1st XV v Millfield won 53-12
Sedbergh proved almost unstoppable at times against Millfield in what is one of the most highly anticipated matches of the school boy rugby calendar.

Two unfortunate injuries in the U15 curtain raiser meant the 1st XV match had to be moved to an alternative pitch just before kick-off. This did not affect Sedbergh’s preparation in the slightest as they scored a brilliant try straight from the first whistle through the excellent Tom Walsh. Millfield then replied with a try of their own completely against the run of play. At 7 all Sedbergh then went on the rampage in a stunning display of attacking rugby.

Tries from Rouban Birch, James Magee & two from Alex Mullins gave the visitors a healthy 29 – 7 lead at the half. Knowing the next score would be crucial after half time the Sedbergh backs unleashed a superb set-piece strike that cut through the heart of the Millfield defence. Josh Hodge was the benefactor as he glided through to score.

Magee’s second try was simply outstanding as he finished in the far corner after some brilliant lead up play from both the backs and forwards who all handled the ball beautifully. Further tries from Bevan Rodd & Rob Farrar sealed a famous victory & secured both the Daily Mail Trophy and the number one ranking in the country. 

What a season! I am so proud of the players for what they have achieved this year. They are a special group who have left the jersey & SSFC in a better place. 

2nd XV v Millfield won 24-10
The 2nd XV had to work very hard to get the win over a gutsy Millfield outfit. Sedbergh scored twice late on to seal the victory in a very physical encounter between two strong sides. 

3rd XV v Millfield won 19-7
The much anticipated tour south saw the 3rd XV play two games this year, something that has not happened for a long time. The Mr Hirst approached me before the game and advised me that the 3rd XV game was the one they thought they might win, certainly the posters around the school proclaiming them to be “The Invincibles,” led me to believe that the team thought the same.

They were indeed a more physical and well drilled side than I have seen at this level for some time and although we quickly went 12-0 ahead through Murray and Turner, it was evident that we were in a game and they made us defend for long periods of time. George Thomas was simply outstanding, his ability to turn the ball over in pressure situations is as good as I have seen at this level and the scrum put their opposite numbers under a great deal of pressure.

We did, however, give away silly penalties for offside in the midfield which put us back under pressure, a line out from Millfield resulted in them scoring under the posts, however, a gust of wind blew the kickers fringe into his eyes and he missed the extras! The second half was very physical indeed and we began to try and force the game to seal it as a win. A missed touch from Hampsey on our 22m saw the two chasing Millfield boys collide, the ball hit one in the face and bounced into the path of Richard Burns who expertly volleyed it towards Bristol, as planned it just clipped the turf and shot into touch giving us a gain of some 80m.

From here we exerted pressure and Brooke showed genuine power for his score from the right-hand side with a “crazy switch,” and went under the posts. Hampsey put the two on and we were 19-5 up with 2 minutes left. This gave just enough time for one of the Millfield boys to collect his handbag from the touch line and run into one of our boys swinging it wildly. He was given a straight red card showing that CH is not the only person to have cards at this level.
Job half done.

3rd XV v Sherborne won 20-17
At this point I must thank Simon Mullholland for booking our accommodation. This truly was a cross curriculum stroke of genius. It showed the boys why they don’t want to live out of a suitcase on the road. The driver was convinced by us to take us all into Yeovil. We were quite literally the only people on the street, shop windows had been emptied and even Burger King, the nutrition point of choice for 3rd XV, was shut. We managed to get all boys back on the bus to our “rave  odge”. Breakfast back in Yeovil, count the boys back on the bus and so to Sherborne.

A quick 90minutes of CH explaining every school boy memory to a very interested Jordan and Wakefield brought us to the time to meet the lads and go to the Upper, the equivalent of Busk. The setting was beautiful and the weather was perfect. The Sherborne 2nd XV were very excited to be playing us and it was much anticipated as the school breaks up in two days.

