TAG Rugby Finals
Chislehurst's TAG rugby team went to Park House RFC and narrowly missed out on winning the Bromley Championships for the 2nd year running.
After having qualified as runners-up to Edgebury the week previous, our TAG rugby team headed into the finals as the underdogs. The finals took place under torrential rain and muddy conditions at Park House RFC in Hayes. Joining us and Edgebury in the final 5 were Balgowan, St Mary’s and perennial favourites Pickhurst.
There was no easing into it on this day, as our first match had us playing Edgebury. In all fairness to our local rivals, Edgebury had the run of play and led by two tries with only minutes to play. A huge interception by Adam got us back in the game, and when the bell rang to signal time, we were allowed to finish our possession and score the tying try. Final score 12-12.
It was on to Pickhurst next, and once again we battle valiantly to a team who featured arguably the fastest boy in the tournament. We contained him to some extent, but Pickhurst controlled the game for most of the time. We hung around however, with Barnaby and Olivia making some athletic tags on defence, and much like in our first game, we managed to sneak a try in as time expired to earn another draw, this one 7-7.
Although we had yet to win, we had also yet to lose. We got off to a great start vs St Mary’s in our third match, leading by as many as three tries. The team battled back however, and it was once again our final possession that made the difference, as the bell rang and we put one over the try line to win by one. The team were showing a resilient attitude; Naomi, Rose and Matthew all coming in for valuable minutes and showing their value to the team. All of a sudden we realised that we weren’t out of this tournament by any means, even with only the one win.
It turned out that we would need to win our final match and have Balgowan, who had 3 wins, lose their final match. As the final match featured us vs Balgowan, it became a winner take all game. We got off to another good start, and most of the time we led by two tries. Even after Eric, who had been playing so well, went out with an injury, and only a minute remaining, we had possession and were well on our way to marching the ball in for the final try to secure our place at the London Youth Games. TAG rugby can be a cruel game sometimes, and we got called for an infraction of two TAG belts on one side and turned the ball over to Balgowan. The same bell that had saved us on several occasions already came back to bite us on this one, as our opponent managed to score a try on their final possession to earn a draw.
Despite not losing a single match, the draw was enough for Balgowan to earn first place in the tournament, but we proudly accepted our silver medals after what can only be described as a brave performance by an overachieving squad from Chislehurst. The jubilation from the Balgowan squad was fitting; they knew they had knocked off the champions in an epic match-up!
Last year’s team had great success, but it was expected as most of the team played rugby outside of the school. This year’s team featured only two Old Elthamian rugby players in Barnaby and Adam, the rest of the team simply rose to the occasion and played their hearts out to finish as the second best team in all of Bromley. Mr Carere noted that the most improved players in the tournaments were Summer and Jake, who could not be denied additional playing time as they both proved very reliable options in attack.
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