2nd April 2019 — Newcastle’s leading independent school, Royal Grammar School (RGS), has been victorious for the very first time at the Rosslyn Park National Schools Sevens competition, winning the Under 18 Bowl title, 26-17 against Felsted School.
The prestigious sevens’ competition saw 144 teams from across the country compete in the Vase competition. RGS made it through their initial group of four as winners and headed into an elimination match against Rugby School (eventual runners-up), which saw the midlands side take a convincing 29-0 victory.
The loss put RGS into the Bowl competition, and they would face an up-hill battle to progress through the tough group stages.
RGS were up for the task, beating two very good sides in Berkhamsted and Mount St Mary’s in their quarter final pool before facing an even tougher semi-final pool alongside St. Peter’s York and Campion.
The group was very tightly contested and eventually went down to point’s difference. RGS beat St Peter’s, but lost to Campion, who had in turn lost to St Peter’s. With all three teams being tied, RGS progressed to the final thanks to a +5 points difference.
The final was full of swings in momentum with both RGS and Felsted giving everything to score. Felsted held the lead for a while at 17-14, but could not keep RGS at bay, with the boys digging deep to take the lead 19-17 before making a poignant stop in front of their try-line, winning the ball back and making their way convincingly down the field and scoring the penultimate try to take a brilliant victory. Nathan Byatt grabbed two try in the final as well as a match winning tap-tackle in the last minute of the game to secure the victory.
Speaking of the victory, Director of Sport Angela Ponton said, “Becoming Rosslyn Park National Sevens’ Tournament Bowl winners is a fantastic achievement for this squad, for it is a physically and mentally tiring tournament. It caps off a superb final year for many of the squad who will leave RGS as winners of two national titles.”
It has been an excellent season for the first team who also won the St Joe’s Festival in the autumn. It also marks a fitting end to a fantastic career for first team coach, Jim Pollock, who retires from the school at the end of the year. He said, “It has been an honour to coach this team, and an absolute pleasure to watch them win the bowl competition at the biggest rugby festival in the world. The boys are a credit to the school and rugby in the North East, both on and off the field, and I couldn’t be prouder of their achievements.”