Kirkham Grammar School 1st VII played with skill and passion as they won their group games on the opening day of the National 7s at Rosslyn Park. The wins over Bishop Burton (Leeds Carnegie Academy) 14-7 and Newport High School (Gwent Dragons Academy) 38-0, were especially pleasing. Winning the group sent KGS into the quarter final group stage for the fifth consecutive season alongside only eleven other top rugby schools to contest the National Cup. Despite playing with great purpose and scoring some fantastic tries, they were finally beaten by Millfield School and Clifton College. Outstanding for the 2 days were Captain Daniel Kelly and Vice - Captain Will Gargett as well as half backs Cole Potts and Callum Grieve. One of the best tries of the last day was scored by Will Gregory who stepped up as did fellow back Joe Shields.
Despite the defeats KGS 1st VII have played at a very high level all season reaching the quarter finals of three tournaments as well winning the prestigious Colston's School 7s, ironically against Clifton College.
Last week KGS U14s travelled to the Rosslyn Park National School Rugby Sevens competition, which is the biggest rugby sevens competition in the world.
Day one saw them face a tough group with Prior Park College and rugby powerhouses Bedford and Tonbridge School.
In the first game, after some early nerves, the boys got into their stride with the creative Charlie Read using some slick handling skills to put speedster Aiden Hayward in for a couple of tries. Archie Dowds and Thomas Shuttleworth also got into the action with a good finish each as KGS took the game 26-12.
The U14s met Bedford School in the second game and here KGS could show their squad depth with strong performances from Freddie Tarrant, Theo Timmins and James Sutcliffe being the bedrock of a comfortable 40-7.
The last group game was a winner takes all affair versus one of the competition’s favourites, Tonbridge School. After conceding early on, the blues and whites hit back through a tremendous solo effort by Thomas Shuttleworth. Archie Dowds slotted an excellent conversion from out wide. The remainder of the first half proved to be one where Kirkham did not have much ball, but the defence from Timmins, Hayward and Seb Kelly was sensational. A Kelly turnover saw the ball was moved quickly to the far touchline to Hayward making it 14-7 to Kirkham at half time. Shortly into the second half Archie Dowds scored 2 tries converting both to give Kirkham a 26-12 lead, however Tonbridge didn’t give up scoring with 2 minutes to go. Kirkham held on to the win and progressed to the Cup elimination round.
Here they met Denstone College. Archie Dowds’ consistent attacking skills resulted in 4 tries to take a relatively comfortable 26-12 win.
Day 2 of the competition saw us in a tough group of Berkhamsted School and Rodillian Academy. In the first game the boys held their nerve to take an important 35-28 with the last play of the game, again largely thanks to Dowds’ elusive running. However, with some bumps and bruises and a reshuffled side vs Rodillian the boys were 17-0 down with 5 minutes to play. They did show some excellent resilience to make it 15-17 with a minute to play, but unfortunately it would by Rodillian that would score last and take the game and progress into the Quarter Finals as KGS went down 24-15.
The U14s have had a successful season winning the Lancashire Cup and the Richard Wilson Memorial Sevens. The experiences they have had this year will stand them in good stead for the future and we all look forward to seeing how they develop through the school’s rugby programme.