14 December 2021
KGS U16 v Sedbergh School U16 - Saturday 11 December 2021
The KGS U16 rugby team had been building towards this long awaited fixture against one of the strongest sides around. In recent weeks, Kirkham had won away at RGS Newcastle 7-10 and Ballymena Academy, Belfast 5-19. Winning these tough games away from home had shown that the U16 side were a settled unit and were ready for the challenge ahead.
Kirkham won the toss and chose to play down the slope in the first half. Kirkham pressured Sedbergh's attack early with some aggressive defence, and one big hit from Harry Reay caused Sedbergh to lose the ball. Open side flanker, Wills Gut, picked up the spillage and quickly fed to Captain, James Stacey, who stepped through the Sedbergh scramble defence to touch down under the posts. Calum Hill successfully added the conversion.
Kirkham continued to shut down the Sedbergh attack and controlled the territory for most of the half. The Kirkham front five forwards grafted hard in the tight with Saif Amr and Jack Austin leading the way. The formidable back row trio of Wills Gut, Seb Kelly and Monty Loggenberg got through a lot of carrying and clear-out work. It was one of Guts' powerful tackles that forced Sedbergh to knock on again and then they handled the ball on the floor, resulting in a penalty to Kirkham from about thirty meters out. Callum Hill slotted the penalty, extending Kirkham’s lead to 10-0.
Minutes later, Loggenberg secured a turnover in the Sedbergh 22 and Kirkham countered well through Callum Hill and Tom Wilkinson, only to be stopped inches short of the try line. Kirkham were then awarded a penalty for a Sedbergh infringement at the ruck and decided to tap the ball and set up a driving maul. Second row Henry Whitton took the ball from the back of the maul and powered over from short range. Hill successfully added the conversion resulting in a half time score of 17-0.
In a tough second half, playing up the slope through driving rain, Kirkham knew how they needed to play. The half back pairing of Harry Tomlinson and James Stacey managed the game extremely well, assisted by full back Olly Greenwood who had the back field well-covered. Sedbergh eventually managed to penetrate the Kirkham defensive line and get on the score sheet - but it was too little, too late. The final score ended up 17-7 to Kirkham. This was a mature performance from the Kirkham side and they deserve much praise for their efforts over the last four months.