Sedbergh claimed their first Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s U18 Cup title since 2013 with a stunning 26-12 win over back to back champions Cranleigh.
It crowned a spectacular week for the Cumbrian school, who also won Wednesday’s Colts title, suggesting that they are going to be a side to look out for in next year’s competition too.
It was a day that was not without its struggles for the men in Brown, Sedbergh had to battle through a tough quarter final pool with St Joseph’s College, Sherborne, and Harrow. It was brutal, as shown by the fact that Sedbergh actually lost to Harrow in that section after a last play drop goal winner from Man Vunipola.
They squeaked through to the semi finals though, with the three quarter final pool winners take three spots and Sedbergh claiming the best runners up spot.
In a way it perhaps helped them out, certainly from that point on they seemed angry with themselves and had an added dimension of determination to go alongside their skill and quality.
Kirkham Grammar School, who topped quarter final pool C ahead of St Paul’s Catholic College, Brighton College, and Millfield, would be their opponents, while the other semi final saw Harrow face the a Cranleigh side that had huge momentum as they sought an historic three in a row.
Cranleigh had gone through their quarter final pool with relative ease, beating Whitgift, St John’s, and Henley College, and they were in control once again in the semi final, beating Harrow 25-5.
Sedbergh meanwhile beat their great northern rivals, Kirkham Grammar Schoolin excellent fashion, 21-12 to secure their place in the final.
The odds were stacked against them, Cranleigh had huge support and the confidence of being back to back champions and chasing that historic third in a row.
The intensity of their game had been too much for everyone else, and as the final kicked off there was a hint that it might to again as they took an early 5-0 lead.
Sedbergh bounced back though, and in precisely the same way, showing unbelievable intensity in both attack and defence, most notably from Cameron Redpath and Akuma Rugby Player of the Tournament, Tom Walsh.
The intensity that those two in particular brought was exceptional, be it chasing down breaks, like Walsh, or showing a patience in defence, like Redpath, they just put Cranleigh under a level of pressure that they simply had not come close to being under throughout the tournament.
Walsh hit back for them, and with Josh Hodge converting they edged to a lead. Another quickly followed before a Redpath simply refused to be tackled as the half drew to a close to send his side in 21-5 up with Hodge again converting.
He turned to try-saver immediately following the half in a key moment as he hauled Cranleigh down just inches short. Walsh then followed suit a minute or so later to chase down what seemed a certain Cranleigh score.
Cranleigh did eventually score, but with a minute left it was too little, too late. They needed to recover possession to have any chance as the clock ticked away, but up stepped Redpath again to race away from halfway for the score that confirmed the title and a brilliant 26-12 win for Sedbergh, a truly outstanding victory.
Over in the Plate Hampton claimed the title, beating a strong Hartpury College side 29-12 in the final. They too had come second in their quarter final pool but gone through as the best runners-up. They bounced right back up to beat the side that had beaten them, Coleg Sir Gar, 21-14 in the semi final to set up that final against Hartpury, who had beaten a highly impressive George Watson’s side.
In the final Hartpury started the stronger, but Hampton bounced back in style for a fantastic 29-12 win and a deserved reward for their efforts over the last two days.
The final word though must go to Sedbergh, who were truly outstanding in the final. Their determination was spectactular, while their execution was no less than we have come to expect of this brilliant side, who can now claim national 7 a side and 15 a side titles having already won the Daily Mail Trophy title earlier this year. A truly exceptional side.
U18 Cup Final:
Cranleigh 12-26 Sedbergh
U18 Plate Final:
Hartpury College 12-29 Hampton
U18 Cup Semi Finals:
Cranleigh 25-5 Harrow
Kirkham Grammar 12-21 Sedbergh
U18 Plate Semi Finals:
George Watson’s College 7-21 Hartpury College
Coleg Sir Gar 14-21 Hampton
U18 Cup Quarter Final Pools:
|Cup A||Cup B||Cup C|
|Whitgift||Sedbergh||St Paul’s Catholic College|
|St John’s Leatherhead||Sherborne||Brighton College|
|Henley College||St Joseph’s College||Millfield|
U18 Plate Quarter Final Pools:
|Plate A||Plate B||Plate C|
|George Watson’s||Hartpury College||Coleg Sir Gar|
|Denstone College||Cardiff & Vale||John Fisher|
|Clifton College||Woodhouse Grove||Worcester College|
U18 Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s Cup Final Group Standings:
|Pos||Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|1||Cranleigh||St John’s Leatherhead||Henley College||Whitgift|
|2||George Watson’s||Clifton College||Wellington College||Denstone College|
|3||Dollar Academy||Utah Cannibals||Whitchurch High School||Coleg Llandrillo|
|4||Brooksby Melton College||Canford||KES Birmingham||Newcastle-Under-Lyme|
|5||St Columba’s College||Reading Blue Coat||Birkenhead||Bishop Burton College|
|Pos||Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|1||St Joseph’s College||Sedbergh||Harrow||Sherborne|
|2||Bedford||Hartpury College||Woodhouse Grove||Cardiff & Vale|
|3||Coleg y Cymoedd||Beechen Cliff||Haileybury||Ivybridge Community Coll|
|4||Merchiston Castle||Truro College||Newport HS||Coventry College|
|5||Caterham||Maidstone Gramar||Rydal Penrhos||Samuel Whitbread|
|Pos||Group I||Group J||Group K||Group L|
|1||Brighton College||Kirkham Grammar||St Paul’s Catholic College||Millfield|
|2||Hampton||Coleg Sir Gar||John Fisher||Worcester 6th form College|
|3||Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf||Dulwich College||Hurstpierpoint College||Llandovery College|
|4||St Benedict’s||Moulton College||Coleg Gwent||Barnard Castle|
|5||Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera||Oaklands College||Warwick||Neath Port Talbot|