RUGBY: Wisbech Grammar tournaments

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Six rugby sevens teams from Wisbech Grammar School have been in action in three tournaments in two days.

Six rugby sevens teams from Wisbech Grammar School have been in action in three tournaments in two days.

The under 14s, under 13s and under 12s travelled to Manchester for their inaugural schools sevens competition (on Saturday).

The under 14s battled hard all day, reaching the vase final, in which they lost 22-12 to St Ambrose, with Henry Thornton top scoring for the Grammar School with four tries.

The under 12s missed out narrowly in the plate semi-final, losing 7-5, with the under 13s reaching the same stage in the cup competition, in which they lost 24-12 to eventual winners Altrincham.

Senior boys in the under 18s and under 16s travelled to Manchester the next day (Sunday), whilst the under 18 girls and the under 13s went south to the Berkhamsted sevens.The under 18s competed without their talismanic captain, Matthew Retchless, who was playing for the independent schools national XV, but they nevertheless reached the shield final, losing by the narrowest of margins – 14-12 – to Millfield School.

During the day they turned over Warwick ‘B’ and Pocklington, whilst running Warwick School, which is a Daily Mail Cup semi-finalist, within one score in a game they arguably could have won.

Harry Dodds top scored during the day with three tries. However, the spoils were split across the squad, with Jonathan Ison, Jack Suiter and Patrick Webb all scoring two tries and Sam-Henry Pressling, Taylor Fox and Frederock Bowlby each scoring one apiece.

The outstanding performer on the day was stand-in captain Sam-Henry Pressling, who played in every minute of the tournament and consistently led from the front in attack and defence.

In Manchester the young under 16s squad fielded only eight players as a result of late injury withdrawals, but nevertheless, led by Samuel Hughes, they reached the final of the plate, eventually losing 31-0.

At Berkhamsted the under 13s, playing in their fourth competition in nine days and the second of the weekend, had to make do with a smaller squad following injuries on the previous day.

They came second in their group, losing only to the Oratory School, which put them into the plate competition in which they reached the quarter finals before being knocked out by Robert Clack School.

The girls’ under 18 side reached the plate final for the second weekend running, but came up just short once again, losing in the final. Sophie Culshaw once again led from the front as the team competed at one of the largest girls’ sevens competitions on the circuit.

Master in charge of rugby Mr Alex Laybourne said: “It has been a fantastic weekend for Wisbech Grammar School rugby, with our 1st XV rugby captain once again representing the independent schools national XV and over 60 boys and girls competing in two large schools sevens competitions, in which we challenged some of the biggest rugby schools in the country.

“We have been unlucky not to come away with any silverware this week, but it has been good preparation for Rosslyn Park National Schools Sevens next week (week beginning March 18) where we believe we can be competitive again.”