We were never supposed to be at the tournament on Monday 29 January 2024, but because of the team’s ability and sportsmanship we were once again put forward to attend. A real testament to their characters.
We arrived early to allow a training session beforehand, ensuring the boys knew what was expected of them. We were one of 4 schools in attendance and with the other schools qualifying through the earlier tournaments we had a huge mountain to climb.
We played 3 games of around 13 minutes each. I had spoken to the organisers before we kicked off to gain some information on the other teams and who we needed to watch out for. Carr Manor seemed to be the one school we needed to be cautious of as they are a well drilled team and have been playing some very good rugby in recent times.Our first game happened to be Carr Manor, I gave very clear instructions to the team and laid out expectations from all of the players.
Despite playing what would possibly be our toughest game first, our boys came out ready to prove who they were. Jack Hood scored within the first few minutes from a fantastic offload from James Kaba, giving the team a huge confidence boost. We ended up winning this game 5-3, dismantling the top contenders for the Leeds & Hunslet plate.
We played Leeds Trinity Academy next, a team which our players have friendships with out of school. Drawing this match 5-5 showed that tonight we were on a mission and knew what we needed to do. This also meant we were heading into our final game with the possibility of walking away victorious.
Garforth, our old rivals from the last tournament, set out and scored a very well worked try leaving us stunned. Quickly James stepped up with an amazing run, beating 7 defenders to respond with a try of our own. We ended this game 3-3. Leaving us and Garforth in the top spot, which would come down to total points scored throughout the night.
As we sat waiting for the results, it was shared that this had been the most competitive night of finals so far, displaying some fantastic rugby. Trinity Academy came 3rd, Carr Manor came 2nd and joint at the top, with no way to separate us, Mount St Mary’s and Garforth Academy won the Leeds and Hunslet plate final.
I know I often say this, but… The attitudes of all 15 players I took with me on the evening is the exact reason I continue to give my time to the MSM rugby team. They were a pleasure to spend my evening with. I set them the task as we arrived in Kirkstall to go out and prove what MSM rugby teams are capable of and they absolutely did that. To go from bottom of the group, be invited to the final and come joint first, is a testament to each and every student that came with attended. I cannot pick a stand out player as they all did so well. However, please enjoy the pictures of Jack Hood, tonight’s captain, holding the plate with Garforth’s captain.
Unbelievable night! Mr S Cooper