29 March 2022
After narrowly losing the National Schools’ U18 Cup Final at Twickenham, Kirkham Grammar School senior rugby players turned their attention to the National 7s at Rosslyn Park and the National Super Tens at Sedbergh School.
Kirkham reached the quarter-finals of Rosslyn Park so this left them with one last opportunity to win some silverware this season at the National Super Tens. On the first day, Kirkham were matched with some strong rugby schools: first up were Hurstpierpoint College who they overcame, in a controlled way, with hooker Harry Thompson scoring 4 tries as KGS eased to a 36-7 victory. Second up were Felsted School who proved tough opposition but tries from Will Riley, Huw Davies, Niall Povall and Tom Lee gave KGS a 22-5 victory. Last in the group stage were Stamford School, who had also won all their games, but with Kirkham growing in confidence they scored 3 tries in 21-0 victory with Osian Roberts, Niall Povall and Tom Campbell contributing. This victory allowed KGS into the semi-final group stage of the competition with more tough opposition including QEGS Wakefield, Barnard Castle and Ipswich School.
Although KGS started the second day slowly, they eventually got on top of the Wakefield side and were impressive 26-0 winners with Tom Campbell (2), Will Riley and Rhys Fray getting on the score sheet. Fly half, Tom Lee, also contributed with his kicking skills with many conversions, and kicking out of hand, as he drove Kirkham forward with his boot. Next up was Barnard Castle who had pushed KGS to the limit in the semi-final of the National Schools XV Cup; again they proved to be tough opposition with only a try from Osian Roberts giving Kirkham a 7-0 victory. The last game in the group was against Ipswich School. Knowing a win would give them an opportunity to meet Sedbergh School in the final, Kirkham were in no mood to let this chance slip and comprehensively defeated Ipswich 29-5 with tries from Will Riley, Tom Campbell, Joe Medcalf and Tom Lee to set a repeat of the Kirkham v Sedbergh 2019 final.
As the final approached, the touchline started to fill and Sedbergh's support increased, as both teams were met with huge anticipation. Sedbergh started fast and, after a mistake on the KGS line, the host team took a 7-0 lead. However, Kirkham responded immediately with outstanding forwards Yande Nkonge and Huw Davies making huge inroads into the Sedbergh defence, finished off with a try for Niall Povall. Kirkham continued to put pressure on Sedbergh and this time Huw Davies crashed over to give KGS a 12-7 lead. The next score was crucial as half time approached and it was Sedbergh who gave a penalty away in front of the posts. Tom Lee stepped up calmly to kick the penalty and give KGS a 15-7 lead. Sedbergh seemed shell-shocked and despite the urging of the crowd could not overcome the vice-like grip Kirkham had on them. Again, Kirkham were making Sedbergh's defence work hard and they conceded more penalties and Tom Lee kicked KGS into the corner. A well-constructed lineout was used and, once again, Huw Davies crashed over as the lead grew to 20-7. Sedbergh still had time but a crucial tackle on the Sedbergh Captain was made by KGS centre Cameron Scanlon who had been superb in defence all tournament. As time started to run out, Kirkham piled on the pressure which eventually led to another try for the charismatic Huw Davies to complete his hat trick! This resulted in an outstanding 25-7 victory with KGS winning the tournament for the first time since 2003.