Sussex Schools held the first annual Girls rugby 7s at Pulborough RFC on Wednesday April 5th. The tournament, consisting of both U15 and U18 age groups was well supported by the local schools, giving opportunity to nearly 100 girls in the process.
Worthing went into the competition on the back of a successful campaign at Rosslyn Park National School 7s where they reached the semifinals, only to be beaten by eventual winners Hartpury College. They had set out a number of process goals to support their campaign in order to build and improve upon recent past performances.
In the first game against Collyers, Worthing came out of the blocks with a bang scoring a number of tries in the first couple of minutes. Notable scores from Ella Pinkney and Isobel Mayhew, set the standard for a one sided game with the eventual score ending up 39-0. Collyers were certainly determined but were in this encounter out played by a ever strengthening Worthing side. It was clear that the heightened level of AoC and AASE competition the Worthing girls had regularly been exposed to would give them a substantial advantage in this competition.
The next game was against Steyning grammar school, which on paper were the two strongest under 18s teams in the competition . Steyning were the 1st to score with a break through the middle, however Worthing kept their nerve to then score 3 converted tries of there own. One of which was a superb team try which Catherine Wakeford, who actually left Steyning to improve her rugby and academic skills, setting up Roberta Haywood to score under the posts. Similar to the 1st half, Steyning were the first to score in the second half, however Worthing soon regained their composure with some great defence and a superb try from Tatum Gabriel, which put the score out of reach for Steyning. Worthing weathered the Steyning storm and then set about executing the processes they had worked so hard during training in the previous few weeks. While Steyning had a number of competent and able rugby players it was the extra technical, tactical awareness and conditioning of the Worthing side that ultimately proved the difference. Final score 31-17.
The last match for Worthing was against Peter Symonds College, from Hampshire, who were invited to the competition. Throughout the season Worthing and Peter Symonds had played numerous times with Worthing coming out on top. This game was no exception! Symonds were always going to bring energy and tenacity to the game challenging Worthing in a number of areas. However it was the greater rugby understanding gained during the season that helped Worthing eventually ease to a comfortable victory. Some great performances from Nadia Bral, Zsuszi Overton and especially Ella Sezen, who scored two wonderful solo tries, meant the game was never in doubt with Worthing winning 24-5.
This was an excellent tournament organised and run by Mark Rugman and his Worthing College students on behalf of Sussex Schools. The level of play throughout was a credit to the girls and young women from all teams, showing the level of talented individuals throughout the county. This something each school and indeed Sussex should be very proud of.
Worthing Coach Sam Hewick said “to win the first Sussex schools sevens competition is a great achievement, the girls have worked incredibly hard this season and in this mini season running up to and including Rosslyn and today.” he continued “the young women in our programme can be justifiably proud of their efforts thus far.”
Mark Rugman (Worthing Coach and tournament organiser) added “This is recognition for all the work this group and others have put in this season. We are still building towards the National Finals on May 10th so there is plenty of work still to be done.”