Sports Reports – 18th April 2016

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Rugby County Cup Finals 
U18 Final 
On Monday 21st March, the First XV played their final match of the season in the County Cup Final against Leicester Grammar School. Playing the match under floodlights with a nearly full strength squad and with a big crowd of supporters, the boys did themselves proud. In the first-half, the teams were evenly matched with neither side preparing to back down. Leicester opened the scoring with a well-taken try. This stiffened the resolve of the Ratcliffe boys who were being extremely competitive at the breakdown, working tirelessly in both attack and defence. The scrums and line-outs were working well and the back-line was looking sharp. With continued pressure towards the end of the half after a number of strong phases, Seb Dewhirst sniped from the base of the ruck to score under the posts, with Will Harkness adding the conversion. Unfortunately, the euphoria and sheer pleasure of the try led to the hosts scoring a quick try shortly afterwards. The score at half-time was 14 – 7 with the side upbeat owing to the equilibrium of the contest so far. The second-half was an equally tight affair, though some injuries and a lack of match sharpness were taking its toll. The hosts scored two further tries after some strong line-breaks, though some of the younger Ratcliffe squad members were now stepping up to the mark having come off the bench. The Ratcliffe boys were to have the final say of the game by scoring in the last play of the match with a well-taken try by Edward Cooper who scored after relentless pressure by the forwards and a lovely long pass from Richard Ward. All in all, it was a pleasing way to go out and all of the squad can firmly hold their heads high after what was undoubtedly their finest performance of the season. Final score was 24 – 14 to Leicester Grammar. Joint Men of the Match were Charlie Pickering and Seb Dewhirst.

U13 Final 
Also on Monday 21st March the U13s played their eagerly awaited Rugby County Cup Final against Loughborough Grammar School at Syston Rugby Club. Ratcliffe started the game strongly, taking an early lead through well-worked tries from Connor Foster and Fin Back, after a superb break by Fin from his own half. Loughborough came back strongly with two well-taken tries but Ratcliffe hit back again with excellent work from Tom Page who charged down a Loughborough clearance kick for Fin to pounce on, to score under the posts. All the tries were expertly converted by Tom to leave the half-time score 21 – 12 to Ratcliffe. A very tough second-half saw Ratcliffe having to defend for long periods of time. Eventually the barriers broke and Loughborough scored again to take the Ratcliffe lead down to just one score. Sam Seidu made a superb break from a good clearance kick by Fin but was hauled down agonisingly short of the try line. The last 10 minutes saw superb Ratcliffe defence against a remorseless attack and Loughborough were eventually to score in the last two minutes to clinch a 24 – 21 victory in a thrilling game. Congratulations to the whole Ratcliffe team on their outstanding efforts throughout the whole cup run and in the Final itself.

U12 County Festival 
In the U12 County Rugby Festival Ratcliffe were placed in the top group pitting themselves against some of the strongest teams in the County. A tough start saw us play against a powerful and well organised Loughborough Grammar team. Despite some excellent Ratcliffe tackling, Loughborough were always in command of the game and ran out convincing winners by 6 tries to nil. Louis Fletcher was Man of the Match for his powerful running and heroic defence. In the next game Ratcliffe performed much better against De Lisle, winning the game 4 tries to 1. Ratcliffe started to pass and off-load the ball much better and three tries went to the elusive runner and Man of the Match, Xabier Henderson. In a very tough final game against Hinckley Academy, the boys narrowly lost 4 tries to 2 in an even contest. Some missed Ratcliffe tackles saw strong Hinckley runners break through to score a number of tries, but a good try from Daniel McGunnigle kept us in the game. Ratcliffe showed great character at the end to finish on a high with an excellent try scored by Louie Fletcher. Well done to the boys on their hard work but they have much preparation to do before the start of next season. Louie Fletcher and Xavier Henderson were Men of the Tournament for their excellent efforts throughout.

Leicestershire County Rugby Squads 
Congratulations to John Sommerville and Luke Gyesi-Appiah who have both been selected for Leicestershire County Rugby U18s for next season.

Sam Nightingale, 
Boys’ Sports Captain. 

 

Tennis 
The senior tennis girls had their first fixture of the year against Oakham in the first round of the Aberdare Cup. The girls each played a singles match and then paired up to play doubles during the afternoon. There were some great matches across the board, with some lovely rallies and most importantly Ratcliffe winning the majority of the points. Some excellent play from Eleanor Shaw enabled her to win her first set 6 – 0 easily, while Rebecca Astill, Sibella Chew and Sarah Astill all played brilliantly, each winning their singles matches. This meant that Oakham could not beat us going into the doubles games, so the girls could relax and really enjoy playing together. Ratcliffe again came away on top winning both double matches. Well done to the girls who took part as they were all a credit to the School. They now move on to the next round of the cup where they will face tough opposition in Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth College.

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Hockey 
Congratulations to Olivia Back and Molly Edwards who played for Leicester Hockey Club in the National U16 Club Finals. The games were all played at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in the Olympic Park. It was a tremendous competition, with only the top teams in the country playing, with our girls finishing in a very creditable 5th place.Sibella Chew,
Girls’ Sports Captain.