The crowd they hoped for didn’t materialise but that was appropriate for this level. We soaked up a good period of attack in the first 10 minutes and managed to repel the boys in Blue. They had a strong wind and a low sun behind them but opted to play with ball in hand for the majority of the game. Their style of play was to go from anywhere and to play with panache. The off-loading and support lines from them were excellent, they beat us over the ball on many occasions and they filled the field fast in defence. Halsall, Hollins and Ford were outstanding and gave a strong base to play around whilst Duerden and Thiele-Ochel were direct and hard.

Jones up front worked his socks off and Thomas again toiled hard. Fung back for his second game this season gave away a few early penalties in defence but carrier and distributed well, he can make good decisions to. Hampsey Cook is the most developed player of the season. His decision making and his distribution were out-standing in these testing circumstances. Halsall ran a superb line to take us 7-0 up but silly penalties gave Sherborne the chance of a lineout on our 10 m. This led to a cross field kick which they scored from but they fluffed the kick.

Another excellent counter attack from a forced and panicked off load from Brown saw them score up the right hand side. At 12-7 down. Another blue try and we were 17-7 down. A situation we have face only twice this season and neither time did we cope. The faces were not filled with panic and actually they grew into the game. Hollins scored a beauty in the corner. This young man who has already played at Twickenham is one who can pick a line and he is athletic to boot! We turned around 17-12 to have the wind behind us. The sun had gone in!

It then became attrition and all about heart with the boys in Brown having the game from the day before in their legs- not one had mentioned this! The forwards who had been dominant really turned up the pressure with sharks and hard carries gaining us yards. Hollins then on another set play set off for the corner, was he going to make it, their full back was quick and had the angle, he squeaked in at the corner. Hampsey could not quite add the extras. 17-17.

They pressed we tackled, we pressed they tackled. This was two sets of boys who were willing to give everything for their shirt and their team. We earned a penalty bang in front and having opted for the corner last time Hampsey stepped up and smashed it over, 20-17. Mr Arnold would have been delighted to see the penalty sail over! The final ten minutes were all under our posts and 8 of them were with only 14 men. Thomas had to be dragged off with a badly cut mouth. We met them and met them, eventually Halsall and hollins earning us a rare second half penalty, tap it and then kick it in to touch. Whistle, celebrate, three cheers, tunnel, back out on the field.

We had done the double. The boys had given everything they had and they deserved the spoils which were sausage a chips in the pavilion along with a memory that no one will be able to remove. What a season and what a team. Thank you to them all. And with that moment so ended my time coaching with the Sedbergh School Football Club. If the boys have taken away half of what I do then I feel I have done my bit. It is a very special club that has at its heart the people and characters who have created it and remain within it.

Regardless of their standard the boys learn and grow not just to play rugby but to be good men, and for that matter so do the coaches privileged enough to be involved. My tie will go in the cupboard but what the tie stands for will never be put away, somethings are too wonderful to be kept in the dark. Thank you SSFC and all the best for the future.

A1 v Millfield won 15-3
On a blustery day down in Somerset the A1 side, still feeling the bruisers from their physical encounter against Wellington the previous Wednesday, faced a resolute and determined Millfield side. The game started at such a pace and with the home side winning the toss and choosing to play uphill, it was important the Brown scored early, and they did. Prop Seb Wilman continued his fine form and broke away from a ruck, and using his pace and agility well dived over the line under the posts. A great start and 7-0 up. Heads were up and confidence grew, though too many errors led to the Millfield side gaining more and more territory.

Frustration grew and the half was dictated by ill-discipline and no real continuity in play. It was only until the final few minutes of the half that Sedbergh were awarded a penalty from a scrum, where Full Back Harry Sheil slotted the 3 points. Playing uphill challenged the Brown in the second half, but they showed great resilience and attacking play to go another score up, after some great work by the pack to keep possession and allow Oliver Melville and brother Cameron to dance around defenders and feed wing Ben Burridge for the score.

The final twenty minutes witnessed the home side throw everything at the A1 side but a resolute and well organised defence meant the Millfield U16 side came only away with a penalty. The final score 15-3, and whilst a good could have been much higher if chance were taken in the first half.

