The Wimbledon Cluster Year 5/6 Tag Rugby competition kicked off at Dundonald Recreation Ground on Thursday 22nd February 2018. It was fantastic to see every school represented and 17   teams in total battling it out to represent Wimbledon at the borough finals. Teams were drawn into four groups with the top two teams progressing into the top eight knockout rounds while the third and fourth placed teams looked to finish as high as possible in their respective knockout rounds.

In Group 1 Wimbledon Chase started brightly and continued to show off their skills with three wins in a row, highlighting their speed, turns and sidestepping ability. The Priory has some very close games including a slender 2-1 victory over Merton Abbey. Bishop Gilpin and Merton Abbey were both showing determination to do their best for their school and when the two teams clashed there was nothing to separate them as strong defensive performances meant a 0-0 draw. That left the Group 1 Final Standings as follows:

  1. Wimbledon Chase ‘A’

  2. The Priory

  3. Bishop Gilpin ‘B’

  4. Merton Abbey

The quality of rugby on display was evident from the first match in Group 2 where an athletic and attacking Garfield side were just pipped 2-1 by a fast and well-organised Wimbledon Park outfit. Bishop Gilpin won the group convincingly taking full points and scoring 12 tries while only conceding a single try.  All Saints battled their way to a 3-1 win over Garfield but their showdown game with Wimbledon Park saw the score reversed and meant the final Group 2 standings were as follows:

  1. Bishop Gilpin ‘A’

  2. Wimbledon Park ‘A’

  3. All Saints

  4. Garfield ‘B’

Group 3 produced the most tries out of all the other groups as the attacks ebbed and flowed with teams looking to outscore their opponents at every opportunity. Dundonald showed their excellent team work combined with individual flair was too strong for their opponents after winning all three of their games and scoring an average of four tries a game. The other teams in the group battled it out and narrow victories against Pelham for Wimbledon Chase and Bishop Gilpin meant that it came down to try difference to secure second place.

Group 3:

  1. Dundonald ‘A’

  2. Bishop Gilpin ‘C’

  3. Wimbledon Chase ‘B’

  4. Pelham

Group 4 was full of attacking rugby and shaky defences in the most closely competitive group. St Mary’s took full advantage of this in their opening fixture, winning 1-0 and playing some slick rugby with fast hands and faster feet against a determined Holy Trinity side. After losing earlier, Holy Trinity recovered well to defeat the rest of the teams in the group. Dundonald improved with every match, organising their defences more effectively and improving their running lines and handling skills to win their final group fixture 6-3 against Garfield in an enthralling encounter. Wimbledon Park continued to play an open, expansive game that came to fruition when they edged a narrow 3-2 win over Garfield.

Group 4:

  1. St Mary’s

  2. Holy Trinity

  3. Dundonald ‘B’

  4. Wimbledon Park ‘B’

  5. Garfield ‘A’

Some of the most dramatic action was saved for the play-off matches. Both teams from Wimbledon Park and Wimbledon Chase had to take each other on in their quarterfinal games, with Wimbledon Chase victorious in both. Merton Abbey showed their true ability after having an extremely strong group to contend with by winning their last two play-off games. Holy Trinity held off a resilient Bishop Gilpin ‘C’ to earn 7th place. Wimbledon Park scored a well-worked team try before The Priory stormed back to win the game 2-1 and claim 5th place. Wimbledon Chase ‘A’ effected a vital turnover to score a break-away try to win 2-0 and finish 3rd. Bishop Gilpin A continued their impressive form against St Mary’s in a game of the highest quality, winning 2-1 in the final.

The final positions are:

  1. Bishop Gilpin ‘A’

  2. St Mary’s

  3. Wimbledon Chase ‘A’

  4. Dundonald ‘A’

  5. The Priory

  6. Wimbledon Park ‘A’

  7. Holy Trinity

  8. Bishop Gilpin ‘C’

  9. Bishop Gilpin ‘B’

  10. Merton Abbey

  11. Dundonald ‘B’

  12. Wimbledon Chase ‘B’

  13. Pelham

  14. Garfield ‘A’

  15. Garfield ‘B’

  16. All Saints

  17. Wimbledon Park ‘B’

Congratulations to all teams who took part and fully embodied the rugby core values of respect, discipline, sportsmanship, enjoyment and fair play – all of these were on display throughout the afternoon. We wish Bishop Gilpin, St Mary’s, Dundonald and Wimbledon Chase the very best of luck in the Borough Finals where they will represent the Wimbledon Cluster. Our REFSPECT winners today were Merton Abbey. They were positive throughout, applauding the opposing team, shaking hands and congratulating the opposition even when they lost. A great demonstration of fair play, sportsmanship and etiquette combined with fantastic teamwork and effort meant they were a credit to their school

The event could not have run so smoothly if it were not for the officials – Sports Leaders from Rutlish School – who refereed the games with composure, patience and calm authority. A huge thank you must be extended to the members of staff and parents who trained, supported and cheered their teams in preparation for, and during, the event.

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