QE Rugby Sevens are double triumph for School

The 38th annual Queen Elizabeth’s School Seven-a-Side Tournament proved to be a double success for QE: not only was it an organisational and sporting triumph, but the School’s own U14 side was among the top-placed sides.

Sixty-six teams from 36 schools travelled to Barnet for the tournament and enjoyed a day of high-quality competition and glorious sunshine – in stark contrast to last year, when the event had to be cancelled because of rain.

Competitors included leading schools in both the private and state sectors. They came from far and wide, with some making journeys from as far afield as Somerset, Kent and the Gower in Wales.

""The morning consists of scheduled matches, with each team playing three times in the group stages at U14 and U16 levels. The winner of each group proceeds to the Main quarter-finals, while the second-placed team goes through to the Plate quarter-finals.

This year, the U14 Main trophy was won by Eton College, with Brighton College the runners-up.

The QE U14 boys reached the Plate final, where they lost out to Bedford School. It was one of QE’s best results in the tournament for some years.

""At U16 level, the Main trophy went to Gowerton School from Swansea, with Berkhamsted School the losing finalist. Epsom College won the Plate, beating Whitgift School from Croydon into second place.

Nine full-size pitches are used, including all those belonging to the School, as well as two at Barnet RFC. It is believed to be the country’s second-biggest schools sevens tournament, as well as the only one for which there is no entrance fee.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “It was a splendid day, with some excellent rugby played. I was especially pleased to see our U14 boys doing so well: their success at this age of course augurs well for rugby at QE in the next few years.

""“I must also pay tribute to our Head of Games, Mark Peplow, for once again pulling off a tremendous feat of organisation and logistics with his customary aplomb.”

Teams arrive from 8.30am. From then until the final presentation of trophies by the Headmaster at around 6pm, an army of QE helpers is kept busy ensuring that all runs smoothly.

Parents drawn from the ranks of the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s serve bacon sandwiches for breakfast and chilli and baked potatoes for lunch. Many QE boys, from Year 7 upwards, help out on the day by acting as runners, delivering results and passing on information between pitches. St John Ambulance volunteers are on hand to provide any medical assistance required.

QE U14 rugby sevens team’s success: match reports

QE’s U14 team fought a valiant campaign throughout the day in the national rugby sevens tournament hosted by the School – and were rewarded with second place in the Plate final.

It was the best result by any QE team, whether at U14 or U16 level, since 2002.

""PE teacher James Clarke said: “We had a slow start to the tournament, losing heavily to Judd School in our opening group game, but we bounced back superbly with a hard-fought win over Dartford Grammar School followed by a comprehensive victory over Wellington College.”

Having thus successfully progressed beyond the morning group stages, the QE boys then continued to impress.

“We beat Aylesbury Grammar School well in the quarter-finals and overcame John Fisher School in a nail-biting semi-final, but just couldn't capitalise on our chances against Bedford in the final,” said Mr Clarke. Bedford eventually ran out as 26-5 winners of the U14 Plate.

""The keys to the QE boys’ victories were clear, he added. “We had a direct approach in the tournament due to the physical nature of our team, with strong tackling in defence and good offloading in attack, leading to some well-finished tries by our ‘speedsters’, Liam Hagley and Ola Ogunade.

“The captain for the tournament was Justin Lee and my star player was Simon Rey, with Showgo Kimura and Sahil Shah not far behind.”