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Brilliant Millfield win the 2014 Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s Open Championship

Millfield won the 2014 Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s Open Championship after two utterly dominant days of tournament play.

The Somerset side were utterly peerless as the swept their way through the tournament, their toughest challenge proving to be a 10-5 quarter final pools victory over Wellington College.

Millfield were badly hurt and angry at being knocked out at the group stage last year and had made it their private mission to avenge that this year. The signs looked good early in the season as they swept all before them in the South West as they won every tournament they entered.

The Surrey 7s last week was seen as their first big test though, however they rose to that challenge admirably, utterly dominating the competition to lift that trophy. Rosslyn Park is a different beast though, first there was the mental challenge, and then there is the quality of sides, plus the grueling nature of two continuous days of summer.

To make life even tougher, they faced last year’s champions, Sedbergh, in the first elimination round of the day, with the loser having to make do with the Plate competition. It was billed as being a potentially close and decisive game but Millfield absolutely flew out of the traps to send a big statement out, winning 20-5.

Life was not to get any easier though as they were faced with a quarter final group that contained Sherborne and last year’s Festival winners, and perennial 7s experts, Wellington College.

They swept aside Sherborne but the Wellington clash was altogether different. They had been the only side to cause them problems and so it proved again as through a combination of excellent Wellington hustling, and Millfield’s only ‘off form’ game of the competition, the game became incredibly tight.

A moment of Tom Whiteley magic, one of a number of reasons that he was rightly named Player of the Tournament (please will someone snap this guy up?!), changed the game though as he leveled from Wellington’s early lead before ace try scorer Ben Hopkins went over to give them the win.

Following that rather tricky task their semi final against Brighton College, Hampton 7s champions no less, proved a stroll in the park as they ran in try after try to win 50-0.

Over on the other side of the draw, Wellington College, who came through the quarter finals as the best runners up, faced John Fisher, who had been steadily and impressively building throughout the day.

Wellington were the favourites though, such is their 7s acumen and the standard of their play. They played like it too, to begin with, however an utterly inspired John Fisher came absolutely storming back, first leveling the scores before brilliantly – dramatically – going over from a move started inside their own half to win the game with the final play.

Millfield were probably, with the greatest of respect, glad to see Fisher in the final rather than Wellington given that Wellington have been their toughest opponents all year.

Fisher were in no mood for that sort of thinking though, they had serious momentum on their side and fully believed that the win was there for the taking.

Millfield had other ideas though, and Ben Hopkins in particular, he scored a brilliant hat trick in the final, fully justifying his spot in our ’12 to watch at Rosslyn Park’ feature, while the brilliant Whiteley and captain Callum Sheedy also got in on the act.

Sheedy took a late yellow card for the team, which John Fisher took advantage of to bring the final score to a slightly closer looking 27-14, however the Millfield captain was utterly outstanding all day.

Probably the biggest compliment that he can be paid is that the team looked an altogether different side whenever he was not on the field, such is the value of his communication, distribution, and organization. Special mention also to Alec Coombes, surely the most underrated Millfield player/

The list could go on though aside from those mentioned, John Radford dominated the kick offs, James Catlin took care of any problems, Adam Hastings struck the balance between strong running and lovely link play, while the wider squad also played an excellent part.

It was a truly brilliant display of 7s play all day, a they thoroughly deserved the win.

As did Woodhouse Grove in the Plate competition. They faced Sedbergh in the final in a repeat of last year’s Open final, however this year the Yorkshire side were deservedly on the winning side, beating their northern rivals 24-21 in a game that ebbed and flowed one way and the other but ultimately ended with probably the correct winner.

Grove got better and better as the day went on and their workrate was simply astounding. Any side wanting a lesson in how to play 7s even if you are not necessarily ‘natural’ 7s players should look to Woodhouse Grove, their intensity and workrate was just brilliant.

For a mixture of 7s brilliance and an incredible workrate though, one can look no further than Millfield, the 2014 Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s Open Champions, avenging their upset last year in the most dominant and brilliant style possible.

They have collected every trophy available to them, and deservedly so.

Open Champions – Millfield

Open Final – Millfield 27-14 John Fisher

Semi Finals:

Millfield 50-0 Brighton College

John Fisher 21-14 Wellington College

Quarter Final Pools:

1 – Millfield 34-10 Sherborne

1 – Millfield 10-5 Wellington College

1 – Wellington College 48-0 Sherborne

2 – Llandovery College 24-17 Brighton College

2 – Llandovery College 10-12 Hartpury College

2 – Brighton College 36-14 Hartpury College

3 – John Fisher 19-14 Hampton

3 – John Fisher 31-12 St Joseph’s College

3 – Hampton 29-7 St Joseph’s College

Plate Champions – Woodhouse Grove

Plate Final – Sedbergh 21-24 Woodhouse Grove

Semi Finals:

Sedbergh 28-15 Whitgift

Woodhouse Grove 24-12 Adams Grammar School

Quarter Final Pools

1 – Sedbergh 21-7 Pocklington

1 – Sedbergh 21-12 Adams Grammar School

1 – Adams Grammar School 36-21 Pocklington

2 – Kirkham GS 26-26 Whitgift

2 – Kirkham GS 14-24 Neath Port Talbot

2 – Whitgift 19-12 Neath Port Talbot

3 – Woodhouse Grove 26-10 Coleg Sir Gar

3 – Woodhouse Grove 24-7 Myerscough

3 – Coleg Sir Gar 26-17 Myerscough

Open Elimination Round

Sedbergh 5-20 Millfield

Sherborne 15-12 Pocklington

Wellington College 26-0 Adams Grammar School

Llandovery College 22-12 Kirkham Grammar School

Brighton College 21-19 Whitgift

Hartpury College 49-12 Neath Port Talbot

John Fisher 17-14 Woodhouse Grove

Hampton 19-5 Coleg Sir Gar

St Joseph’s College 15-7 Myerscough College

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