It has been a busy start to the spring term for Emanuel rugby and the rugby sevens programme. Our seniors have an action packed schedule before February half-term, with U14, U15, U16 and further U18 tournaments all getting underway in March.

The 1st VII have been up against it at both the Seaford College South-Coast 7s and Shiplake College 7s. The boys have come up against some of the biggest and best rugby programmes in the country including Bedford School, Dulwich College, Tonbridge School and Wellington College to name but a few.

Seaford College 7s

The 1st VII started the day with a competitive fixture against Bedford School which could have gone either way. Tries from Jack Seymour and Jake Brice put the boys ahead but sadly soft defence allowed Bedford back in. A controversial decision which led to Oscar Wainman‘s try being disallowed was the turning point in the game and Bedford went onto win (24-12). Further spirited efforts and competitive fixtures against Seaford College (7-29) and Dulwich College (5-17) meant that the boys progressed in the shield on points’ difference. We drew the Headmasters 7 (Seaford College U18B) and Sevenoaks drew New Hall in the other shield semi-final. We watched on as neither Sevenoaks nor New Hall wanted to attack the game with New Hall coming out on top to meet us in the shield final.

The shield final was an ugly affair which we made hard work of. Every time we took the lead, we let New Hall right back in, until we eventually trailed 19-15. Last play was called and with it some fancy if not lucky footwork from Jake Brice and some great support work from Sam Reeves led to an opportunistic try to snatch the lead and the victory (22-19). The boys and their supporters were thrilled with the shield victory and the silverware that came with it.

Below, back row: Brice, Thomas, Thesiger, Seymour, Sinclair, Mara. Front row: Wainman, Reeves, Shaw, Todd-Warmoth, Frank, Craigie, Shinn.

Emanuel School 1st VII, shield winners

Shiplake College 7s

The group draws don’t come any easier with Hurstpierpoint College, Tonbridge School and Wellington College arguably the best rugby programmes in the country at the moment named alongside Emanuel School in Group 04.

The boys started with a bang, shocking Hurstpierpoint College, and leading 17–12 at half-time. Unfortunately the bench were unable to maintain the tempo set out by the 1st VII and we were unable to hold on and lost (17-35). Up next came a physical and ruthless Tonbridge School who we simply couldn’t match. Our last group game saw us face up to Wellington; the boys put in a spirited effort after a slow start which provided Jack Seymour with arguably the try of the tournament, which I am sure he will be dining out on for years to come.

We finished 4th in the group which understandably meant we went through to the 4th place play-off. We drew Worth School. The boys finished on a high with an outstanding squad performance across both halves. The boys were clinical and composed in attack and defence and came out on top winning (50-10).

On Wednesday 5th February we travel to City of London Freemen’s for a competitive training event. The next scheduled tournament is hosted by Eltham College on Wednesday 12th February and we have drawn Reigate Grammar, Judd and Eltham.

Mr Gaynor (Director of Rugby)