13 March 2019

It was windy and cold on Sunday morning in the north of London. Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet was the host for the tournament and our first game was against a strong Wellington College side.

The game began with Josh Mensah scoring early, giving an air of confidence on which to build, and that trend continued with more tries to follow giving us a solid 19-14 win.

Our next pool game was against Reigate Grammar School, a team who, based on their result against St Edward’s we underestimated, and we were humbled. The pitch conditions may have played a part (covered in puddles and mud) but that was not really an excuse. Two lucky tries from captain Callum Aiken allowed us to squeeze a 12-5 victory.

Our third and final pool game, which would decide our fate in the knockout rounds, was against St Edward's School, a good local rivalry. Following an intense warm up led by Miss Atkinson, we had our minds focused on the game. We burst into action with a great try from Harvey Vinton we then proceeded to put 31 more points against them with tries from Josh, Felix and Callum finishing the game 38-12.

As a result of topping our group, we entered the Cup tournament, setting up for us to face St Joseph’s College, Ipswich in the quarter final. After another strong warm up and pep talk from Mr Hunter we marched onto the field. An amazing team performance ensued, putting 10 tries past them in total, including 2 in the first minute. The end result was a staggering 55-0, sending us straight through to the semi-finals where we would take on Trinity School, Croydon. 

Reaching the semi-finals of this big tournament was a great achievement, but we aspired for more. Trinity School, Croydon was a very good side and by this point in the day everyone was beginning to tire. Unfortunately both Krishen Rao and Barney Fox had picked up injuries so our bench was wearing thin.

However we scored first giving us a big advantage for the rest of the game. They equalised by trucking it up the middle of the pitch over and over. 5-5 at half time, made for tense viewing.

The second half commenced with a Trinity score putting them 5 points ahead, but a length of the pitch try by Felix Kind tallied up the scores. A fantastic solo effort from Captain Callum put Abingdon back in the lead, and a tidy conversion from Felix Kind put us 17-10 ahead. However, it wasn’t over yet. Trinity weren’t finished and put another try into the corner. It was very windy at this point and only one try had been converted by either team. If they scored this kick it would send the game into extra time. After a long build he took the drop kick and missed, sending us through to the final; a huge achievement.

Whitgift School were our opponents; a very strong team that had won the tournament the previous year, whereas an Abingdon side had never reached the final of the tournament. Kick off occurred and after a very tight first half where fatigue was really kicking in it was 7-7. Despite being tired we understood the stakes of the game, lifted our heads and headed out to fight again once more.

They scored next, a try from their winger came out of nowhere, and despite our best effort we couldn't keep up with him. Despite the fact that they scored again, we kept our heads in the game. A little move and a turn of pace sent Tom Robson through to the try line where he outpaced their whole team to stick it underneath the posts; a great try. But it was too little too late. The ref blew the full time whistle. A very successful day from Abingdon U14 VII winning all but one; the final. There were standout performances from everybody playing. A special thanks to Miss Atkinson and Mr Hunter for leading us to the final. Well done!

Written by Callum Aiken

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