Sometimes events serve to show just what a silly obsession sport is, and today’s events in London could so easily have been one such situation.
Yet in the joy and sheer pleasure for rugby, for sport, for being in the company of other like-minded people, today’s play at the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s in a sense proved otherwise. For when people try to terrorize, what better way to respond that to keep playing, keep enjoying sport, refuse to be terrified.
In today’s tournament that was exactly what happened, and in doing so we saw some wonderful play, some joyful play.
The Cup competition was a dramatic and exciting competition, climaxing quite brilliantly in the final, and you can see our report of the game here: Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s Colts final.
Over in the Vase it was a day of jostling for position ahead of tomorrow’s quarter finals. 170 teams competed across 34 groups and played out some exciting rugby and, come the end of the day, some pretty dramatic stuff too.
Those 170 teams have been whittled down 18 for tomorrow’s quarter final groups, while a further 18 will compete in the Bowl quarter final groups.
Those 18 teams came following an elimination round after the group stages, it compromised the 34 group winners, plus the two best runners up spots, and oh were those two runners up spots hotly contested. In the end they went to Eltham College and Wallington County Grammar School.
Eltham College’s journey ended up being one of the real high points of the day as they faced the same side that they had finished second to in their group, Stockport Grammar School. They got their revenge, beating the men from the north west 26-20 to secure a place in Vase quarter final Group E, where they will face King’s Worcester, 28-26 winners over Ipswich, and Eastbourne College, who were 25-12 winners over Tiffin. Eastbourne might well be one of the sides to watch tomorrow, their performances over the course of the day were quite outstanding.
The other runners-up, Wallington County Grammar, were not quite so lucky, losing 21-12 to Queen Ethleburga’s 2nd VII. Queen Ethelburga’s now join Oakham and Ysgol Y Preseli in Vase QF Group F. Queen Ethelburga’s, by the way, could be worth a watch in the Cup tomorrow, with their 2nd VII impressing so much in the Vase.
Group A in the Vase quarters looks like a group of death, featuring Berkhamsted, Felsted, and St Peter’s York, all of whom might well fancy their chances of a run to the final given the right circumstances. The winner of this one is worth following.
So to in Group B, where Monmouth, Cheltenham College, and last year’s Plate winners, Stowe, reside. Things are barely any easier over in Group C, with the 2015 and 2016 NatWest Cup champions, Bromsgrove, joined by Reed’s and St Paul’s.
The group that stands out above all, though, is Group D. All three could quite realistically claim to be among the favourites for this competition, Blundell’s, QEGS Wakefield, and St John’s Leatherhead. From the first whistle these three are going to have to be at their best or their challenge could be over before it has really begun, it is really that tight.
Whoever does emerge victorious from the groups will then be sent straight into another set of groups, two Vase semi final groups. The winners of A, B, and C will be in semi final group 1, the winners of D, E, and F will be in semi final group 2, with the winners of each semi final group playing in the U18 Vase final. The process is replicated in the Bowl competition, where some outstanding teams also lurk, including Epsom College, Seaford College, Pocklington, and a number of others. Just looking at those competing for the minor trophy highlights just what a competitive field this year’s Vase has.
If the play is anything like today’s, we are due a superb ‘knockout’ phase of the Vase competition, and with, whisper it, a bit of sun forecast, in contrast to today’s wet and boggy conditions, we could be treated to some even more spectacular rugby.
Whatever the weather, though, what we will have is play, and enjoyment, and competitiveness, and defiance.
Sport matters, because even though we know it is not important, it is one of our most powerful symbols of defiance.
