Saturday brought the annual U10 Rugby Festival to Lonsdale Road, always a lovely occasion of rugby under blue skies on a crisp early winter morning.
Ten sides entered in a waterfall festival format with each team playing four group games and a final match against the team from the corresponding finishing place in the other group. SPJ lost the opener to a strong Donhead side but recorded a victory over Thomas’, Fulham. A loss to Shrewsbury House in a close game was followed by another victory against Rosslyn Park B. This meant taking on Rosslyn Park A in the final waterfall game, an intriguing affair given there were some SPJ boys in the RP side. SPJ ended the morning with a splendid performance, winning handsomely. Our thanks go to the boys who represented the school with distinction, parents for their continued support and of course to all the staff who gave so freely of their time to officiate.
On Monday boys from the U13C and D teams travelled to DPL and in two splendid performances were both worthy victors. On Tuesday, DPL came to Lonsdale Road with their U10 year group and in grim and very chilly conditions the boys in both teams admirably played some excellent rugby. All the games were close with the A’s drawing a close one, the B’s winning well and the C team also drawing a tight contest. The D, E, F and H teams all lost narrowly but the G team posted a worthy draw in an excellent game.
Wednesday saw DPL visit again, this time with the U12C, D, E and F teams. Although the F team lost, they were playing a side above them and played very well indeed. The E team won handsomely whilst the D team drew a great game. This left the C team to post another excellent victory.
Whilst all this was going on the U11A and the U13A were at the annual and prestigious Wellington Festival. Both sides were drawn in tough pools but acquitted themselves really well and displayed some fantastic rugby. The U11’s were in something of a pool of death with some of the big names in Prep School Rugby to play. An early loss to a strong Beacon side might have set the tone for a disappointing day but the boys picked themselves up and beat both Shrewsbury House and Moulsford in their next two games. Caldicott were next up and in an end to end affair where the supporters were quite literally going bonkers, Caldicott eventually ran out winners in what must surely have been game of the tournament.
Across the fields, the U13s nearly paid the price for a lacklustre start against a strong Aldro side but managed to pull themselves back into the game, scoring two late tries to draw the game. After this shock, the boys then played well to outclass Lambrook and a dogged KCS. This left Oratory in the final game. Our opponents were big, muscular and athletic and although defeated by three tries to one, our boys fought a splendid rearguard action as injuries began to decimate the side and showed the kind of spirit we come to expect from a Junior Pauline.
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