Cranleigh School added the Edwin Doran Surrey Schools Senior 7s title to their list of illustrious recent title victories at the Richmond Athletic Ground on Wednesday.
They beat the 2016 champions Harrow, whom they would go onto beat in the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s final later that year, 29-0 in a hugely impressive display in the final.
It makes Cranleigh the holders of both the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s and the Edwin Doran Surrey Schools Senior 7s titles now.
They came through a tough Group B, a group that included Berkhamsted. Their reward for winning that group was an incredibly tough last 16 tie against the reigning champions, Hampton, who had topped Group A.
They raced into the quarter finals with a 24-19 victory. They were joined by heavyweights from across the country, St Paul’s Catholic College, Brighton College, Epsom College, Kirkham Grammar School, former champions Wellington College, and of course the finalists, Harrow.
Before they could worry about any of them though, Cranleigh faced the most successful side in this tournament’s history, Millfield. Another thriller ensued, with Cranleigh taking this one 29-24 with some stunning tries to set up a semi-final with Brighton College.
Cranleigh started the semi-final on fire, racing to a 19-0 lead. In the second half Brighton came roaring back to level the game at 19-19. It is in these moments where the character of a side can so often be laid bare, and Cranleigh showed that the have character by the bucketload as with the final play of the game they scorched down the right hand touchline to seal the game in sensational style, winning 26-19 to send them into the final.
Two powerful first half tries gave Cranleigh a 12-0 lead at half time in what was a physical and even game of sevens. From there, they had the platform to give themselves the confidence to have a go in the second half and run the life out of Harrow. That they did, scoring early on with a lovely dancing try from a simple cut back inside, followed swiftly by a simple numbers try as they kept the ball alive for well over a minute.
At 24-0 up they were in complete control now, and the icing was added to the cake with virtually the final play when they pounced on a loose ball to on the Harrow line to secure a brilliant 29-0 win and with it the 2018 Edwin Doran Surrey Schools Senior 7s title.
It truly was a brilliant performance from Cranleigh throughout the day, from winning a tough group to knocking out three of the toughest sides in the competition in Brighton College, Millfield, and Hampton in their knockout games. To retain the energy and quality in such style in that final really was remarkable.
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