The sevens season finished with a real bang for the School. The U18 squad made it all the way to the National Rosslyn Park semi-finals! They played 4 matches on the first day, the first against Prior Park which we won 35 -19 after two quick tries from Alfie Dudman-Jones and Tom Stileman. The next match was the group decider against Marlborough. We took an early lead from KK Ndewere and Tom Stileman but the game was end to end and a high standard of school boy rugby. At half time we were leading 17 – 7 but an early try from Marlborough put us under pressure. We scored next but frustratingly conceded straight off the following kick off. The final few minutes was a dramatic affair with Marlborough camped on our line, but strong defence meant we turned over the ball and cleared it to touch to win a hard fought encounter. The final group stage was more simplistic and, with the weather deteriorating, the squad knew that the play-off match was going to be physical. We played Worth knowing the winner would be going through to the second day and into the quarter finals. We started well, and defended superbly, putting Worth under pressure and controlling the territory. We ran out winner 15 points to 7.
The quarter final stage involved a pool of three teams: joining us were Cheltenham and Stowe. Stowe, who looked impressive on the first day, was a brutal encounter, but the speed of the team produced a terrific performance winning 29-17. Cheltenham was next up and after we took a 21 point lead with only a few minutes to go it looked like it was going to be a straight forward win. However, Cheltenham came back and scored two quick tries to make the final minutes a tense affair. Charlie Cutting in particular was outstanding in defence and got the crucial turnover to get us over the line.
Sadly the semi final stage was one step too far and injuries had taken its toll. In the final game, the squad lost to the eventual winners Bedford but left with their heads held high. Since the start of the festival competition the School has never made it past the quarter final stages before and what was incredible was that they did it without the two international players (Charlie Piper and Sam Arnold) who were sadly both injured throughout the whole campaign.
This success followed another first for the School at the Surrey Sevens Tournament where the team made it to the quarter finals beating two AASA colleges along the way. The AASA colleges are full time rugby academies for two professional clubs, and it is almost unheard of that a school would play them, let alone beat two of them on the same day.