Last week, a team of boys from King Edward VI High School, containing a mixture of Year 10s with a few Year 9s, played in a Rugby County Cup Final against Queen Mary’s Grammar School of Walsall.
The King Edward’s team had to pass through four other rounds to get to the final and faced tough opposition from teams that included Wolverhampton Grammar School.
Earlier in the year, this team had entered a district competition that took place at Stafford Rugby Club, and played against teams such as Blessed William Howard Catholic High School, Sir Graham Balfour School, Alleyne’s Academy and Walton High School. After playing all of these teams the King Eddie’s team came out on top and took overall victory after a close encounter with the Blessed William Howard team.
After this competition win, the Eddies' players went into the new competition with high hopes and with great confidence, and this played a part in the first game. They played a team from Aldersley High School who definitely exuded the same amount of confidence as the Eddies’ team, but a little less desire in the pouring rain. The game was a tight one but the Eddies’ team just had the advantage and eventually won; 7 points to nil.
The next round was due to be against a Walton team who had lost to the Eddies’ players earlier on in the year. But due to unforeseen problems, the Walton team gave way meaning King Edward’s walked on into the next round.
In the next round our team faced an opponent whom they were becoming all too familiar with. Blessed William Howard was the team that had caused them the most amount of trouble in the District Competition, and they knew that it was going to be a difficult match. The Blessed William Howard’s team arrived with only 13 players, and even after gaining 2 more players from the Eddies’ team, they still decided to give the game before the match had started. This didn’t stop an enthralling match break out though as both teams played for pride. After a high scoring encounter Eddies’ edged the win, winning 23 –19.
Going into the semi-final, they were due to play against the favourites in the competition, but because of ineligible players this team was disqualified and so Wolverhampton Grammar School, who had lost to them in the previous round, took their place. Being at home, the Grammar School definitely had the early advantage, and with this advantage, they managed to notch up a 6-0 lead by half time. Half Time though was definitely the turning point. After an inspiring team talk by coach Mr Abel, the Eddies’ team went out all guns blazing, and with three consecutive tries by Josh Wilson, William Turner and Joe Shanley; they took a 15-6 lead running into the remaining moments. Wolverhampton Grammar tried to stage a late comeback with another try, but it wasn’t enough, and as the final whistle went, it was met by jubilation from the Eddies’ players and travelling supporters. The final score was 15-13.
Going in to the final, the Eddies’ players knew they were the underdogs. They were a smaller, less experienced team with much less resources compared to Queen Mary’s Grammar School that they were facing. And this lead to the score at half time: 17-0. Queens’ took a commanding lead going into half time from 3 tries, which all had controversial decisions made into the run-ups of the tries, but did really come from Eddies’ ill-discipline. These three tries really got the Eddies’ players up for the match and wanting revenge on a team which had perhaps not deserved such a big lead.
The Eddies’ players huffed and puffed, but couldn’t knock the Queens’ defensive wall down. It seemed that the Eddies’ players were getting tired and mentally drained, but before they could give up, Jordan Talbot picked the ball out of the air at the line-out a drove towards the line with the help of the Eddies’ forwards behind him. After huge drive by the team, the maul collapsed but only to find that Talbot had put the ball down for the try. The comeback was on.
Straight after the next kick-off, the Eddies players took control and pushed their way deep into the Queens’ defensive area. The Queens’ defence stole the ball back but only to then knock the ball on and give away a scrum only 10 metres out. After a strong scrum from both teams, the ball made its way to the feet of Eddies’ number 8, Jordan Talbot, where he picked the ball up and drove for the line. After stepping 2 people and handing off another, Talbot dived for the line and the try was given. The Eddies’ team was really back in the game.
Queens’ were now deflated, and after a nervy kick-off by them, and a sin bin for one of their players, Eddies’ gained a scrum on the half way after the ball didn’t go 10 metres. From the scrum the ball was shipped out to Will Turner, who kicked the ball over the top for winger Josh Wilson chase. After a lucky bounce, which meant that the Queens’ fullback couldn’t gather the ball, it fell to the feet of Wilson, who kicked it through towards the try line and carried on going until the ball bounced up into his hands and he could score the try. The scores were now 17-17 and it was anybody’s game.
The Queens’ sin binned player returned to the field, and this meant that the Queens’ team had rejuvenated energy and will and this evidently told as the player who just came back on, ran into the corner to score a try. The score was now 22-17 and stayed that way until the final whistle. The Eddies’ team played well but came up just short.
The Eddies’ players, like proper sportsmen, blamed everything under the sun for the reason why they lost, including the referee. But as an emotional Mr Abel explained to them all, they’re a developing team and to even get to the final was an achievement in itself.
In the end, the Eddies’ team was triumphant in defeat and will push again for the trophy next year.
Acting Headteacher, Mr. Christey, congratulated the rugby team on their wins. “Another fantastic performance by our sports teams, well done to you all. Despite setbacks and challenging circumstances throughout the rounds, you have proved successful and have done very well to reach the finals. An impressive triumph. You should be proud of getting so far.” Mr. Christey also thanked coach and Head of PE, Mr. Abel and the staff involved for their efforts and motivation of the team.
Report by Jordan Talbot Y10
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King Edward VI High School