Ealing Schoolboys are National Champs!

U13 rugby trophy returns to St Benedict's

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The final against Glantaf on youtube

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St Benedict’s Ealing took the first tournament of the prestigious U13 Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens with a storming 24-0 win over Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf School in Cardiff on Tuesday 27th March.

This is the first time the trophy has returned to St Benedict’s since 1991.

The Bennies boys started their campaign with the group stages on the Monday and got off to a shaky start. They faced Reigate first, and were caught sleeping in the first half as they went in 14-0 down. In the second half they kicked into gear and scored three tries in quick succession to win 19-14.

From then on, they never looked back and topped the group after hammering Lincoln Minster 43-0 and beat Torquay 26-12. In doing so, they played Bradford in the last 32 winning 36-26, and then played Loughborough producing an exceptional display of sevens to win 43-21.

Tom Madden and Toby Aldridge were powerhouses all day, rarely missing tackles and displaying an instinctive defensive understanding of each other to win the contact situation. With the constant supply of ball, the Bennies backs could demonstrate pace and flair in the likes of Charlie Page and Ronaldo Boyle with the guile of Will Taylor pulling all the strings to tear teams apart.

After finishing the day on Monday, the boys new the task ahead was not going to be easy as the draw for the quarter final saw them line up against Warwick. Warwick had previously won the Berkhamsted Sevens, beating Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf in the final, after the Welsh side had comprehensively knocked us out in the semi-finals 38-7.

The quarter final kicked off and it was a very close encounter. Both sides were defending immensely with little space to attack and Bennies went in 14-10 up at half time. In the second half Warwick scored a converted try early on to make it 17-14. They then started to soak up the time and control possession, and had Bennies defending their line as they tried to score and finish the game off in the last minute. However, as they went to score a try, they knocked it over the line, giving Bennies a lifeline as seconds remained for one more scrum.

The forwards gave everything to secure the ball on the scrum and the ball flew out to Charlie Page who fended off his outside man to run down the touchline from his own try line. He then perfectly timed his step to evade the tackle from Warwick’s sweeper to score under the posts and take his team into the semi-finals.

In the semi-final against Wallington County Grammar, Bennies always seemed to be in control, but never found their rhythm and had to rely once again on Charlie Page to pull them through. Bennies were leading 10-7 with a minute to go until Wallington finally found space for their fastest player who looked like he was going to run the length of the pitch and score, only to be tackled short by the determined Charlie Page who impressively covered the width of the pitch and more to tackle him into touch. The final whistle went to the relief of all the Bennies faithful and the boys marched on to the final.

Looking tired and disheartened after their semi-final performance and a gruelling two days to reach the final, head coach Nick Guise pulled them all aside and asked them what they wanted from today. All of them unanimously said “Win”, until the colossus of the team Toby Aldridge looked up and said “I want to inflict as much pain as possible!”

Words can be meaningless if they are not backed up by actions, but whatever few words was said before the final was enough to inspire the boys to new heights, and they certainly saved the best performance for last. Right from the kick off, Toby Aldridge caught the ball, smashed through one tackle and offloaded to Charlie Page to score under the posts.

The boys went in at half time with a narrow lead of 7-0, but always felt in control. Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf were unable to get out of their own half all game. Every player played in the final, and everyone stepped up as a team. Theo Morris scored a lovely solo try jinxing through the defensive line, while Ronaldo Boyle was leading the blitz defence to squeeze the life out of the Welsh whenever they had the ball. Toby Aldridge scored and Charlie Page got another in the second half to win 24-0 and be crowned National Champions.

St Benedict’s director of sport Nick Guise was understandably delighted and said: “The boys have grafted for the last two days and they have worked extremely hard. They have showed class all over the pitch and have the ability to score tries from anywhere. It was personally one of my greatest sporting achievements, and I am very proud of the boys who wore their colours with pride and passion for all to see. The season has had its highs and lows, but we never stopped believing in ourselves and what we were capable of doing as a team. With everything the school has been through lately off the field, maybe fate was on our side. Either way it’s just great to be National Champions!”

5th April 2012