16 December 2022

The season started way back in August, with our U16 A and 1st team squads heading off to Bath University for a four-day residential camp. This was highly successful in bringing new age-groups and combinations together, as well as setting the training expectations, foundations and culture for the season, creating inter-age bonds.

This season, we played some old rivals once again, as the Club took on Marlborough College and Cheltenham College, with significant success against both schools. Eton College was a real highlight with the first U14 E fixture of the season and the first ever U14 B win over Eton in our fixtures history. Radley posed a real challenge, but teams fronted-up strong performances, with the pick of the bunch being a cracking win for our 2nd XV. Our U16 As finished the season strongly with a victory over Bedford, making it just one loss all term. The U16 Bs had a great term, and each week a highly competitive U16 Cs were challenging for positions. Also with the 4th XV with a big win against RGS Guildford.

Our U14s went on a tour of Bath for three days, playing two matches and enjoyed some great team building experiences. With 90 pupils choosing rugby this promises to be a year with real depth.

Also in October half-term our U15s took part in the Langley School two-day National Festival, where they won the Plate competition, beating and competing against the likes of Brighton College, Wellington College, RGS Newcastle and The John Fisher School. Our U15 Bs, Cs and Ds have had an incredible season too, scoring hundreds of points against many opposition. But a special mention must go to our U15 As who have now progressed to the quarter-finals of the National Cup Plate Competition post-Christmas after a terrific cup run and a great game last Wednesday against the Crypt School, Gloucester.

Although results might not have always gone our way, the 1st XV were outstanding in their approach to every match this season, competing hard, and enjoying every moment being on that pitch together. With particular highlights of beating MCS and midweek cup matches vs Bishop Wordsworth and particularly close games with Marlborough and Radley.

I am immensely proud to Captain this great club and have enjoyed every moment this season. The adversity, challenges, joys, friendship, and memories will live with me for a long long time. The 1st team worked hard together, never gave up, and loved every minute of being out on that field together representing the school.

Overall, the term has been an incredibly successful one for our Rugby Club, with 20 teams put out – over 375 pupils representing the school in over 147 games – and, as a whole-club combined, we were only 2% off the best club win-ratio since the 2005-06 season. We finished the season with a whole-club trip last Saturday to watch Gloucester ruby in the European Cup with over 100 pupils and staff attending.

I would like to thank you all for the hard work, passion, commitment and loyalty this term. But can I say a huge thank you in particular to the staff who have made our rugby experiences this term so memorable and enjoyable. You have inspired so many, and personally speaking, helped me develop a passion for this great sport over my seven years here.

I am really looking forward to coming back next year, and seeing the progress all the teams have made. We have so many quality teams in the Lower & Middle School – the future is bright – Rugby is in a healthy place at Abingdon School. Have a great Christmas everyone.

Written by Tom Wilson, 1st XV Captain

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