Gloucester and England Rugby winger, Jonny May, joined College on Sunday 1 November to present a trophy to the winning team of the Oldest IV Rugby Festival, played between St Paul’s, Sherborne, Durham and Cheltenham College. This marked the end of a fantastic two days of rugby; Jonny had time to meet with all the players as well as parents, even signing a few autographs for fans!
The tournament, originally set up and hosted by Durham School in 2011, sees the oldest rugby playing schools in the world (dating back to the 1800s) celebrate their history and tradition through a challenging and competitive number of matches. With College being the third host of this prestigious festival, it was important we left pupils, staff and parents with a lasting memory of Cheltenham College.
All teams arrived somewhat sporadically on Friday evening and settled into Christowe and Boyne House to rest for the first round of matches the following day. With the weather on our side, the marquee and bar in full swing and a hog roast to feed the hundreds, the setting and atmosphere was spectacular. The first round saw College come against a strong St Paul’s team. Although extremely competitive, the physicality of St Paul’s and Durham saw us lose both opening rounds. St Paul’s finished the day in first place with one more round to go on Sunday. With the World Cup final kicking off at 4.00pm it was a great opportunity to fill Big Classical with 120 staff and pupils to watch the game on the big screen. After this, it was a quick change in preparation for our drinks reception and formal dinner in Big Classical and Dining room. Highlights of the first day were on show and the catering team delivered an exceptional three-course dinner for all parents, staff and pupils. We were also joined by Bath Rugby stalwart, David Trick, who gave a fantastic speech to all the boys and parents attending.
The following day saw a winner takes all match for Durham and St Paul’s and a third versus fourth place match for Sherborne and College. Again the weather delivered on all fronts, which allowed for some fantastic 'end to end' rugby on display. World Cup referee Chris White was just about able to keep up with the pace! Although close in both games, St Paul’s came out victorious receiving the silverware for try of the tournament, player of the tournament and overall winners.
Director of Rugby and former England Rugby player, Olly Morgan, commented, “This is a great opportunity for some of the first schools in the world to play rugby to come together for an exciting and challenging tournament. With College fielding 12 out of the 15 from the Fifth Form it was a great experience and learning curve for our players to compete against older first XV’s from around the country. A huge thank you must go to our sponsors England Rugby travel, Proview performance for the analysis and BLK for supplying kit to the referees and winning team. We look forward to the next festival in two years time.”