Tag Rugby Finals 2019
The rugby team, having progressed to the finals, arrived on Friday at Tooting and Mitcham FC with the weight of a school resting on their shoulders. The warm up was not good; the team looking as sharp as a broken pencil! Still, adrenaline only kicks in when ‘real’ opposition are in front of you and with Bishop Gilpin first up the team were certainly up for it. Sadly, Bishop Gilpin had runners, dummy runners and pace to burn, and made a strong start, taking a commanding 3-0 lead. The team fought back, with tries from Hugo D and Nina, but BG came out deserving 5-2 winners.
A game break gave us a chance to lick our wounds and decide on a better way forward. Against an Abbotsbury defence that rushed up close to the breakdown, good passing exposed space out wide and we were comfortable 3-1 winners. Still buzzing from that victory, we carried that momentum into our final pool game against Stanford. Their attack broke through a few times, and some good last-ditch defence from Ewan, Sam and Ava H kept them out at crucial times. St Matthew’s looked good in attack, with Ethan taking the ball to line and making some nice off-loads to put Travis, Hugo D and Sarah in space out wide. We held our nerve, better than a Brexit negotiator, coming out 3-2 winners in a tense affair.
With the pool stages over, a long lunch break began. With no marking to do or afternoon lessons to set up, Mr Peck looked lost at sea. Supporter numbers were boosted, as parents turned on their out of office email and went to ‘meet a client’. The children barely noticed, amusing themselves with a game of catch and searching for 4 leaf clovers in the synthetic pitch!
Back to the rugby, having finished second in our pool, we could mathematically still win the tournament. However, to do so would mean beating every team from then on. Our first game would see us pitched against Hillcross, who we had narrowly lost to in the 3rd/4th place game last week. Sadly, déjà vu ensued and we lost a tense game 3-1.
That meant a game against Malmesbury. It was end to end stuff, with Hugo D and Sam to the fore in attack, several times breaking the line and finding space better than Tim Peake. When the full time hooter sounded, the teams were all square at 4-4. Both teams lost 3 players each and Ava H won the rock-paper-scissors bout to ensure St Matthew’s started with the ball. (Now we all know what she’s been playing at break times!) We only needed one phase, Hugo D getting the ball in acres of space, and the Malmesbury defence having no hope of catching the little man. St Matthew’s winning 5-4 with a golden try!
Unfortunately, the final game felt like a carbon copy, except we ended up on the wrong side of the score line. Full time against St Teresa’s finished 5-5 but we lost the rock-paper-scissors bout (not Ava this time) and lost the golden try, 6-5. Still, 6th place was a very good place to finish. The team were recognised for their sportsmanship on the day with the refspect award and I wholeheartedly agree.