On the 12th November, glorious sunshine greeted fourteen Under 11 rugby teams at the lovely Bedford Swifts Rugby Football Club. The event was hosted by Rushmoor School and coordinated by Mr Richbell, so a huge thanks from ISA must go to both, who were superb in their organisation, endeavour and enthusiasm.
The teams were split in to three pools which was followed by knockout rounds in both a Cup and Plate competition. This guaranteed schools at least five matches each which provided all children with invaluable competitive experience. The matches were efficiently refereed by Rushmoor sports staff and confidently assisted by year 8 pupils; the latter being a nice inclusion of the day. Overall, the standard of rugby was superb and it was obvious each team had been very well coached. The technical abilities of many players exemplified the improving nature of ISA rugby. The Cup competition was closely competed but eventually Claires Court, Finborough, Queen Ethelburga’s and Littlegarth made the semi-finals.
In what was probably the match of the tournament Claires Court and Finborough battled it out for a place in the final. Both teams were almost faultless, consequently cancelling each other out for the majority of the fixture. As they had done all day, Claires Court passed the ball with aplomb but were constantly thwarted by a Finborough defence who were outstanding in their tackling ability. Eventually, Finborough broke the deadlock and went on to achieve victory by the narrowest of margins. The second semi-final was fought between defending champions, Littlegarth and Queen Ethelburga’s. This was a much more open affair with both teams achieving a fair amount of attacking success. QE eventually scored a superb try and looked to have the game under control until late pressure from Littlegarth suggested extra time was looming. In the end, QE held on to their lead and went on to join Finborough in the final.
The grand finale did not disappoint, with both teams going hammer and tong in an attempt to obtain the ISA national crown. Despite a gruelling day, the boys continued to display accomplished handling, technically apt tackling and well-practised attacking and defensive routines. Notwithstanding an honourable attempt to restrict Finboroughs’s constant threats, Queen Ethelburga’s stubbornness was finally broken down. Finborough eventually went on to clinch victory and became ISA’s new National Under 11 Rugby Champions for 2015/16. Congratulations to Finborough for their achievement and also to Gad’s Hill for winning the Plate competition.
Participating schools: Rushmoor, Littlegarth, Claires Court, Finborough, Sherborne House, Queen Ethelburga’s, Gad’s Hill, Stoke College, Cherry Trees, Crackley Hall, Alleyn Court, Pitsford, Elmhurst.