U13 Rugby Team Have a New Title
Claires Court U13 emphatically underlined their status as Berkshire’s premier rugby team at their age group at the Berkshire Festival on Thursday. Finishing the day with a playing record of six wins from six matches, scoring forty one tries and conceding just one in the process. The tournament’s format was two pool stages, the first drawn at random followed by a second round of seeded pools based on results. Claires Court A team made light work of their first group winning their matches 50-0, 30-0 and 35-0 against Parkhouse, Desborough College and Denfield respectively.
Not to be out done, Claires Court B team came out victorious in all three of their initial group matches beating Sandhurst (15-10), Bohunt (20-0) and Theale Green (20-5). In the draw for the second group stage Claires Court B missed out on the top pool due to an inferior points difference, although they were still to face stiff opposition in the form of Reading Blue Coat A team, Kennet and Maiden Erlegh. Refusing to back away from the challenge the B team performed heroically beating Maiden Erlegh 20-5 in their group opener. Unfortunately by this time injuries and fatigue were beginning to take their toll on the squad. Despite never giving in Kennet School (10-0) and Reading Blue Coat A team (20-0) proved too strong in their final two matches leaving the boys with a 7th placed finish which is an outstanding effort in an A team festival.
After such a strong showing in their opening matches Claires Court A team were drawn in the top group for the second round of matches against St. Bartholomew’s, Furze Platt and Piggott School. Physically inferior to all three of the teams in this group Claires Court knew they would need to be at their best to come out on top. Their first game came against Piggott who had impressively seen off Reading Blue Coat A team 10-0 in their group match and it was them who drew first blood taking advantage of Claires Court getting too narrow in defence and breaking down the left wing to score very early in the contest.
Claires Court worked their way back into the game and after some positional and tactical changes came out 25-5 winners at the end of the contest. Buoyed by their second half showing Claires Court went into their second ‘Maidenhead derby’ of the day against a big powerful Furze Platt side in a confident mood. Claires Court demonstrated a defensive intensity from the start of the match that Furze Platt could not match. This was matched by some scintillating attacking rugby stretching Furze Platt’s defence into the wide channels where they could not cope with the pace and ball handling ability of the Claires Court backline, a scoreline of 35-0 was a fair reflection of a magnificent performance.
That result left Claires Court one win away from producing a clean sweep of results leaving them undisputed leaders of Berkshire under 13 rugby. The match was against a physically imposing St. Bartholomew’s school. Unintimidated by the size difference, Claires Court’s defensive desire was once again outstanding, they were relentless in their physicality both in the tackle and whilst rucking. Their work ethic was fittingly underlined in the final play of the tournament whilst already 25-0 up and defending metres from their own line, Claires Court refused to allow St. Bartholomew’s over the line, eventually turning the ball over at the ruck, quickly spreading it to the opposite side of the pitch, for the Claires Court winger to finish off a flowing move that had gone the length of the pitch. Again the 30-0 scoreline didn't flatter Claires Court in the slightest and rounded off a special day in a very memorable way.
A Team squad: William Chandler, Oliver McMillan, Aaron Mussell, Harry Ruinet, Jack Downing, Will Keylock (Captain), Connor Peters (Vice-Captain), Charlie Webster, Raphael Seigner, Ben Morgan, Olly Gandy, Tom Molhoek, Matthew Creaser
B Team Squad: William Paveley, Harry Anyon (Captain), Christopher Ditchfield, Henry Brandwood, Jake Roberts, Maximus Chapman, Jakob Allen, Sam Mead, Jack Warner, Andrew Paul, George Grover, Josh James Fisher, Max Doherty, Oliver Spence
Scott Harris, Claires Court Head of Rugby said:
‘We are very proud of both the way both the A and the B teams performed at the Berkshire Festival. For the B team to be competing so well against A teams from other schools bodes very well for the future. Our A team are a very special group of boys, it is not only their ability that makes them such a good rugby team, it is their intensity, commitment and desire but most importantly their ability to respond to feedback and adapt quickly that sets them apart.’