First XV test their metal at top tournament
Following a home victory over Uppingham, Stamford School First XV finished their half term with a trip to The National XV a side Championship at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich. This is the “Champions League” of schoolboy rugby with 16 of the top teams from all over Britain in two days of tough intense competition. The Stamford School boys started strongly and came within a whisker of upsetting tournament favourites Millfield School leading 10-8 going into the last 5 minutes before an untimely mistake cost them possession and a score with minutes to go. They bounced back in convincing led by skipper Connor Collett and back row colleague Declan Spaine and the boot of Callum Crellin saw them home to victory over Abingdon School. Their final game on the Saturday was another physical ding dong with John Fisher School. The forwards worked hard to for a platform and despite conceding early Stamford fought back to lead going into the closing minutes. Despite controlling the possession and territory, a mistake in the last minute proved costly as Fisher counter attacked and nailed a penalty with the last play of the game!
The boys produced more good rugby on the Sunday to beat both Old Swinford Hospital and Royal Institute Belfast. Jamie Richardson controlled play well from nine allowing George Cox, Angus Collett and Archie Toseland to carry into the heart of the opposition, creating space and tries for Callum Corbett, Henry Martin and Harry Lovell. Their final game was a tough frustrating affair as tired legs meant they lost a close contest by one score to RGS Newcastle despite enjoying more possession and territory than their opponents.
First XV Coach David Laventure was pleased with his charges: “This is a fantastic tournament that really tests the player’s physicality and skill sets under enormous pressure. I think they have coped pretty well and the lessons learned should stand them well for the remainder of the season.”
Captain Connor Collett added; “It’s always a tough gruelling competition, but the boys proved that they can live with anyone. Hopefully it will help us strive for that consistency.”