Whether it is a NatWest Champions Trophy final or a weekday game between two emerging rugby schools, schoolboy rugby is always very special.
So it was proved when we travelled to Hayes School to take in their 46-15 victory over Sutton Grammar School on Wednesday.
The Bromley based school have recently entered into a partnership with London Scottish, and the early fruits that partnership could be seen on the field on Wednesday afternoon, and in Hayes’ results so far this season, where they have lost just three games.
Sutton arrived as a side who in season’s past would have expected to have been in with a real 50/50 chance of victory, so arriving to see a Hayes side emerging in a London Scottish style kit and kicking off with a fast paced, offload heavy, and powerful game plan, would have been an intimidating prospect.
It was therefore to Sutton’s great credit that they absorbed heavy contact after heavy contact throughout the opening quarter of the game, working brilliantly on the floor too to turn over ball.
Hayes’ domination was bound to pay off though, the powerful ball carrying of the second row pairing of Drey McLaren and Matas Jurevicius and Bobby Bratton at loosehead, who is down soon plays in the homegrown v exiles trial for Scotland U18, was devastating.
So it proved as after 17 minutes Jurevicius, who along with Bratton and a number of the other Hayes players is part of the London Scottish Academy, powered his way over the line. That was quickly followed by another forwards try as Alfie Sweeting crashed over for his first try of the game, a game that would eventually see him claim a hat-trick.
Just four minutes later the forwards were at it again, this time crashing over through the powerful McLaren, who had mixed powerful running and subtle handling throughout the game.
As half time approached the backs got in on the act though, Na’im Selman-Jackson’s powerful running had been making inroads all game, and he set up field position with another break down the left hand side. On hand to capitalise was the fast paced livewire scrum half, Tom Deveney, who flew down the left hand touchline to give his side a 24-0 half time lead.
As in the first half though, Sutton started the second half strongly, with their inside centre grabbing his team and dragging them forward. However once again Hayes’ power and pace came through, and after some sustained pressure on the Sutton line, Bratton powered over for 31-0.
They were at it again shortly after as a neat lineout move released Sweeting for his second try of the game, before the backs then came into play as they had in the first half, with Thomas Hamm this time crossing the whitewash.
At 41-0, Hayes took the opportunity to make some changes, while Sutton, perhaps sensing a little bit of a slackening of the pace from Hayes, raised their game. Scoring two tries in quick succession through their powerful pack.
Hayes responded though, following some brilliant work from Sol Usher on the floor, a feature of the London Scottish man’s work all day, the move side executed another excellent lineout move to release Alfie Sweeting to cross for a brilliant hat-trick.
Time was almost up but as the game petered to a close Sutton showed just how spirited they are by securing a third try of the game to leave the final score at 46-15.
It was a fantastic performance from Hayes though, whose offloading game mixed with power in the pack and pace in the back division was simply too much to handle. If they continue to progress at this rate, they will be some side in the years to come.
Full Time: Hayes 46-15 Sutton Grammar