National rugby title for Cheltenham College Junior School Under-13 boys
The Under-13 rugby team at Cheltenham College Junior School are celebrating being named the joint top prep school in the country for rugby, having powered their way through the 2013 Lexus National Schools Rugby Tournament.
The title went jointly to Cheltenham College Junior School and Shrewsbury House, Surrey, after a tense and closely contested final game.
More than 160 teams from 70 prep schools around the country took part in the tournament, with several regional festivals culminating in a National Final taking place at Epsom College, Surrey on Sunday.
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 eight, Harrison Ottley-Woodd, who tore ligaments in his foot two days before the tournament.
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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 were 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 being named top rugby prep school in the country.
Duncan Simpson, head of boys' sport at Cheltenham College Junior School, said: "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 Under13s, who kindly gave up a Sunday morning to help the boys prepare - their support was invaluable."