Day 1 – Monday 20th
Our U18B team, largely made up of U17 players, competed in the Vase competition which included many ‘A’ sides from our opposition schools. After a couple of strong performances, including a big win against Pocklington School, it all came down to the final pool game against Bristol Grammar School where we needed to win by a large margin to qualify. Unfortunately, we met our match and narrowly lost, which resulted in a second-place finish within the pool and preventing our progression to the knockout games.
Day 2 – Tuesday 21st
The U14s stormed through their group with some outstanding displays of rugby, which created lots of attention and praise from the neutrals including a very flattering assessment from England’s 2003 World Cup winner Will Greenwood.
Finishing first place, they took on Wellington College in the first stages of ‘elimination’ to decide whether they progressed to the Cup or the Plate the following day. After a slow start and finding themselves 12-0 down, they showed the St Jo’s character and tenacity to work their way back to 12-12 at half time. The second half was close, and both teams had only one opportunity to score each, which shows how well matched the teams were. Wellington took their chance and unfortunately the ball didn’t bounce the right way for St Jo’s to equalise. This meant we would compete in the Plate competition the next day.
Day 3 – Wednesday 22nd
The U16s had a tough group, and after losing their first game had a difficult task of finishing top. However, they clicked into gear in game two with a strong performance and with other teams all beating each other, they faced a group decider against Bloxham School where the winner would take first place. After a slow start, St Jo’s powered their way to an eight try victory to win their group. Unfortunately, they lost their elimination game against Kings College Taunton which meant they wouldn’t progress to the next day.
The U14s needed to win both their second day pool games to progress to the plate semi final, and after losing to Epsom College and impressively beating Denstone College they missed out on qualification on points difference.
Day 4 – Thursday 23rd
The U18A side took their place in the main Cup competition and had four tough pool games in front of them. After losing their opening game to Myerscough, they improved in game two, and went on to battle against a big confrontational Welsh side Coleg Gwent from Crosskeys. After a fast paced 14 mins, St Jo’s had a few bruises but had importantly got the win and then had the daunting task of playing Harrow School in their last pool game. By the time of kick off, we knew our fate and were playing for pride, which was certainly achieved in a narrow loss to the eventual overall Cup winners.
Day 5 – Friday 24th
With the support of the senior side as mentors for the day, our U13s experienced Rosslyn Park for the first time. Whilst results didn’t go our way, the team showed improvement in every game throughout the day, with fantastic end to end tries and strong defensive teamwork shown to lay the foundations for years to come.