28 November 2018

Last Wednesday our Under 13s attended the Pinewood Rugby Sevens Festival. In wet, slippery conditions the boys were not able to play their usual expansive style and were drawn into a physical battle with their opposition. Following an unconvincing victory against Pinewood and drawing against St Hugh’s they lost their subsequent two games against Wycliffe College and The Downs Malvern. In the 9th/10th place play-off our Under 13s registered a 17 – 5 win against Ashfold.

On the same day, our U12s were also involved in a rugby festival at St Edward's, Oxford. This was a very impressive festival and showcased the best rugby schools in the country, such as Millfield Prep, Caldicott and the Dragon to name just a few. Over 30 prep schools from around the country took part and there were four groups of up to eight schools in each.

Our first, and sadly only, victory came in the first match against Sedbergh. An early interception gave us a quick score and we kept our momentum to win. A tough and very close match against Cheltenham Prep saw us go down by just one score. But by then we were beginning to play some effective rugby and our defence was excellent.

Millfield and Winchester House came in quick succession and tired legs and a few knocks meant we had to dig deep to keep competitive. It is testament to the bravery of the players and their determination to keep in the match that meant all schools had to play their very best to beat us.

A tough day perhaps but in every match the boys played some superb rugby: moving the ball wide, gaining quick ball from some powerful rucking and combining a number of phases together.

On Thursday our Under 11s began the Cokethorpe Festival well with a convincing win over Cothill House School (25-0). In the next two matches we dominated possession and scored some excellent team tries against Christ Church Cathedral (40-0) and Sibford School (25-0).

Our final group game was against Winchester House, who were the holders of the trophy. It was a close fought contest and despite a late interception try we ran out winners (15-5). This meant that we had qualified for the 1st place play-off against Summer Fields School. A dominant start gave us an early try, which we held until half-time. Summer Fields kept possession well in the second-half and two tries were conceded close to our line. At the final whistle the boys were dejected but they can be proud of their efforts and were fully-deserving of their runners-up medals at the presentation.

On Friday, Abingdon Prep hosted their 8th annual Under 13 Rugby Sevens Festival. There were several schools competing including: Pitsford, Cothill House, St Andrew’s, Pinewood and Beachborough, as well as our own A and B VII. Despite no wins, the U13 B VII improved as the tournament progressed and they narrowly lost their 7th/8th place play-off by 17-21.

The U13 A VII won all three of their group matches by a significant margin to reach the 1st/2nd place play-off. A slow start saw them three tries to nil at half-time. A second half resurgence saw us reply with a try but a little too late. The final score was 7-17 and we finished well deserved runners-up.

On Saturday we hosted the touring Taunton Prep U11s and U13s. Both teams recorded impressive wins by 40-10 and 50-0 in difficult playing conditions.

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