After narrowly missing out on winning at the North of England Tournament, Ellesmere look forward to the Rosslyn Park National Schools Sevens with confidence.
NORTH OF ENGLAND U18 SEVENS - BIRKENHEAD
ELLESMERE 34 IVYBRIDGE 0
ELLESMERE 19 JOHN CLEVELAND 0
ELLESMERE 29 SANDBACH 5
ELLESMERE 35 STOCKPORT 0
ELLESMERE 19 BROMSGROVE 0
ELLESMERE 5 SEDBERGH 12
SEDBERGH 28 KINGS MACCLESFIELD 10
Hugh Adams, James Farrell Ollie Nevel, Charlie Coates, Ashley James, Neil Morris, Daniel Thomas
Nick James, Will Blackwell, Stephen Bannister
Ollie Platt, Matthew Hinks
The North of England U18 Sevens is made up of 40 schools in 8 groups. We began well against Ivybridge from Devon putting them under pressure and then moving the ball quickly to score. John Cleveland were a tougher challenge and we reached half time only 5 - 0 ahead, although initially with very little ball. In the second half we began to put our game together and eased through. Sandbach was an easier prospect and we duly delivered although we conceded our first try of the tournament, when they took a quick tap penalty and dived over. The final match was the decider for the group against Stockport who were also unbeaten, and we began well with James Farrell collecting our own kick off - something he did superbly all afternoon - to score the first try in 10 seconds. The rest was all Ellesmere where our relentless defence led to spilled ball and scores for us.
It was an exciting prospect to lock horns with Bromsgrove and we began well. Although starved of possession we tackled well. Covering the pitch we survived the ball swinging side to side sometimes four or five times before snatching it from a tackle and producing some magic to score. As we moved three scores ahead the game started to open up for us and we should really have put another couple past them, but despite that we were delighted with our performance.
As with the quarter final we based our performance on defensive organisation and this was well and truly put to the test. So far we had only conceded one try in the tournament, a soft one against Sandbach and our work rate off the ball was phenomenal. We had much the better first half and turned round 5 - 0 ahead. This could have been 12 - 0 when a lovely chip over from our five metre line by Ashley James was collected before running to the 10 metre line drawing their sweeper and putting Neil Morris in under the posts, only for the referee to rule that the pass was forward. Another tremendous piece of play was in defence when a break by Sedbergh on the wing from their 22 led to a long diagonal chase from Neil Morris, who arrived with 5 metres to spare to drive the attacker into touch - exhilarating stuff. It was really tense no mistake rugby, and we had one other chance to put ourselves clear only for the ball to go to ground.
We gave the ball away easily at the start of the second half and did not see it again for a couple of minutes. We defended well but we were eventually outflanked - only just - for the first and only time in the afternoon. Again from the kick off we turned over possession and we were back to defensive duties again. This spell of pressure led to Sedbergh running for the corner only for James Farrell to pull off a superb cover tackle as the winger dived over. Unfortunately James injured his teeth and was forced to leave the field. From the 5 metre throw in we threw the ball low and with our man lifted in the air their front jumper collected and flopped over unopposed. Sedbergh ran the clock down efficiently and that was the game over. We had been starved of the ball in the second half and left to rue the couple that got away in the first half.
This was a truly tremendous performance, against some of the top schools in the North. Kirkham, Durham, Stoneyhurst et al were all participating. Sedbergh won the final easily and we had given them their toughest game, while through the course of the day we attracted appreciative comments for the standard of our play.
9th March 2005 Back to News