Millfield turn on the style to beat Sir Gar


Millfield put on a superb display to beat Coleg Sir Gar 32-6 in front of a packed Jubilee crowd, leaving the schoolboy rugby world under no illusions as to how talented this group of players are.

With Danny Grewcock in attendance in his role as Bath Academy Director, Olly Morgan representing the Tom Maynard trust, and Lee Mears intriguingly stalking the touchline alongside the Millfield coaching staff, it was certainly a day to impress.

Sir Gar actually started the stronger of the two sides, using the big wind at their backs to good effect to gain field position in the Millfield 22 before their pressure yielded two penalties to give them a 6-0 lead.

Despite that though, one of the foundations of Millfield’s victory was already being laid – superb defence. Many sides under that early pressure might have conceded are morale sapping try, Millfield though were confident in their defence and worked hard to shut them out.

A first foray into the Sir Gar 22 offered a penalty chance to Tom Whiteley after Adam Hastings’ hard running caused the away side some problems. Whiteley duly landed it to close the gap to three points.

Hastings and Whiteley were part of a Millfield backline that looked threatening with every opportunity; and there were several opportunities as with the wind in their faces the home side play with a huge amount of ambition, knowing that kicking would be fruitless. Half breaks from Whiteley, Hall and Hyde showed glipses of what was to come as Millfield gradually began to find their feet in the game.

A second drive into the 22 saw Millfield create a golden chance, leaving Sir Gar’s right winger defending a 3 on 1, his only option was to go for the interception, such was his defensive isolation, but a knock on as he went for it yielded a deserved yellow card.

It was at this moment that the game changed, up to this point all had been rather even, the home side showed glimpses of what would later be the foundations of their victory but Sir Gar’s physicality also looked dangerous. However with a man advantage Millfield seized upon the opportunity with a ruthlessly clinical approach.

A quickly taken penalty in their own half saw Whiteley released down the right wing, he used all of his dazzling footwork to create space to grubber the ball down into the Sir Gar 22, giving the away side a tricky lineout to secure, particularly given that their lineout had looked a little shaky.

Knowing this, Millfield challenged hard at the lineout, with Sam Roberts snaffling the ball at the tail. Roberts was a terrier all day, harassing the tail of the lineout to great effect and looking ready to risk life and limb for the cause; it is no easy to task to follow someone such as Robbie Tait in the Millfield 7 shirt but on this evidence Roberts looks a natural for the role.

As Roberts drove forwards Callum Sheedy called for the ball at 10, spotting that with an extra man in the backline the space had to be exploited early he flung it wide before some slick handling in the centres released Benjamin Hopkins to score in the corner, a lovely move.

Whiteley missed the conversion by no more than an inch but it mattered not, despite only two points separating the sides, Millfield’s 8-6 advantage represented a seismic shift in the momentum of the game as the teams went into the half time break.

If the first half had been about wrestling for control of the game, the second half was all about Millfield surging away with some clinical finishing and ruthless defence. The balance of their midfield trio of Sheedy, Hastings and Hall was a joy to watch, while the doggedness of their pack against a very physical Sir Gar pack spoke volumes of their desire.

Right from the kick off Sheedy showed his determination to use the now favourable wind and to play the game in the opposition half, sending up a towering bomb to let the Sir Gar full back know that he needed to be on his game.

From the resulting kick return Millfield piled on the pressure with a series of sweeping plays into the Sir Gar 22, Jack Owlett was carrying well, as was hooker Freddie Davison, while the two centres were combining brilliantly to offer Sheedy contrasting and dangerous running options.

It was through those options that Millfield secured their next points, Hyde came tearing back across the grain of the defence and after bouncing and bullying his way through a couple of would be tacklers he was just snared a few metres short of the line. Such was his determination though that mid-tackle he produced a stunning full length dive, just inches from the floor, to touch down just left of the posts, a quite brilliant finish.

Whiteley converted easily enough to give the home side a 15-6 lead and the boisterous Jubilee crowd began to really come into their own as they sensed their team brewing something special.

The game was not yet won though and Sir Gar were still capable of threatening, as one storming break from their outside centre showed. It resulted in a penalty in the Millfield 22 and a yellow card for Billy Reeves for what looked like backchat, though it was difficult to be sure, what was sure though was that it gave Sir Gar an excellent attacking opportunity.

Sir Gar looked determined to capitalise and they looked almost certain to as they forced the ball out to the left touchline where only Adam Hastings stood between them and a certain try.

Spectacularly though Hastings stuck out a big paw to intercept and suddenly he had 95 metres of open space between him and try scoring elation for Millfield.

As he galloped away it was impossible for the mind not to conjure images of his father in his heyday, an unwanted parallel for most schoolboys but when your father is a former Lions captain, Lions tour winner, Scotland captain and Grand Slam winner then you imagine the parallel is greeted with a little more pleasure. The parallel’s are uncanny though, the running style, hard, direct, and fully committed, the mule of a boot and rock solid defence, and the excellent rugby brain; they are all the great strengths of his old man.

The moment was fleeting though as there was still the business of scoring the try to be done, and this was where the rugby intelligence came in, haring towards the line he realised that the Sir Gar defender was go to reach him. Therefore as he crossed the halfway line he allowed the defender to close in, forcing him into the tackle before neatly switching to Charlie Hall, cutting back infield from the wing, to waltz in unopposed, giving Whiteley another simple conversion.

From potentially letting Sir Gar back into the game Millfield were instead 22-6 ahead and almost assured of victory.

With that confidence behind them they began to batter away at the Sir Gar door, first collecting a penalty for Whiteley to extend their lead to 19 clear points before a succession for powerful forward drives saw Chester Allen wriggle over to score his sides fourth try, much to the delight of the pitchside crowd which had now swelled even further.

Whiteley converted to make it 32-6, twelve of those from his boot – capping an excellent personal display – capped by his two brilliant first half breaks.

Some late Sir Gar pressure saw Millfield receive another yellow but their defence held firm, as it had done all day, to leave the final score at 32-6.

The home side were rightly jubilant at the final whistle, after criticisms following an opening day draw with Warwick, big victories against RGS High Wycombe and Sir Gar were the perfect riposte.

Final Score: Millfield 32-6 Coleg Sir Gar

Millfield XV:

15. Tom Whiteley 14. Charlie Hall 13. Charles Hyde 12. Adam Hastings 11. Benjamin Hopkins 10. Callum Sheedy (Captain) 9. Matthew Donaldson; 1. Samuel Nixon 2. Freddie Davison 3. Jack Owlett (vc) 4. Chester Allen 5. John Radford 6. Billy Reeves 7. Sam Roberts 8. Bailey Ransom.

Replacements: 16. Nicholas Bromley 17. Josh Ellis 18. Luke Jenkins 19. Ollie Clarke 20. Darren Atkins 21. Henry Peck.


0-3 (Sir Gar Penalty – Sir Gar 10)

0-6 (Sir Gar Penalty – Sir Gar 10)

3-6 (Millfield Penalty – Whitely)

8-6 (Millfield Try – Hopkins)

Half Time – 8-6

15-6 (Millfied Try – Hyde, Conversion – Whiteley)

22-6 (Millfield Try – Hall, Conversion – Whiteley)

25-6 (Millfield Penalty – Whiteley)

32-6 (Millfield Try – Allen, Conversion – Whiteley)

Full Time 32-6

Photosof the game are available on our Facebook page and there is also a short video clip of Millfield’s excellent first half try.

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