The Prep III rugby squad had prepared every day for a week in anticipation of the forthcoming tournament at Manchester Grammar School.
The children were given three simple instructions by their coach Mr. Rooney on the way to the tournament:
1. Run hard and straight
2. Only pass when you are tagged
3. Tag, tag, tag!
All but one of our players had not played a proper rugby game before so the captain Joe (Eccles RFC) was instructed to lead from the front and to remind the team of the three instructions at all times. Our first match was against Kings Macclesfield, a famous rugby playing school who would pose a strong test for all the Bridgewater debutants. Mr. Rooney and the players need not worry. Max received the ball in the first minute and snaked his way in to the corner for the first of his numerous tries during the afternoon. Kings attempted some thrusting runs and a couple of consolation tries but Bridgewater started the day with a handsome victory after another try from Max and some impressive scores from our Captain Marvel, Joe.
Our second game versus Grange was one of our easier games allowing Leonia, Leo and Carlo to thrive. Carlo became a tagging demon and Leonia made some impressive surges though the opposition. Leo supported the ball carrier well and kept to Mr. Rooney’s three rules impressively. Another victory for Bridgewater.
Game 3 enabled our team to lock horns with Cheadle School. This was another large rugby playing school with a large entourage of parents anticipating an easy victory. They were to be disappointed! The Bridgewater Dream Team conjured 5 tries in the game with Toban starring with some devastating runs and offloads. Dexter was also impressive with his competitive spirit and determination. Cheadle scored some outstanding tries but Bridgewater won 5-4.
Game 4 was a game versus Kirkham school which is a rugby playing boarding school. Jax was a superstar in this game scoring a couple of tries and very nearly scored for the opposition too when he ran the wrong way! Bridgewater won another great victory. We were building a reputation and becoming quite a scalp!
Game 5 was a tagging masterclass from Sam. Time after time the opposition seemed to score a try before realising that Sam was emerging from the turf grasping a tag. MGS pupils and parents were aghast at the try scoring prowess of our team and the defensive determination. Our South African referee was suitably impressed applauding the victors in navy blue. Unfortunately this game ended with a freak injury to Toban who was caught in the eye by a boot as he fell to the ground. He was extremely brave during the application of First Aid and emerged from the First Aid tent looking like Pudsey Bear!
Game 6 versus Kirkham was refereed by a visiting Sale Sharks player. The team did admirably despite the loss of Toban, particularly Gabriel who made great progress with his game during the afternoon. It was decided at the end of the game that Toban should be taken back to school to receive more precautionary medical attention.
Bridgewater exited stage left with an unbeaten record and some pupils who had definitely caught the rugby bug! (Toban has thankfully recovered and is smiling again as usual!)