After the recent victory in the Salver Cup at the North of England 7s, the First VII continued their fine start to the season by winning our own U18 tournament held at Droitwich Rugby Club. In what can only be described at horrendous conditions the squad did fantastically well to win the inaugural Marc Roberts shield, with victory over Bromsgrove in the final.
The day started with tight wins over Bablake King Henry’s (28 – 7) and Old Swinford Hospital (17 – 12) where the team found ourselves a try down in both games. The resilience and fight of having to come from behind was excellent to see, especially in such tough conditions and something that would be a reoccurring theme throughout the tournament. The final group game saw King’s squad breeze past Adams Grammar (41-0) and set up a semi-final showdown with Ellesmere College.
Ellesmere are well known for their sevens and this year seemed no different as they also finished comfortably top of their group and boasted two England players in their team. By now the persistent rain had meant the state of the pitches had deteriorated and become more of a muddy field than a rugby pitch. Winning games would now be difficult and were going to be attritional affairs. The 1st VII started well but found themselves one try down at half-time in the semi-final. A spirited second-half performance, a couple of moments of brilliance from captain Terry and a try in the final play saw us victorious and through to the final against Bromsgrove.
Even though the conditions had worsened further, Bromsgrove started like a train and showed the quality they had by scoring two quick tries, to lead 10 – 0 at the break. However, at no stage did the squad feel as though they were beaten and once again picked themselves and were prepared to give everything they had in the second half. Some excellent play and sheer determination from the forwards saw King’s pull a try back early in the half and put us right back in contention. This try really lifted the boys and from then on in it was one-way traffic and managed to score with only 30 seconds to go. Captain Terry once again proved the difference when he broke blind from a scrum, before fending off the covering defence. A nervous final few seconds ensued with Bromsgrove throwing everything at us, but some resolute defence forced an error and the Marc Roberts Shield was ours.
King’s now look forward to the famous Rosslyn park National 7s next week but preparation couldn’t have gone better in the last two weeks and taking silverware from the last two tournaments should give a lot of confidence to the whole squad. The First VII will play against Downside School, Sevenoaks School and Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr from Wales in their group matches on Tuesday 22nd March.
See photos below from the Marc Roberts 7s Tournament.