Sedbergh U18 successfully defended their National Schools 7s title at Rosslyn Park, beating Dulwich College 38 – 5 in the final having lost to them just a few hours earlier in group match.
Having negotiated their group stage games on Thursday, Sedbergh headed into Friday’s second round group matches facing three other group winners from the day before; Dulwich College, Blundell School and Brighton College.
The day started with a 22 – 0 victory over Blundell School and up next was Dulwich College. Like Sedbergh, Dulwich were also unbeaten having won all their group games the day before and beating Brighton College in their first match on day two. In a tight and tense affair, Dulwich beat Sedbergh 12-10. With only the group winners from the three groups and the team with the next best record qualifying, Sedbergh knew they needed a convincing win against Brighton College to help with their points difference.
Sedbergh ran out 38 – 5 winners over Brighton College, scoring a try at the end of the game that turned out to be crucial as they qualified into the semi-finals on points difference ahead of Millfield. Just 6 points separated the two teams which highlights how fine the margins are in the competition.
The semi-final was a repeat of last year’s final against Cranleigh, where Sedbergh took the title from Cranleigh who had won it the three previous years. Sedbergh repeated last year’s victory with a 24 – 5 victory this year to see them head through to the final where they would face Dulwich, who had seen off Clifton College 28 – 19.
Having lost to Dulwich earlier in the day, Sedbergh were keen to make amends and secure back to back National School 7s titles. It only took two minutes to get the scoreboard going as Barber scored only for him to pop up again moments later to finish off a great move to score his second. Curtis converted both tries and with the score at 14 – 0, Sedbergh were in position to take the game away from Dulwich.
A score from Panday and Melville made the score 24 – 0. Melville’s try coming after a brilliant defensive phase which then sparked a counter attacker, Curtis spotting the space in behind Dulwich and put through a weighted kick which sat up perfectly for the on-rushing Ollie Melville to collect and score.
Dulwich kept pressing but the Sedbergh defence was outstanding - relentless tackling and ruthless at the break down. These turnovers led to more points, this time Curtis assisting Haydon-Wood with the score.
Although Dulwich did score, it was Sedbergh who fittingly scored the last try of the competition. Panday shrugged off two tired Dulwich defenders to score his second of the game and with the last kick of the game, Curtis thumped over the conversion to seal a superb 38-5 win.
Elsewhere in the competition, Sedbergh U16 were unable to match the U18 in defending the title they won last year. In one of the matches of the tournament, they were beaten 26 – 21 by eventual winners St Peter’s School, York.