Tough at the Top!
Stamford School First XV experienced all the highs and lows of top level sport at the weekend at the St Joseph’s College National Schools Rugby Festival. This event is the Champions League of schoolboy rugby with many of the top tier schools present from all over Great Britain, including Millfield and Colstons from England, Campbell College from Belfast and the Scottish Schools champions Merchiston Castle from Edinburgh.
The boys performed well in the opening exchanges going down narrowly to Dulwich College (15-3) and pre tournament favourites Bedford School (8-5). Stamford were defending well, but failing to convert pressure into points. Merchiston Castle came from behind to pip Stamford at the death, although each performance was improving. Heartbreak followed on the Sunday morning as a penalty and a last minute drop goal sailed wide meaning the contest with RGS Guildford was a draw.
A brilliant second half fight back saw Stamford triumph over QEGs Wakefield but it was agony once more as an RGS High Wycombe penalty sailed over in the last minute of the last game to deny Stamford the chance of any silverware (8-7). There were outstanding performances from all members of the squad but it was the back row of Bertie Toseland, Tom Gulland and skipper Ross Cutteridge that set the standard.
First XV Coach David Laventure commented “This was a huge step up in terms of pace, power and intensity. It’s a fantastic competition and the boys learned a great deal about themselves!”
Captain Ross Cutteridge was full of praise for his squad; “It was a great experience to be competing at that level. We will always wonder about a few ‘what ifs?’, but I could not ask for more from the boys!”