The MSSP Y5/6 Tag Rugby Borough Championships took place on Monday 20th March 2023 at Old Ruts RFC. Having already been delayed 2 weeks due to bad weather with pitches being waterlogged, teams were very egar to get going and enjoy a day of high quality tag rugby. 21 schools from all 4 of the Merton Clusters were in attendance and where split into 4 groups, with schools playing their matches across 6 different pitches. The top 2 teams in each group would then go into a knock out competition to contest for the trophy, with the remaining teams being pooled with the corresponding teams that finished in the same position as them in the other groups.
Right from the first whistle, it was clear that all teams had been training hard back at school in preparation for this competition and despite the greasy conditions both under foot, and with ball in hand, all schools created some outstanding individual and team tries, by accurately moving the ball into space and with tempo to put pressure on the defending team.
What was also extremely pleasing during the morning group matches, was the level of sportsmanship that many schools displayed to their competitors. Win, lose or draw, players shook hands and wished the opposition good luck in their next match. Thank you to all players for creating such an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone to compete.
In the afternoon, when all the group matches had been completed, it was calculated that the following eight schools, Hillcross, Poplar, St John Fisher, Garfield, Hollymount, St Peter and Paul, Wimbledon Chase and Bishop Gilpin had all qualified within the top 2 of their group, and could therefore have the chance of competing for the medal positions. The remaining 3rd to 6th place finishing schools were then re-grouped to play an afternoon of festival fixtures where the children could just enjoy the game and not feel restricted by the fear of losing a match. Despite these teams not being able to compete for the medal positions, this did not diminish the standard of rugby on display in both attack and defence, and it was fantastic to see all the children playing with a beaming smile on their face and just enjoying their rugby.
In the knockout stages, the match to contest for 7th place was between Hillcross and Poplar, and this ended in a hard fought draw, with both teams scoring a couple of silky tries through individual efforts from out wide. This was likewise the case in the match between St John Fisher and Garfield who drew their final match 2-2 to take joint 5th place, and St Peter and Paul beat an equally impressive Hollymount side through some relentless pressure from their hard running outside backs to take 3rd place overall.
The finals match was contested by arguably the two most consistent teams at the tournament, who before this game had not lost a single point throughout the whole competition. The game started at a frenetic pace with both teams egar to throw the ball around and find the space. Both teams had a number of early chances to take the lead, but only for a last phase handling error to halt their progress. It was Bishop Gilpin that managed to steady their nerves first, and after a repeated offside infringement by Wimbledon Chase managed to create an overlap to put their player through to score as a result of some great handling to move the ball to the edge. Wimbledon Chase came agonisingly close to equalising, but after knocking the ball on, Bishop Gilpin reacted quickly to play the advantage and race away to score their second try, winning the match 2 tries to nil. Commiserations to Wimbledon Chase who had been brilliant all day, but congratulations to Bishop Gilpin who are this years Y5/6 Tag Rugby Borough Champions for 2023, and will go on to represent Borough of Merton at the London Youth Games in June. Best of luck guys!
I would also like to congratulate Garfield Primary School who received the most Refspect votes from competing schools for their outstanding level of sportsmanship during the event. Well done all. A huge thank you must also go to Old Ruts for the use of their brilliant facilities, as well as our 3 Rutlish Sports Leaders, who despite being on a school Inset day, gave up their free time to put in a superb effort by helping to referee todays matches. Not an easy task I’m sure we would all agree. Until next year….
Top 8 Finals Standings:
1st Bishop Gilpin (Champions and Gold Medal Winners)
2nd Wimbledon Chase (Silver Medal Winners)
3rd St Peter and Paul (Bronze Medal Winners)
5th St John Fisher/Garfield