B1 v Millfield 12-12 draw
This was a game that was marred by two serious injuries to Sedbergh players but the quality of the two teams on show should not be forgotten. B1 were put under more pressure than at any other point this season and as a result made a high number of errors. In the first half it looked like it was only a matter of time and patience until Sedbergh broke down the Millfield defence, with Millfield’s few opportunities coming from Sedbergh errors.

However, in the second half Millfield had the upper hand and Sedbergh battled valiantly in defence to prevent them from scoring on numerous occasions? With two minutes to play and Millfield awarded a kickable penalty to win the game, it was an incredibly sporting gesture for the Millfield coaches to decide to call time on the fixture due to the two injuries that had occurred. Both sides will be hoping to meet again in the Schools’ Cup.

B1 v Standish CHS won 5-3 (Round four National Cup)
B1 were frustrated by challenging conditions and a determined Standish side. Tensions were high right until the final whistle less than ten minutes after Max Jackson’s try had finally given Sedbergh the lead. 

C1 v Millfield lost 62-0
A huge and very physical Millfield side proved too good for a courageous Sedbergh team who never gave up.


British Schools Small bore Rifle Association’s Winter Open
As part of our Winter Bisley camp, Sedbergh put seven shooters into the British Schools Small bore Rifle Association’s Winter Open. This is a major competition, entered by 200 people from schools across the UK. Unlike nearly all of the opposition, Sedbergh do not have the local facilities to train the discipline featured, which requires shooters to place forty shots on a target 50 yards away, across an open range.

To put this in perspective, the most shots that our team usually fire in a single session is twenty, their targets are never more than 50m away, and they never have to contend with the effect of wind on the small-calibre bullet. However, we decided to enter a team to give our shooters a taste of a different sort of competition and to expand their experience. Our entrants went in with gusto and more than held their own, with all but two placing in the top half of the competition, and the others not far behind. The standout result was Sarah Rorison, who placed 64th overall and was the 4th-highest-placed U15 in the competition.

Our Junior Pair of Daisy Armstrong and Abi Gibbs – the latter in her first year of shooting with anything more than an air rifle – should also be commended for placing 10th out of 37, close behind a slew of illustrious small bore shooting names and giving a bloody nose to several schools who had invested considerable time and resources in training for this competition.


Fell Foot Park Run
Some of the running team attended Fell Foot Park Run on a sub-zero Saturday morning. All the hard training that has gone on this term resulted in some excellent performances over the cold and frosty 5Km course set on the edge of Lake Windermere.  154 runners of all ages lined up to take on the hilly cross country run in stunning Winter Wonderland conditions. Reuben Copley ran a new PB of 16:55 coming second. George Rigal was 4th; he suffered in the bitterly cold conditions and yet ran 17:56.  The hard working Spencer Bird ran 18:20 to come 6th.  He was well chased by the fast improving Freddie Hill (10th) who ran an impressive 18:55 in his Park Run debut. Robert Askew (14th) was the next pupil home in 19:20. Laurence Nichols (15th) was close behind running 19:36.  The quiet German student Felix Kirsten (20th) ran his first Park Run in 20:12.  Jack Rigal (28th) ran 21:27.  Amy Slattery ran well to finish as third female in a personal best time of 21:55. The injured Fraser Sproul came along to cheer on his teammates. The running team thoroughly enjoyed the Park Run and it provided them with some much needed racing experience.

The hard working Spencer Bird ran 18:20 to come 6th.  He was well chased by the fast improving Freddie Hill (10th) who ran an impressive 18:55 in his Park Run debut. Robert Askew (14th) was the next pupil home in 19:20. Laurence Nichols (15th) was close behind running 19:36.  The quiet German student Felix Kirsten (20th) ran his first Park Run in 20:12.  Jack Rigal (28th) ran 21:27.  Amy Slattery ran well to finish as third female in a personal best time of 21:55. The injured Fraser Sproul came along to cheer on his teammates. The running team thoroughly enjoyed the Park Run and it provided them with some much needed racing experience.

Follow Sedbergh: