It’s sevens heaven

Arnold School hosted a rugby 7s tournament.'Action from Kirkham Grammar School (dark blue) v West Hill. PIC BY ROB LOCK'3-3-2011
Arnold School hosted a rugby 7s tournament.'Action from Kirkham Grammar School (dark blue) v West Hill. PIC BY ROB LOCK'3-3-2011
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RUGBY players have hardly had time to catch their breath with so many tournaments at the start of the Sevens season.

Arnold School hosted an Under-15s tournament on Thursday, starting with a 38-7 victory over Baines School.

However, they came down to earth with defeats against St Mary’s, Crosby and Kirkham GS, who came back from two tries down to win and went on to win the whole tournament.

Arnold were left needing to beat West Hill HS by over 30 points in their final group game to qualify for the semi-finals of in the main competition.

They did so by playing their best rugby of the day, winning 38-7 to set up a ding-dong semi against Giggleswick. Giggleswick scored twice before Ben Cheston’s try gave Arnold hope. Trailing 24-17 with seconds left, Arnold pounded the Giggleswick line but could not breach it again.

Mitchell Bolus, Alex Vowles-Bradley and Matthew Radley were very impressive all day for Arnold.

n Rossall School hosted the annual Budge Sevens and won the Plate competition

They played some excellent free-flowing rugby to beat Highfield Priory, St Mary’s Crosby and Merchant Taylors. This set up an exciting semi-final derby against Arnold Juniors, which Rossall won 3-0.

The final was an encounter against Altrincham Prep but huge support from parents, teachers and schoolmates enabled the team to seal victory by three tries to one.

Arnold had a baptism of fire against the Altrincham side. Charles Shaw scored for Arnold but they conceded four to talented opponents.

Local rivals Kirkham GS then defeated Arnold by three tries to nil en route to the main final.

Rydal Penrhose from Wales were next up for Arnold, whose half-backs Ryan Evans and James Cowburn ran the show in a 3-0 victory.

Shaw was again among the scorers, just as he was in the next game against Buchan B from the Isle of Man. Sam Hackett and Evans also scored to leave Arnold requiring victory over Birkenhead in their final group game to leapfrog them for second place and a semi-final spot.

Shaw scored the only try of the first half and James Cowburn added an interception try at a crucial time. Birkenhead fought back and it remained 2-2, despite Max Older falling inches short of a winning try in the final seconds, meaning a place in the Plate semis.

n Rossall Under-12s made a glorious start to their Sevens season in the Audenshaw School tournament, winning the plate competition.

They started with a defeat to Crossley Heath, who would go on to contest the final of the main competition, despite opening the scoring with a fine solo effort by Chase Mills. Rossall grew in confidence and won through to the plate competition, beating West Hill School from Manchester by three tries to one in a tense semi-final.

The boys saved their best performance until last, winning the final against the host school with an excellent defensive display and four tries from man of the match Harrison Ardron.

n Arnold Under-13s contested the King Edward VII and Queen Mary’s Sevens and found themselves in the same group as eventual finalists Lancaster RGS and Altrincham GS

Lancaster were far too strong, though Arnold scored two good tries, but the game against tournament winners Altrincham was very even. Trailing 7-0 at half-time, Arnold camped in the Altrincham half for most of the second period but could not breach strong defence.

Arnold improved with every match and won their next five, finishing third in the group and qualifying for the plate competition.

A try in the dying seconds by Ellis Whorlton-Jones sealed a 21-19 victory over Rossall.

St Bees were beaten 26-5, with Jamie Bamber on fire, and then swamped Hutton GS 31-5, playing their best rugby of the day.

Against Bolton School in the semi-finals, Arnold led 10-0 at half-time but Bolton struck back with a try. But then Ben Pearson and Matthew Barrett set up tries for Sam Royle, Ellis Whorlton-Jones and Tom Riley to seal a 31-12 win.

The final was a rematch between Arnold and Rossall, who beat KEQMS emphatically in the other semi. Rossall scored first but Arnold hit back to win 24-7. Riley, Royle and outstanding scrum-half Matthew Barrett scored the tries.

n Arnold Under-13s were in action again in the Birkenhead Sevens, reaching the quarter-finals. They beat the host school 35-14 with a hat-trick by Ellis Whorlton-Jones and two tries from Sam Royle.

Cheadle Hulme were beaten 24-12 but Sandbach School proved too good, winning 28-0. Rydal were then beaten 40-0 as Jamie Bamber, Matthew Barrett and Ben Pearson all scored and Whorlton-Jones bagged three more.

Then in an epic quarter-final against Wirral GS, Arnold lost 14-12 with a conversion the difference in a pulsating match.

n Arnold Under-14s reached the semi-finals of the Rydal 7s.

They beat Colwyn Bay 34-12 but lost to Manchester GS 20-10, despite having the majority of the possession. Another loss to St Ambrose, 24-12, was followed by a good win against Birkenhead School by the same score. Arnold finished joint-second in their group and won through on points difference only to find Stonyhurst College, who won 24-10, too strong.