impacts upon the game with their link and contact play and were vital for the next few minutes of the game. It was now, certainly, now or never for Clyst Vale, who rallied back and showed resolve and determination which has characterised their time at school. We scored three tries to win the game and provide the biggest come back pitch RE2 has seen all week in this year’s tournament, running out 34-19 winners. Dan Horn scored the first by the posts, smashing his way over from 15 metres and scored again after a classic Jack Bauer powerful and accelerative arced run on the right touchline. He also converted both. Then it was the fairytale finish, with Charlie Williams finishing a great team move, which started with Oliver Hargreaves beating several defenders on the left side of the pitch before weaving and finding Williams who dived, celebrated and then showed outstanding sportsmanship to shake hands with a crestfallen defender on the final whistle.
Celebrations on the touchline were equally matched with humility for the opposition with handshakes and then a celebratory photograph with the new kit which has been provided by the tournament hosts for us.

The final standings for Clyst Vale were finishing third in the pool and finishing with a much deserved win which offered up a record much superior to that of many schools which travel to the prestigious event.

A big thank you must go to Exeter Chiefs Junior Academy Manager, Marc Dibble, who accompanied Mr Pearce to the event and provided much needed rugby 7s knowledge to the squad. Thank you, also, to Ms Cresswell who organised the logistics for the event which ran very smoothly indeed.

Please keep your eye out for the match video re-run which will be provided shortly on the website and around the College!

The whole of the squad were once again truly outstanding over the two days, both on and off the pitch and were magnificent representatives of the College. This has been the case for the whole five years of their time with us. Thank you, lads.

Congratulations to the squad: Dan Baker (c), JJ Slater (c), Jack Bauer, Charlie Williams, Oliver Hargreaves, Lenny Bolt, Archie Jameson, Max Metherell, Dan Horn, Josh Jones, Finlay Woollacott, Sonny Brown, Jake Ferris, Rhys Smith and Jasper Forty.

Mr Pearce, Teacher of PE