The Cheltenham boys, who had already recorded an unbeaten season earlier this year and who have now moved into their hockey season, reverted back to their rugby boots for the Finals – unfortunately without their captain and number 8, Harrison Ottley-Woodd, who tore ligaments in his foot two days before the tournament.
The boys progressed easily through their first two group games, winning 24-0 against Beechwood Prep and 12-0 against Danes Hill. The final group game set the scene for the close and highly competitive final to come; a 0-0 draw against Shrewsbury House.
In the semi final, the CCJS team won a tense game against Rokeby School, 19-12, while Shrewsbury School also won their match. The final therefore was down to these two talented teams, with each side determined to emerge the victor… At the end of the first half, Shrewsbury was up 3-0 with a well-taken penalty goal. The Cheltenham boys, however, came back strongly in the second half, with a well-executed kick from Jordan Pemberton drawing them level at 3-3 before the final whistle.
The result was a tie for the title – with both schools deserved of being named top rugby prep school in the country.
Mr Duncan Simpson, our Head of Boys’ Sport, commented: “This is a remarkable achievement and the boys should feel very proud indeed – especially as their rugby season here in the South West actually ended in December. They have shown immense skill and determination throughout the tournament and fully deserve the joint win. Special thanks must go to our local team, Cheltenham Tigers U13s, who kindly gave up a Sunday morning to help the boys prepare - their support was invaluable.”
Mr Matt Dawson, 1st XV coach at CCJS, added; "There was nothing to separate the two teams in the final and every single player fully deserved to walk away with the win. It was a fantastic performance of rugby both in terms of skill and attitude and we are honoured to share the national title with Shewsbury House."
Mr Kebin Doble, Headmaster of Shewsbury House also commented: “We are delighted to be able to share this prestigious trophy with CCJS after a wonderfully tense and exciting match of hard, running rugby. We hope to develop a strong relationship with a school that enjoys a similar passion for this wonderful sport.”