As one of The Croft coaches, we set out to encourage and enthuse pupils, providing an environment where those we teach can thrive, hopefully creating a few fond memories along the way; whether that be a sing-song on the coach with friends, match tea shared with the opposition regaling the on-field battle, a goal scored from the halfway line or representing your school at the National Schools’ Rugby Tournament!
On Sunday 6 March, The Croft U9 boys travelled to Epsom College to compete against the top 18 schools in the country at the National Schools’ Rugby Tournament, having qualified back in November from the regional qualifiers at Warwick. The weather was bright, but cold. Our pool games were on pitch 2 which had quite a slope - the boys felt like they were playing on the side of a small hill!
We started slowly against Shrewsbury House and lost a game we could have won, but the boys soon found their feet and won the next three games convincingly against Yardley Court, St Columba’s and Northcote Lodge, putting us in the quarter-finals against Chesham Prep who had won their pool. During this match, the boys put in an outstanding performance, playing some fabulous rugby, running in 8 tries.
In the semi-finals, we were up against Danes Hill: at this point we’d played back-to-back games and came up against a quality side, where we needed to be at our very best. The intensity we had shown in the previous games had dropped off whilst Danes Hill maintained their earlier momentum - ultimately they ran out of worthy winners, going on to win the Final.
The boys’ tenacity in defence and togetherness was incredible and set them apart from many of their competitors - whilst they didn't walk away National champions, Mr Geekie and I couldn’t have asked any more of the boys, who were both excellent on and off the field. The whole day was a great learning experience for the boys and will make them stronger for future challenges.
Sunday’s achievement, following on from a hugely successful rugby term, is down to the Year 4 boys’ willingness to improve, their hard work and their commitment - pushing each other to be their very best has seen them become an incredibly strong group. Finishing third is a fantastic achievement, something the boys and the school should be very proud of, being all the more impressive considering many of the teams we faced had a much larger pool of players from which to select.
For me, the day is made up of many fond memories, the camaraderie and support from our travelling families, the collective spirit of the boys, those game-changing tackles that knocked the opposition back time after time, and the amount of cake I was offered! Thank you all.
Well done boys.
Mr Nicholas Harper
Head of Games & PE (Boys)