Dr Challoner’s Grammar School Year 10 rugby team were crowned Nat West Schools Cup Under-15 Vase Champions at Twickenham on 16th March 2016. Luker Rowe sponsors the boy’s rugby team and Managing Director, Chris Luker, was there to support the team at Twickenham.
It was a very exciting match and the perfect end for an incredible season for the Year 10 rugby team. James Tunney, the 6’2″ number 8 who doesn’t turn 15 until July, scored a hat-trick to beat Gloucester’s Sir Thomas Rich School 19-10. He had missed most of the season due to an ankle injury and then concussion but returned to the pitch to lead his team to a momentous victory. He said “Playing at Twickenham is incredible, there were amazing scenes. To celebrate we are having a team meal afterwards, and I’m sure there will be some parties.”
The journey to Twickenham started with a narrow away loss to Lord Williams’s School with a score of 23-24. This was enough to seed Dr Challoner’s into the NatWest Vase competition. The first game was at home to a team from Parmiter’s School, Garston. Dr Challoner’s dominated this game winning 64-7.
Next was the Windsor Boy’s School, another home match. This game was a bit tougher but again Dr Challoner’s secured a convincing win 35-5.
Reading School was the next match drawn. They had beaten Dr Challoner’s last year but the team weren’t phased and won 46-0.
The next opponents were Desborough College. Dr Challoner’s were simply too strong for their team winning easily 50-0.
An away match next against Dauntsey’s College, an independent school in the heart of Wiltshire. During the second half Dr Challoner’s strong defensive play secured a win of 31-0. This meant they were now down to the last 16 schools in the country and the regional final.
Reaching the Regional Final was a great achievement but Dr Challoner’s were not planning on giving up now. Their opponents were Clifton College. They played in driving rain and secured the lead early on going on to win 32-0. This was a momentous event in its own right for Dr Challoner’s rugby as no other team had ever reached the last 8 teams in the country before.
The quarter final took them to Manchester Grammar School who fought back well to Dr Challoner’s attack. The final score being 28-10 meaning they had reached the semi-final at Allianz Park, home of the Saracens, for the first time in the school’s history.
The semi-final was against Bridgewater High School, a formidable side who looked tough to beat on paper. Again Dr Challoner’s started as the stronger side. However, during the last 15 minutes of the first half Bridgewater started putting pressure on with some tough attacks from their forwards. The final score was 41-14 taking Dr Challoner’s to the final at Twickenham.
Reaching the national final was an incredible achievement, and the whole school (21 coaches) went to watch at the famous Twickenham Stadium. As the team walked through the Lion’s Gate entrance (where England famously enters the stadium) they were met by a crowd of parents. As the team ran out onto the pitch from the tunnel they were greeted with a huge roar from the crowd.
Dr Challoner’s scored first and settled into a good rhythm with the support of their whole school in the stands. Janes Tunney scored a brilliant try in the corner after 12 minutes before Monty Weatherall, pushing his nerves aside, kicked well from the touchline to add an extra two points, giving Challoner’s a seven points lead. Again, Dr Challoner’s kept the lead and the pressure on. However, as the second half started Sir Thomas’ Rich’s Grammar School game out all guns blazing forcing Dr Challoner’s to defend strongly. The Tommies scored to make it 14-10 to Dr Challoner’s. The team fought back and James Tunney scored, off a scrum, for his last in a fantastic hat trick. This culminated in his outstanding man of the match performance, showing that he certainly has a bright future in the game. The whole school celebrated around Twickenham Stadium and as the team walked up through the crowds to lift the trophy it was a very emotional experience for players, supporters, staff and parents alike.
Luker Rowe is proud to support rugby at Dr Challoner’s and would like to congratulate the team on their incredible success.
For further details see the articles on the Daily Telegraph website and the Dr Challoner’s Grammar School website.