Blundell’s won the prestigious Marches 7s at Hereford Cathedral School on Sunday, beating Cheltenham College in the Cup final.
In heavy but relatively benign conditions, compared those faced in other parts of the country over the weekend, the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s Vase holders looked in superb form as they prepare to step up to the Cup at Rosslyn Park this year.
The tournament took a slightly unusual form, consisting of six initial groups of four teams each. From there the top side in each group were them placed in two Cup groups of three, second into Plate groups, third into Bowl groups, and fourth to Shield groups.
These ‘Super Six’ groups then saw the winners go head to head for their respective final, so the two Super Six Cup groups winners met in the Cup final.
Blundell’s had topped Group 3 with Harrow winning Group 2, and Welshmen Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf topping Group 1, therefore pitting those three together in Cup Group A in the Super 6s, while Barnard Castle, Cheltenham College, and Hartpury College, the three other group winners, were in Cup Group B for the Super 6s.
Blundell’s had stiff opposition in their initial group, not least from Sir Thomas Rich’s, but progressed smoothly to their Cup group, where both they and Harrow saw off Glantaf.
That created what was effectively a semi final, Blundell’s v Harrow. Two sides whose exploits on both the 7s and fifteen-a-side fields over the last couple of years have been exceptional. Both sides are stacked with outstanding players, and put on an outstanding showing of 7s throughout the day, but it was Blundell’s that came out on top in this one, securing a 20-12 victory send them into the Cup final.
Cheltenham College would be their opponents, they had topped a 2nd VII heavy initial group before facing Barnard Castle and Hartpury College in their Super 6 Cup group. Barnard Castle had been exceptional early on, showing no side effects of their long journey as they progressed ahead of Beechen Cliff, Monmouth, and Malvern, a brutal group.
The Super 6s were too much for them though after that, with Hartpury and Cheltenham claiming victories to set up an effective semi final. Like Blundell’s v Harrow, it was a tight game, both throwing everything at it, but Cheltenham came out on top, winning 21-14 to meet Blundell’s in the final.
It was a victory that came at some cost though, losing key players to injury. Blundell’s hardly needed the invitation, exceptional all day they simply continued that form into the final. The likes of Troy Sixton, Josh Thorne, and Greg Kitson, skipper on the day, playing some sensational rugby.
So much so that by half time in the final there were already a handful of tries to the good, the only dark news being a nasty injury to Kitson, whose performances had made him player of the tournament. Nothing was going to slow his team though, who just continued relentlessly all the way to a sensational 41-0 victory.
Injuries notwithstanding, it was the sort of victory that ought to leave the group bubbling with confidence as they look ahead to Rosslyn Park and that foray into the Cup section of the draw.
Elsewhere Millfield’s 2nd VII claimed the Shield with a 47-7 victory over Haberdashers’ in the final, while the Bowl featured a big Worcester derby, going the way of RGS Worcester. They beat rivals King’s Worcester 7-0 to win that one.
The Plate meanwhile saw Welsh giants Llandovery College beat Dean Close 24-7 to secure that trophy.
Ultimately though the day belonged to Blundell’s, with Cheltenham, Harrow, and Hartpury in particular also taking huge positives from the day as they all at various times gave themselves reason to be optimistic about the 7s season ahead.
Marches 7s Results:
Blundell’s 41-0 Cheltenham College
Llandovery College 24-7 Dean Close
RGS Worcester 7-0 King’s Worcester
Millfield 2nd VII 47-7 Haberdashers’
‘Super 6s’ Final Standings
|Pos||Cup A||Cup B|
|Pos||Plate A||Plate B|
|1||Dean Close||Llandovery College|
|2||Sir Thomas Rich’s||Beechen Cliff|
|3||Plymouth College||Hartpury College 2nd VII|
|Pos||Bowl A||Bowl B|
|1||RGS Worcester||King’s Worcester|
|2||Christ College, Brecon||Hereford 6th form College|
|Pos||Shield A||Shield B|
|1||Haberdashers’||Millfield 2nd VII|
|2||Hereford Cathedral||KES Stratford|
|3||Llandaff Cathedral||Malvern College|
Final Group Standings
|Pos||Group 1||Group 2||Group 3|
|1||Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf||Harrow||Blundell’s|
|2||Plymouth College||Dean Close||Sir Thomas Rich’s|
|3||Shrewsbury||RGS Worcester||Christ College, Brecon|
|4||Hereford Cathedral||Llandaff Cathedral||Haberdashers’|
|Pos||Group 4||Group 5||Group 6|
|1||Barnard Castle||Cheltenham College||Hartpury College|
|2||Beechen Cliff||Hartpury College 2nds||Llandovery College|
|3||Monmouth||Hereford 6th College||King’s Worcester|
|4||Malvern College||Millfield 2nds||KES Stratford|