U18 Vase Quarter Final Groups:
|Vase A||Vase B||Vase C|
|St Peter’s, York||Stowe||St Pauls|
|Vase D||Vase E||Vase F|
|QEGS Wakefield||Eltham College||Queen Ethelburga’s|
|St John’s, Leatherhead||King’s Worcester||Ysgol Y Preseli|
U18 Bowl Quarter Final Groups:
|Bowl A||Bowl B||Bowl C|
|Millfield B||Kingswood||Epsom College|
|Shawnigan Lawe B||Loughborough||Malvern College|
|Simon Langton GS||Pocklington||Sir William Borlase|
|Bowl D||Bowl E||Bowl F|
|Seaford College||Stockport GS||Marlborough College|
|The Perse||Tiffin||Wallington CGS|
U18 Vase Elimination Round Results:
Berkhamsted (A) 29-24 Shawnigan Lake (B)
St Peter’s York (C) 19-14 Simon Langton GS (D)
Millfield B (E) 5-19 Felsted (F)
Kingswood (G) 14-29 Stowe (H)
Cheltenham College (I) 47-0 (Z) Loughborough
Pocklington (J) 10-14 Monmouth (K)
Malvern College (L) 7-29 St Paul’s (M)
Epsom College (N) 19-22 (O) Reed’s
Bromsgrove (P) 33-26 (Q) Sir William Borlase’s
QEGS Wakefield (R) 31-19 Seaford College (S)
Blundell’s (T) 42-12 Bloxham (U)
The Perse (V) 0-42 St John’s Leatherhead (W)
King’s Worcester (X) 28-26 Ipswich (Y)
Eastbourne College (AA) 25-12 Tiffin (BB)
Bradford Grammar (CC) 21-35 Ysgol Y Preseli (DD)
Marlborough College (EE) 19-24 (FF) Oakham
Stockport GS (GG) 20-26 Eltham College (Runner Up 1)
Queen Ethelburga’s (HH) 21-12 Wallington CGS (Runner Up 2)
HSBC Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s Vase Final Group Standings (1-5) 170 Teams:
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Berkhamsted||Shawnigan Lake||St Peter’s York||Simon Langton Grammar|
|Nelson College||Christ College Brecon||Langley||Radley College|
|King’s Macclesfield||Churcher’s College||Shawinigan Lake 2nd VII||Ysgol Bro Dinefwr|
|Colston’s||AKS Arnold||Hymers College||Bishop Gore|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|Welbeck||RGS Newcastle||Wallington CGS||Royal Hospital School|
|RGS Worcester||Worksop College||Emanuel||Brynteg Comprehensive|
|Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe||RGS Lancaster||Royal Alexandra & Albert||Richard Huish|
|Torquay BGS||Prior Park College||Birdgewater College||Michaelhouse A|
|Group I||Group J||Group K||Group L|
|Cheltenham College||Pocklington||Monmouth||Malvern College|
|Merchant Taylors’||Portsmouth GS||Durham||KCS Wimbledon|
|Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr||Dean Close||Bede’s||New Hall|
|King’s Bruton||Gower College||Esher College||King’s Canterbury|
|Mount Kelly||Lord Wandsworth College||Michaelhouse B||Wycliffe College|
|Group M||Group N||Group O||Group P|
|St Paul’s||Epsom College||Reed’s||Bromsgrove|
|Downside||Abingdon||King’s College Taunton||Judd|
|Cokethorpe||Shore Sydney CoE||Gravesend GS||Trinity|
|Ampleforth College||KES Bath||St David’s||Cabot Learning Federation|
|Coleg Gwent||St Olave’s GS||Llandaf||Manchester GS|
|Group Q||Group R||Group S||Group T|
|Sir William Borlase’s||QEGS Wakefield||Seaford College||Blundell’s|
|Pangbourne College||Hill House||Eton College||Taunton|
|Wellington||Ysgol Sir Thomas Picton||Birkdale||Bristol Grammar|
|KES Stratford||Sir Joseph Williamson’s||Duke of York’s RMS||Mount St Mary’s College|
|Group U||Group V||Group W||Group X|
|Bloxham||The Perse||St John’s Leatherhead||King’s Worcester|
|Campion||Shiplake College||Christ’s Hospital||Wirral GS|
|Cardinal Newman||The Oratory||Yarm||Worth|
|Wrekin College||Sutton Valence||Bedford Modern||Bishop Heber High School|
|St Dunstan’s College||King John||Clayesmore||Ardingly College|
|Group Y||Group Z||Group AA||Group BB|
|The Leys||Uppingham||Whitchurch||Maidstone GS|
|Queen’s College Taunton||Truro||Plymouth College||Shrewsbury|
|Dauntsey’s||St Peter’s Gloucester||Cooper’s Coborn||Liverpool College|
|Steyning GS||QEH||Harrodian||Latymer Upper|
|Group CC||Group DD||Group EE||Group FF|
|Bradford GS||Ysgol Y Preseli||Marlborough College||Oakham|
|Milton Abbey||St Edward’s Oxford||Wisbech Grammar School||Pembrokeshire College|
|Bablake||Stonyhurst College||Melksham Oak||Ellesmere College|
|Treorchy Comprehensive||Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg||QES Barnet||Sevenoaks|
|Ibstock Place||Rutlish||Akeley Wood||QES Kirkby|
|Group GG||Group HH|
|Stockport GS||Queen Ethelburga’s|
|Weston College||Ashville College|
|Coleg Sir Gar B||Windsor Boys’|