Earlier in the Lent Term, 14 Year 6 boys met on the playing fields for the first of round of eight rugby sevens training sessions in preparation for the tournaments that would be coming towards the end of the term.
The boys had a very successful 9-a-side season and we were looking forward to teaching this group a brand new game. The first couple of sessions were quite challenging with the boys having to un-learn some of the patterns of play that we had been drilled into them before Christmas. By week three, the boys were starting to pick up the subtleties of the game and were developing into a promising squad.
The first tournament was at the City of London Freeman’s School. A group of nine players were selected from the original training squad of 14. It was clear from this first tournament that the team had a combination of power and pace coupled with some deft handling skills. The boys played four matches during this tournament winning three of them and drawing one.
The second tournament was hosted by Donhead School and it was clear from looking at the list of schools attending (Whitgift School, Trinity College, Dulwich College and Caldicott School) that this was not going to be an easy day.
The boys approached the tournament with a great deal of confidence after their previous outing, but we knew that we would need to be at our best to equal our earlier achievement. Throughout the day, the boys played with real tenacity and determination. There were occasions during the tournament when their backs were against the wall, but they refused to be beaten. At the end of the group stages, we were unbeaten having won six games and were then drawn against the winning team from the other group, Whitgift School. The final proved to be easier than some of our group games with Eltham in full flow at this stage, winning 20-5.
Our final tournament of the season was over at St Benedict’s School in Ealing. The boys were a little sluggish in their first few matches with our attack not functioning as well as it had in the previous tournaments.
Thankfully, a combination of a very aggressive defensive effort and moments of individual brilliance in attack meant that the team remained unbeaten. Their try line was unbroken going into a re-match with Caldicott School. We had narrowly beaten them at the Donhead School tournament by 15-10 in a match where few key moments went our way.
The boys went into the game confident but were aware that they had to raise their game considerably from their previous efforts. Their aggressive defence proved too much for our opponents coupled with some clinical finishing. The final score was 25-0 to Eltham.
At the end of the tournament, not only was the team unbeaten, but none of our opponents had managed to even score a try against us.
At the end of the season, the boys had played 16 matches and had not lost one. This is an amazing achievement, unmatched by any previous Eltham Junior School Sevens teams. The consistency in the way the team played was admirable and their desire to improve and play to the best of their ability is to be commended.
Written by: Mr O’Dwyer, Head of Junior School Games and Co-Curricular