Today a fledgling team of ten Prep V and VI travelled to Manchester Rugby Club to participate in the ISA North Rugby Tournament. With only a couple of sessions under the expert guidance of Mr. Rooney, the boys went into the world of full contact rugby for their first and only the second time in the school’s illustrious history.
With eleven schools to play in a series of eight-minute games, it was going to be a challenging day for the team. Within seconds of the opening game against Brabyns Prep, the team went a try down. Shell-shocked and stung into action, Bridgewater went on the attack and soon levelled the match with a driving run from Matteo. Both teams pressed for a winning score, but defences held firm and a 1-1 draw was a fair result overall.
Next up was The Grange School who were clearly more experienced and had in their midst, the biggest ten-year-old on the planet. Matteo once again scored a great solo try, but despite some huge tackles throughout the game, Bridgewater could not hold down Ben Nevis from leading the opposition to a 3-1 win. Bridgewater went into the next game against Scarisbrick B, relieved not to face another mountain and set about the opposition with renewed confidence. Tries from Matteo (2) and Harper gave the team a thoroughly deserved win, but the tackling from Toby, Owen and Lukee was instrumental in securing the victory.
Next up was Scarisbrick A team and they flew out of the traps and into an early lead. However, the resilience and relentless nature of the Bridgewater defending gave the boys a foothold in the game. With time running out, Matteo added another try to his name, but it was a sensational last gasp tackle from Matteo on the opposition winger that most will remember from this game. The final game of the morning was against Greenbank Prep B. With thoughts turning to lunch, Greenbank ran into an early lead straight from the kick off. Fortunately, a brilliant run from Lukee earned Bridgewater another point and so ended the morning session in the top half of the table.
A deserved relaxing lunch in the beautiful October sunshine gave the team a well-earned break. However, it was soon back to business and the afternoon session started with back to back fixtures against the top two teams in the tournament. An incredible defensive performance against Hipperholme Grammar resulted in a 1-0 loss. Toby, Thomas, Matteo, Harper and Matteo all produced try saving tackles and earned the praise and respect of the opposition players and coaches.
The titanic effort to keep out the Hipperholme forwards took its toll and in the subsequent games, injuries to Matteo, Harper and play maker Owen were to be consequential. Harrison, Oliver, Jaydon and Alfie stepped up to the challenge, but could not prevent victories for Hull Collegiate and Greenbank Prep A.
In the final games of the tournament, Bridgewater rallied to produce a great win over Beech Hall and Redcourt Prep. Lukee was key in both games, scoring the tries to beat Redcourt and to earn a point against Beech Hall. The final game of the day was against hosts Greenbank Prep A team. A diving try in the corner gave Bridgewater a flying start, but ultimately tiredness set in as the boys succumbed to a 3-1 loss. The game was notable for the sight of Thomas bouncing off an opponent and landing in the next field! Moments later the same player crossed the Bridgewater line with all seven players and three subs hanging off him!
Days like today are a joy to be a part of. The passion, commitment and enthusiasm of the team was a pleasure to see. The willingness to listen and learn so quickly was so rewarding. To see boys taking on a sport with some trepidation due to the contact element of the game was truly inspiring. Everyone played their part in a fabulous day of sport with even the sun coming out to enjoy the event.