The club intended to gently dip its toe into age group 7’s rugby at The Ultra Rugby, Regional 7’s championships at Winchester RFC on Sunday 13th May. Instead The Teddington Greyhounds U14's made a huge splash.
Apart from the World famous Rosslyn Park National Schools 7’s there is very little age group 7’s rugby available for club and school 7’s specialists to play. From this obvious gap in the rugby market an idea was developed by Antlers U14’s manager John Dunlop who then set about to pull together a 7's squad using players from the club together with some invited talent from other local clubs and schools.
With some expert coaching by 7’s coaching specialist Matt Searle (who is also one of the Teddington U14’s coaches) the idea was for this Barbarians style team to enter a couple of high quality summer 7’s tournaments around the country and give the players some experience of playing and competing against some of the best age group 7's teams around. It would also give the players the opportunity to catch the eye of the National 7’s Academy selectors who organise or attend all the regional age group 7’s tournaments.
The U14 team badged as The Teddington Greyhounds entered their first ever tournament last weekend and it really couldn’t have gone any better. On a scorching hot day at Winchester RFC the squad with only 4 training sessions under their belts took on some of the strongest 7’s outfits in the region. The day went as follows:
V Hungerford RFC – WON
V Colchester RFC – WON
V Ellingham & Ringwood RFC – WON
Cup Semi Final:
V Battersea Ironsides RFC – WON 41-5
V Reading Abbey RFC – WON 17-12 (after extra time)
The whole squad was used during the course of the day, which meant there was just about enough energy left to take on a fit, physical and rapid Reading Abbey team in the final. The final was a real hum-dinger. We were down 12-0 at half time, but the boys wouldn’t give in, they dug deep and fought back to level things off at 12-12 and then had to defend for their lives as the final minute ticked by. The teams couldn’t be separated, so a lung bursting additional 5 minutes of extra time had to be played. The boys battled for everything and showed huge depths of character and with a minute to go some slick handling and straight running breached the Reading defence and the match winning try was scored. Brilliant stuff.
In their maiden tournament the team won every game, scored 187 points and conceded only 38, even beating the reigning Champions on their way to the final. The boys played some superb rugby and this has now put many of them very much on the National 7's Academy's radar, so fingers crossed that some of them will be given the opportunity to progress in this fabulous and rapidly growing version of the game.
Next up is the South West Regional 7’s which is being held at Cleve RFC (near Bristol) on Sunday 3rd June. This is another high profile tournament, but this time The Teddington Greyhounds will be on everyone’s radar.
The Teddington Greyhounds U14's Squad:
Updated 22:50 - 21 May 2018 by Gareth Cross
Connor Cross – Teddington RFC
Kelvin Doffour – Ealing RFC
Fraser Dunlop – Teddington RFC
Ben Freer - London Scottish FC
Finn Gardiner – Teddington RFC
Emad Khan – Hampton School
Ethan Knight – Wimbledon RFC
Murdock Lock - Wellington College
Seb McGill – Teddington RFC
Stephano Nita – Teddington RFC
Gregor Paul – Teddington RFC
Matthew Rustomji – Teddington RFC