Shrewsbury School

Impressive start to the new rugby season

Monday 14 January 2019

The rugby season started in earnest on Saturday 12th January with a block fixture versus Birkenhead School.

The 1st XV set off out of the blocks flying. In the first 15 minutes of the game, the forwards attacked through effective pod work, offering plenty of ball to our electric backline to enable some impressive tries. The first from Felix Kenyon-Smith (S) came from a destructive Bilal Khan (I) run down the right-hand wing, with a second added by Harry Remnant (Ch) after fluid play down the left.

The Birkenhead team were being run ragged, and when Remnant added another to move the score to 17-0 it looked as though this was going to be an easy run out. However, Shrewsbury somewhat took their foot off the pedal, and as Birkenhead started to focus on their large forward pack, they grew in confidence and began to apply pressure. With the penalty count rising, Shrewsbury found themselves under pressure by the end of the first half, and a strong driving maul from Birkenhead put the score at 17-5 by half time.

After the break, Shrewsbury continued to make mistakes, with handling errors ruining a number of try-scoring opportunities, which kept Birkenhead in the game. Another Birkenhead score, and at 17-10 everything was to play for going into the last 15 minutes of the game. Still the handling errors continued, and it wasn’t until the forwards decided to pick and drive that we were able to contain the opposition pack, and Tom Plaut (S) scooted over from short range to finish off the match.

Even in the face of missed opportunities, a final score of 24-10 was still a good win against a spirited defensive display from Birkenhead, who had worked hard to contain the Shrewsbury backline. Man of the Match was Mark Pangin (SH), with another dogged display from a player who never stops running.

On the first run out for the 2nd XV it was a very strong showing. The forwards dominated up front with powerful counter-rucking and play through the middle of the park. The first try was put over by Igor Sizov (I) on his debut! Our back line was explosive, with Frank Mansell (PH) coordinating the waves of attack effectively, making it impossible for the opposition to contain. A 55 – 5 win was a strong start to the season, which bodes well for the rest of term.

The U15s were up against a very strong side, with a physical pack. It took them a while to get back into playing, which is always tough against opponents who have already played a term’s rugby. By half-time the side were 26-5 down, but as Shrewsbury started to learn from the match, they were able to put together more effective phase play. Coming out of the blocks in the second half, Shrewsbury cut better lines and developed more cohesion, scoring another two tries to bring parity to the second half. With a final score line of 19-48, the players showed excellent attitude, and this will no doubt lead to greater success as they move through the term. Tries from Louis Graham (Rt), Sam Crossley (Ch) & Judah Wainwright (O), with Oli Clark add two conversions.

This was the U14s’ very first fixture. The U14As found it hard going in the first half, playing against physically larger opposition who already had a term under their belt. Despite valiant defence, we gave up too many turn-overs in the first half from which Birkenhead were able to run in five tries and add two conversions. However, when we protected the ball and didn’t give up turn-overs we showed we could match Birkenhead in most areas.

The second half was very different story. Shrewsbury thwarted most Birkenhead attacks with some great defence and dramatically reduced the number of turn-overs. Even when Birkenhead did get past Shrewsbury’s first line of defence a try saving tackle from William Taylor playing at 15 kept the match very tight. Some great pressure from the Shrewsbury side, midway through the second half, resulted in a series of Birkenhead errors with John Anthony Leigh-Livingstone (O) going over for our first score – and earn the man-of-the-match award. A very encouraging second half display with the team captained by William Goodall (Rt) & ‘Pack Leader’ George Stanford Davis (O).

The U14Bs kicked off their season with a fantastic 50-5 win over Birkenhead, where they showed incredible skill, courage, and team work. Shrewsbury dominated the first half as Birkenhead struggled to get the ball out of their 22m for the majority of the first 25 minutes. Two first half tries a piece from forwards Ed Scott (Rt) and Bill Harris (Rt) set the tone of the match. In the second half Shrewsbury grew in confidence and began to pass the ball more with the coming more into the game. Archie Barlow (R) at number 10, Johnny Fielden (Ch) at full-back, and Daniel Cushnie (I) on the wing each ran over well worked tries. A further three tries from Bill Harris capped off an incredible individual performance from the number 8. A great start to the season, much potential for the season ahead.

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