1st XV Rugby Tour to Yorkshire

16 Sep 2015

Another wonderful week-end in the North, blessed (just!) by good weather and excellent sport.

Woodhouse Grove School again proved wonderful hosts both on and off the pitch. The boys found themselves 19-0 down after 15 minutes and needing a much improved effort to just stay with the hosts. Pleasingly, the squad found that and more, not only seeing the game end 29-10, but equally importantly bringing a level of self-belief that would be vital the following day. Saturday afternoon was spent in the delightful surroundings of Wharfedale RFC – not many, if any, other National League 1 grounds have a stone brick wall across one end of the ground and sheep happily grazing behind it! The boys were treated to a 72 point game, with Esher defeating the hosts 46-26 in an end to end encounter.

Overnight in Lancaster the boys were a real credit to the school, and we then made our way to Sedbergh, the side fully aware of the task that was ahead of them. The XV that had made a slow start the previous day had a chance to redeem themselves and they seized it, taking the game to the hosts when in possession and straining every sinew to keep their line intact when the home team came forward. A scoreless first 30 minutes belied the tremendous rugby on show, much to the appreciation of a large crowd.
Just as it looked as though the unrelenting hard work was beginning to tell, great tackling saw Sedbergh spill the ball on their own 22 and Archie Smith-Maxwell scooped it up and crossed in the corner for a try converted by James Tattersall. Effective clearing kicks enabled Sedbergh to be kept pinned back and, as they tried to force the game from deep, Witham capitalised. Firstly Noah Cooper stole the ball from a maul to gallop over, Tattersall adding the extras, and then in the last minute captain Geordie Irvine and full back Toby Hanson completed excellent approach play to bring about a 24-0 win. Whilst the late scores flattered Witham in terms of the scoreboard, the energy, passion and determination that had gone into the 60 minutes of exhilarating rugby was richly rewarded. As ever, Sedbergh, like Woodhouse Grove, were most generous hosts and equally appreciative of our visit.

The week-end was made by the wonderful parental support the boys enjoyed across both days. Sunday will certainly will be a day everybody will remember. Thank you!

Charles Welch