On Saturday 7 October, 101 pupils and 11 staff from Wisbech Grammar School travelled to London to face Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in a block set of seven fixtures. The day was rounded off with a trip to Richmond Athletic Ground to watch the second oldest rugby club in England, Richmond, take on Yorkshire Carnegie.
Played in the shadows of Twickenham, the block fixtures began with the U12A, U12B, U13A and the Greyhounds kicking off at 10am, the tiered fixture list then allowed those pupils watch as the U14As and U15As when they kicked off an hour later, before the whole school watched as the 1st XV took on Cardinal Vaughan in an exciting game of running rugby.
The 1st XV game saw Will Gowler score a hat-trick of tries, with George Lemon and Frazer Brown both scoring a brace and Bradley Hutler and Jack Trundley both adding their own scores. Oliver Mann had a great day with the boot, kicking 8 from 9, leading to the 1st XV running out 61-12 winners. The 1st XV played some exceptional rugby, with the pick of the tries coming as forwards Jack Clingo and Henry Mair combined to create the line break before Trundley was set free before offloading to George Lemon on the left-hand side. Scored from 60 meters out, the try was just reward for the ambition and execution of the team in gold and red hoops.
After the fixtures, all the pupils and staff headed down the road to Richmond Athletic Ground to be part of a 2000 strong crowd supporting the home side. With Richmond running out 31 - 15 victors, their 1st XV Captain invited the pupils onto the pitch to have a photograph with the squad and sign autographs.
Head of Rugby, Alex Laybourne, said:
This is always an excellent trip, it allows the 1st XV to show their support and help coach the younger teams coming through the School, whilst allowing the younger pupils to watch the 1st XV and see that they are aspiring to. Before the 1st XV game, the senior pupils talked about their experiences on this trip and how it has inspired them, and they want to do the same for the new group of youngsters coming through the School. The day is a great showcase of the strength of the school community alongside the role that the rugby teams play in that community; the 1st XV pupils were particularly impressive today as role models both on and off the field.