News & Events
We are Grove Boys!
Woodhouse Grove School rugby has enjoyed possibly its greatest moment after the success of the Senior 7’s team at the HSBC Rosslyn Park National Schools Open Sevens Championship.
The Rosslyn Park Sevens is the annual highlight in the schools rugby calendar. There were 24 groups of 5 teams in the competition with just the top school in each group qualifying for the knock-out stages. Woodhouse were drawn in what was known as the ‘Group of Death’, containing 3 academy colleges of three professional clubs. Henley College, the academy of London Wasps, Ivybridge College the academy of the South west-clubs Exeter Chiefs and Cornish Pirates and Filton College, the academy of Bristol Rugby Club.
The first group game on Thursday saw the Grove team kick-off against Henley College where a 19-7 victory was secured. Next up were Filton, which was a disappointing game where we only held the score back in the second half ending 21-12 to Filton. The third group game was against Peter Symonds College. We needed a win, but we also knew that in order to stand any chance of progressing we needed to score some points. And points we scored with a fantastic 52-0 victory being secured. This meant that going into our last game we needed to beat Ivybridge and score 3 converted tries or 20 points. This is exactly what happened (20-12) and scenes of great joy were seen on the pitch and on the sideline. Woodhouse Grove had won the ‘Group of Death’ and among the non-academy schools we were the toast of the competition.
Friday we would play the winners of another group, with the winners moving into the top 12 nationally and the loser moving into a plate competition for positions 13-24. Our opposition in this qualifying match was City of London Freeman’s School; the Grove boys started fast and achieved a good 17-0 victory. This meant that we would play in a quarter final group against Hampton College and St Joseph’s College Ipswich. Against Hampton the Grove defence was immense and was rewarded by a famous 12-7 victory. This now meant that a victory against St. Josephs College would mean that the Grove would be in the top 4 of the biggest sevens competition in the world. This is exactly what happened; as the energy of the Woodhouse team in defence forced turnovers which were well exploited to see the Grove run out 21-12 victors.
The task was to get no easier with the news that Hartpury College, the academy of Gloucester Rugby Club would be our semi-final opponents. In this semi-final the Woodhouse boys flew out of the traps and raced into a 10-0 lead at the break, Hartpury came back well and scored two tries to equalise. The second try was converted from the touchline, and many Grove hearts sank. We were 12-10 behind with just one minute to play. Breaking from their own 22 the Grove team worked with tremendous skill and tenacity leading to a historic try being scored to secure the biggest result in the school’s history and a place in the National Final, 15-12.
The final would be against another powerhouse, Sedbergh. What a game it was, with Woodhouse missing a chance to score after a dominant start only to see the Sedbergh team break and run the length of the pitch to lead 7-0. The remainder of the match was ferocious as both schools gave as good as they got. In the end, the Grove team could not get an equalising score and the title went to Sedbergh, 7-0.
Nevertheless, this will go down in the history of the school as one of our proudest moments and in a competition which has all of the school and academy powerhouses in it; for a team which had 11 out of 12 players who have only ever attended the School, the scale of the achievement should not be underestimated. Well done boys, you have done us proud, Grove boys through and through…….