On Friday 29 November and Saturday 30 November, Eltham College rugby teams played against Skinners’ School.
Friday 29 November
The U12A team played up the hill in the first half against a well organised Skinners team. Outstanding defence from Eltham forced Skinners to lose possession of the ball on countless occasions throughout the game. First half tries, scored by Ethan Mudahy and two from Mike Etebe, left the home team 15-0 up at half time. Eltham’s fantastic defensive display continued into the second half, with further tries from Jermaine Essien and Mike Etebe, who completed his hat-trick with a bulldozing run. Man of the match was Daanish Ashiq, who played his first game since coming back from injury and led the defence in a game that finished 25-5 to Eltham.
Final score: 25-5 win
The U12B team played out a thrilling 25-25 draw with Skinners on Friday afternoon. In a tightly contested first half, Eltham managed to get into a two-try lead, as Charlie R impressed with strong runs leading to both scores. Skinners fought back and halved the deficit by half time. Oscar H broke away for an early score for Eltham in the second half, but again Skinners came back. This time with three quick tries, as Eltham made mistakes in defence. A second try for Oscar and a good piece of opportunism from Matthew M restored Eltham’s lead, but Skinners levelled again before a frantic last five minutes as both sides pushed for the win. It wasn’t to be, and a superb match finished honours even.
Final score: 25-25 draw
The E team had a fantastic game against Skinners’ School on Friday. For some students, it was their debut on the pitch and the team put on a great performance. The boys made some great tackles and showed some good defence. Notable performances included Faheem for his quick side-stepping and excellent communication to the rest of the team, and Arthur and Theo for their superb tackles and strong will to win possession of the ball. Thomas and Arthur received players of the match for their fantastic speed and drive with the ball, which led to some fantastic tries. Well done to all those involved, who showed that commitment and resilience leads to great performance.
Final score: 5-10 Loss
Saturday 30 November
The 13As played out another thriller, as they went down 35-30 in a superb game of attacking rugby in the Saturday morning fog.
Skinners took an early lead, but Eltham fought back immediately. Both sides carried the ball in strong positions, with defence on both sides holding firm, until Skinners managed to get their wingers into play. For a period of 15 minutes either side of half time, Eltham forgot their tackling and allowed Skinners to rack up a 35-10 lead with some excellent tries.
Eltham rallied and fought back as they raised their game and played some scintillating rugby, closing the gap to one score; however they did not have enough time to level the match. With stronger tackling, Eltham may have been able to secure a win.
Final score: 35-30 loss
Eltham made a promising start in their fixture against Skinners’ School when Akhil scored an early try. However, Skinners responded with two unanswered tries through some strong running from their forwards. Against the run of play, Joshua ran nearly the length of the field to score under the posts before half time. Despite playing most of the first half on the back foot, Eltham were buoyed by their still being in the game.
After the break, Skinners scored four unanswered tries, notwithstanding some courageous defence from Eltham. This match could have been a much closer affair had Eltham taken their chances, but they were plagued by some uncharacteristic vacillation in attack and disorganisation in defence.
Wilf Kirby put in a prodigious performance. He covered every blade of grass and played with immense physicality and true bravery.
Final score: 10-30 loss
On a foggy Saturday morning it seemed as if the U13Cs had succumbed to the cold as they quickly went 3-0 down against a hard-running, physical Skinners side. But the Eltham College team showed real character and grit to get back into the game with some fantastic evasive running from Vieshal, control from Noah and counter rucking that any team would be proud of. Having battled back to a score of 5-5, the U13C team had to, once again, repel a barrage of attempts at their line and hold out resolutely with some big tackles, both in the literal sense and the bravery needed. The final score was a fitting end to a fiercely, but fairly, contested fixture.
Final score: 5-5 draw
The U14A team enlisted the help of several wider squad players to help fill the seven gaps made by injury, illness and students acting in the College’s drama production of Fiddler on the Roof. With Skinners’ School being one of the strongest opposition on our fixture list, the team must be commended for the way they pulled together to represent their year group to the best of their ability.
The game started slowly from a Eltham College perspective, with our team failing to compete effectively in contact. This saw a decent Skinners’ side run through our defence numerous times and capitalise on some of our game mismanagement. We showed our worth in the second half, where we mounted the pressure to come away with a well-deserved consolation try that put us on the scoreboard and showed Skinners a glimpse of what to expect next year.
Special commendation must go to Tom Riley, who is relentless in defence and played completely out of position, and to Alex Presland, who has shown countless times that he is happy to do anything for the team – he carries hard, runs hard and gives his all.
Final score: 41 – 5 loss
This game highlights the importance of squad unity and depth in selection. The U14s should be proud of the personal and squad wins they have achieved this far. The final game of the U14 season awaits – St Olave’s.
The U15As put in a gutsy team performance against an accomplished Skinners outfit. With heavy underfoot conditions and a significant slope from right to left, the boys knew they would have to work hard to make hay. Heading down the slope in the first half, the team managed to put three well-worked tries on Skinners. The pick of the bunch was Georgiy, claiming a kick from full back and dancing through the Skinners back line to score, an outstanding individual effort. The second half proved to be more taxing, and the boys were put under real pressure from the get-go. Camped in our own 22 for the majority of the 30 minutes, tackle after tackle went in, shunning the Skinners attack time after time. Some smart rugby saw us move it to the forwards and slow the game down, when we managed to win the ball back. Skinners did manage to get over the line deep into injury time, but it was too little too late as the referee blew the final whistle. A wonderfully spirited performance in which every man played his part.
Final score: 19-15 win
It was a tough game against Skinners’ School on Saturday, which proved to be an injury or five too far for the Year 11 squad. The game started at a fierce pace, mostly from Skinners. Eltham tried hard and put up stiff resistance for an extended period of the first half, but, when the flood gates opened, we had no response to the opposition’s attack. More injuries came our way, plus a sin bin, and before we knew it, our season was over, ending in a big defeat — something that we hadn’t experienced all season. The post-match analysis was to forget today’s result and to only concentrate on what has been a fantastic season.