It was a busy weekend for the Rugby Sevens teams as the U14s headed down to Abingdon for a round robin festival; the U16s went to West of England and the U18s to the prestigious Marches Sevens in Hereford.
Director of Rugby, Mr Olly Morgan, commented, "It was a fantastic day all round for Cheltenham College sevens and with the U16s and U18s both reaching finals in their two tournaments showed we are well prepared leading into Rosslyn Park. Next stop the National Sevens!"
With it being the U14s first competitive set of matches it was a great opportunity to put all the training to the test. Their opening match was an abrasive game against Clifton College with a limited amount of free flowing rugby. However the U14s got better as the day wore on and proved convincing winners against Magdalen College and St Edwards, Oxford. The last game against Abingdon was a nail biter and went down to the wire with Abingdon just pipping Cheltenham at the end. There were some standout performances from Louis Hillman-Cooper (3rd, S) and Ed Hitchins (3rd, NH).
The U16s, who have had a successful season so far, travelled to Taunton to play in the West of England tournament. It didn’t get off to the best start against a physical Llandaff who powered through to a 20-0 win in the opening group match. However the cobwebs were blown off and Cheltenham put in some fantastic performances against Queen's College Taunton, Bryanston and Truro College to progress through to the cup semi-final as best runner up. They then faced Monmouth who were a familiar face in the final from the Wellington Sevens. Some outstanding work in defence and attack from Fin Logan (5th, BH) galvanised Cheltenham who eventually went on to win 19-7 and progressed through to yet another final against Llandaff. With fitness proving to be a main factor in the latter parts of these tournaments, Cheltenham got off to a fantastic start with a well worked try in the shape of Paddy Christopher (5th, H). It was a complete contrast from the opening group game and with one minute remaining Cheltenham had the opportunity to win but unfortunately came up short with a turnover at the breakdown. It was an excellent effort from the squad and a real indicator as to the strength in the depth the team has.
The U18s travelled to Hereford to compete in the Marches Sevens, which attracts over 40 schools from around the country. The opening match, like the U14s and U16s was a slow starter against Llandovery College and resulted in a 24-17 loss. However the next two group games really allowed Cheltenham to play some attractive sevens and comfortable wins against King Edward VI School Stratford and Bro Morgannwg meant we progressed to the Plate quarter-final where we faced a physical Malvern College. Some great turnovers from Dan Ali (U6, NH) allowed Matthew Baker (U6, NH) to score in the corner and a last minute length of the field try from Joe Warner (U6, S) meant we progressed into the semi-final against last year’s winners Millfield. Cheltenham got off to a fantastic start with two quick tries from Matthew Baker (U6, NH) and Dan Ali (U6, NH) and went into the half with a comfortable lead. Millfield however came back with two well-worked tries and led by two points with a minute to play. Some lovely offloading between Dan Ali (U6, NH) and Ed Johnston (L6, L) freed up space for Matthew Baker (U6, NH) to coast through again unopposed. The win saw Cheltenham through to the final against Barnard Castle. The squad started fantastically well and took the lead with tries from Barny Napier (U6, Xt), Dan Ali (U6, NH) and Joe Warner (U6, S). Fatigue settled in mid way through the second half and Barnard Castle came back to level the score with three minutes to go. A yellow card from Cheltenham meant the players had to dig deep and unfortunately the added player made the difference and we conceded two tries.