The sun came out for the first time this year and with it, Bridgewater warmed to the occasion at Rossall, Fleetwood. The sumptuous grounds of the impressive Rossall School played host to the annual AJIS Rugby 7s Tournament. With over 200 players taking part, representing 20 different schools, the team were competing in a serious competition, amongst some very experienced rugby playing schools. Just to make the task even harder, despite the tag of an “emerging” school in rugby terms, Bridgewater were placed within one of the “established” groups!
In the first game, Bridgewater faced Ashfield School from Harrogate, a team with a strong tradition in the game. Nevertheless, Bridgewater took to the field with no fear and a confidence of their own. Both teams made early attacks on the try line but handling errors and turnovers prevented more scores from occurring. Led by captain and talisman Matteo, Bridgewater tackled with ferocity and foraged around the pitch tenaciously. Luca C set the tone with a couple of crunching tackles, inspiring Jackson, Harper, Thomas and Harrison to follow suit. Meanwhile, Alfie, Regan, David, Luca B and Craig took the game forward with dazzling runs and drives at the heart of the Yorkshire defence. In the end, both teams scored two tries each to share the points, with Matteo and Alfie scoring the tries for Bridgewater.
With little time to recover, Bridgewater were back on the pitch to face Auban Panthers, who had travelled from the Isle of Man to compete in the event. The opposition have been attending the tournament at Rossall for many years and they started the game in justifiably confident mood. An early try did not unsettle Bridgewater, however, and it wasn’t long before Luca B jinked his way over the line for an equaliser. Bridgewater surged forward looking for more scores, with Craig almost bulldozing his way over the line, before Alfie raced past all defenders to put the team ahead. The game turned on two controversial moments, with Matteo denied a try in the corner for not grounding the ball legally, whilst the referee gave a similar try to the team from across the water. However, both teams can be delighted with a share of the points and respectful handshakes were exchanged at the end.
Bridgewater had made a tremendous impact on their opening fixtures. Things were about to get tougher in their three remaining games against long established rugby playing schools. Despite scoring in each of the games, with David and Luca C scoring much deserved tries, Bridgewater could not hold onto a win. An injury to the impressive Matteo in the final game let Merchant Taylor’s in for a 2-1 win. Meanwhile, the team ran out of steam against Stockport Grammar and Abbey Gate, losing 3-1 in both games.
Overall, the team made great strides in a very short space of time during the competition. Lacking in technical ability and game experience, each player impressed with their athleticism and desire to work for each other. Next week, the team will travel to Manchester Rugby Club to participate in the ISA North Trophy. On this form, the boys can go into the event with confidence and an outside chance of a high placing. Well done to all players today, it was an absolute pleasure to be a part of this event with them!