On Wednesday 13th November, the 1st XV returned to the home of Premiership outfit Harlequins to face Gordon’s School in the Daily Mail Trophy at the Twickenham Stoop Stadium.

The players ran out in front of a well-supported crowd on what was to be a fantastic occasion. Emanuel kicked off and set the tone early on, with Jude Todd-Warmoth winning the aerial battle and turning the ball over. The first try came from fly-half Monty Keogh early on (5-0). Poor discipline let Gordon’s back in (5-3) but the 5 point margin was regained from the boot of Jack Seymour (8-3). Further ill-discipline and game management cost us once again (8-6) before Seymour added to his point tally, sending Emanuel School (11-6) up at half-time.

Gordon’s school came out hard and fast in the second half, but Emanuel School weathered the storm, Seymour this time missing a shot at goal. Gordon’s later closed the gap and drew level (11-11). Both teams were throwing everything at the game, Emanuel winning the better of the set piece but Gordon’s were taken advantage of the wider pitch. After some fantastic phase play and a period of possession, prop forward Finn Lyttle scored in the corner. Emanuel School were now up (16-11) with less than six minutes on the clock.

Gordon’s kicked deep, applying pressure and forcing Emanuel in to touch. Emanuel forward Marcus Nichols turned the line-out over only for possession to be thrown away. Gordon’s turned the ball over and scored a fantastic try in the corner to draw level (16-16). This game was full of big moments, calling for big players to step-up. All credit must go to the Gordon’s goal kicker who curled in the conversion from out wide to put them finally ahead (18-16). The referee called last-play from the restart, Will Craigie hung the kick high for number 8 Charlie Sinclair to gather and break free, only for winger Ben Thesiger to be brought down deep in the opposition 22. Gordon’s rattled giving away a penalty within range of the uprights. Emanuel School trailed for the first time in the game (18-16), with a penalty kick to win or lose the match. Big moments call for big plays… centre Will Craigie stepped up to take the shot, but unfortunately pushed it to the right of the post sealing the victory for Gordon’s.

All credit to the 24 players involved – they left everything out on the field and just fell short. Undoubtedly the senior rugby programme will learn more from that defeat than we would have in victory. Congratulations to Gordon’s School and thank you to Harlequins for hosting such a fantastic occasion.

Mr S Gaynor (Director of Rugby)