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Year 8 and 9 County Rugby Sevens

Well, someone above was smiling down on the proceedings as the weather today was the best in living memory for the County Rugby Sevens Championships at Market Rasen with a record entry of over 30 schools.

We took two Y8 and two Y9 teams and were hopeful that all four had the potential of progressing through the pool stages into the quarter finals.  I'll start with the Y8b squad.

This squad lacked a real 'flyer' amongst its ranks, which is a distinct disadvantage in both attack and defence in Sevens.  Our forwards fairly well dominated scrumtime throughout their three pool games but the boys couldn't get the ball away into space quickly enough to capitalise on this superiority.  They were unlucky to lose their first game by one try, coming back from a three try deficit in the first half against Deepings School.  Little did we know then that our 8a squad would play Deepings again in the Plate Final; but more of that later!  Their second game was a real baptism by fire as we played Caistor Grammar who were the eventual Y8 cup winners, and who ran in some spectacular tries against us.  Hopes were still high of progressing into the Plate competition if we could beat John Spendluffe School in our final game; a bit like Scotland v Italy in the Six Nations to avoid the wooden spoon. Things didn't go to plan and although we did score an early try we just couldn't cope with one of their larger speedy players who managed to break through our tackles on too many occasions.  The team didn't progress through unfortunately.

Whilst all the above was going on our 8a squad was playing in a pool of five on a massive full size pitch.  They beat Bourne and Ruskin Academies comfortably.  For some reason after that they lost to Skegness Grammar (one back to Mr Pearce), when really they had all the play.  In their final game QEHS had one absolute flyer that give them a real advantage when he was allowed to run into space.  The boys had to wait on other results to see if they had progressed through into the Cup or the Plate competition.  During the last game, Aaron Bennett picked up a nasty leg injury which literally saw him carried off into the St John's ambulance for treatment; his playing day was over.

We hadn't made the cup draw, which was perhaps a blessing in disguise as there would have been William Farr, Kings, and Caistor to name but the strongest three waiting for us.  Instead we headed off to the Plate quarter final against Tollbar Academy; a game that we almost didn't win had it not been for Tom Shaw and Isaac KP getting us level and eventually ahead to win the tie.  Into the semis.

We were drawn against Bourne Academy, a team who we had already beaten in the pool round.  It didn't look like it in the first half.  We looked slow and 'out of sorts', unable to pass the ball quickly away from the tackle area.  After a stern half time talk by Ben Hitchcock and Joe Shaw (coaches for the day), the team seemed revitalised and ran in some well worked tries, looking much more fluid and 'with it'.  Could we raise our game just one more time in the final?

Sadly no.  It was a very very close game with Priory just shading the first half and looking like we might just pip Deepings.  With the score 10 - 5 to us, their best player, number 11 broke through to run the ball in for a try under the posts which was duly converted; 12 - 10 down.  We had minutes to score that all important winning try.  In our all out attempts, we left ourselves vulnerable to the counter and sure enough seconds from full time, once again that number 11 broke through and ran in the killer score.  Really disappointing for the boys, having worked so very hard to get all the way to the final.

 

Y9 a and b Squads

My inability to be in more than two places at the same time meant I did not see any of the pool games for the Y9s.  The b had a pretty difficult pool of five teams, and after winning their opening game, picking up three injuries along the way, they lost their three remaining games.  No chance of progression.

In contrast, not only did the 9a squad win all their pool games, they did not concede a single point.  Pretty impressive eh?  We drew,..... Ruskin Academy in the quarter finals, a team we had lost to at 15-a-side early season, and a team we might meet in the County Finals if they beat Carres Grammar (again) this Thursday.  It was a tough game.  I when arrived we were 7-0 down and being 'roughed up' a bit at the breakdown area.  If only we could get the ball 'down the line' and into space, we could beat this lot.  And we did, Aiden Lockwood, Jasper Nilssen and Alex Day running in three tries late on in the second half to seal victory.  Through to the semis.  I need to work on this 'being in' bit as I returned to the Y8s at this point and missed the 9a game against Kings School, which didn't go our way.  They were just in a league higher than us at this point in time and offered us a bench mark to aim for in the future. 

No shame there and to any of the teams who gave 110% effort and commitment throughout the day.  They were all well behaved and a pleasure to coach.  Our pledge is to try and create some time at the start of module 4 next year to practice sevens rugby; the potential is certainly there.

I'd just like to pass on my thanks to Mr Whitaker for coaching both Y9 squads and Ben Hitchcock and Joe Shaw for giving up their day and helping to take the 8as to the Plate final.

I very much hope that you will make the effort to come and watch the Y9 boys in the Lincolnshire County Cup Final which will be held at Sleaford RFC; the date to be confirmed, but I'm hoping Tuesday 25th March or Tuesday 1st April.  There will definitely be space on the team coach.

Many thanks.

Mr Brazinskas

 

    The Priory Federation of Academies, Lincoln