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Rugby: Year 9 Middlesex Plate Final

Friday 1st December 2017 marked a special day in Fulham Boys School’s short rugby history. As anticipation built throughout the week and with Mr Boswarva’s year 9’s coming off the back of a good third season together in W14; confidence was high . The trip to Saracens’ Allianz Park in north London beckoned as reward for a fruitful cup run. Spearheaded by the accomplished half back pairing of Seni Annon and Ned Watson, and well supported by powerful ball carriers Omari Goodman and Oliver Stirling, winning was a real possibility. Following an inspirational speech from Mr Boswarva and calming words from the Captain, Ned Watson, the boys duly responded from the warm up, looking sharp, focussed, and ready to run out onto the European Champions pitch, awaiting them a competent and dangerous Cardinal Vaughan outfit.

The game began and settled into a very consistent pattern in the opening minutes, with the ebb and flow of possession giving both sides an opportunity to attack and test the opposition defence. Cardinal Vaughan were very competitive at the breakdown, suggesting the battle on the floor would be key to who takes home the silverware. The largest individual threat Cardinal Vaughan posed however was their winger; quick, agile, with a strong fend, a threat FBS would have to negate to stay in the game and allow Watson and Annon to start moving the Cardinal Vaughan forwards from ruck to ruck, dictating territory on the large 4G. The newest member of the FBS team Heaver Faraj was tested on many occasions by the Vaughan veteran, but his tackling was crunching and representative of a rugby player many years his senior.

After a couple of periods of possession each, Stirling broke the deadlock with a strong carry from inside the Cardinal Vaughan 22, hitting punching line off Watson in the midfield, using his strength to ride covering tackles to touch down for the first try of the game. Watson duly nudging the extras between the uprights. This set the tone for the first half as Seni Annon showed his class with two tries, both exhibitions of scrum half opportunism, spotting a weakness in the Cardinal Vaughan defence around the fringe of first the breakdown, and secondly from a scrum won against the head. The second deservedly receiving special mention, scoring from 40m out, evading tackles along his slaloming run to the whitewash, 19-0 at the break.

Half time came and went, with a relatively quiet period of the game following the break. Cardinal Vaughan begun to string phases of possession together, looking dangerous in broken play. Had it not been for the solid defence of Haever Faraj and committed scramble defence of Kai Lau and Harry Layzell, there could have been a nervy conclusion to the game. FBS therefore needed one more try to put the game to bed. Like London busses, two came in quick succession from Mohammed Abdulbhagy and silky centre Harry Adams, the later providing Watson a great attacking outlet and defensive martial all game. As the game was quickly coming to its end, one final try from fullback Kai Lau in broken play off the back of a Fairweather turn over opitimised the resolve and determination FBS showed throughout to make tackles, compete on the floor, run hard, support the ball carrier and celebrate each other’s’ success. 38-0 and the full time whistle blew, Middlesex U13 Plate winners 2017-18.

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