St Benedict’s retain National U21 XVs Rugby title
Over 750 players in UK’s top 15-a-side festival
St Benedict’s Ealing successfully defended the Cup competition at the 14th annual Cronk Cunis Under 21 Festival at the Richmond Athletic Ground on Monday 30th August.
The cup final, in which St Benedict’s defeated 2007 Cup winners Tonbridge 19-7, was the culmination of nine hours of continuous rugby played on seven pitches, mostly in welcome sunshine. A total of 71 matches were played involving some 40 teams, all of them former pupils of some of the country’s leading rugby playing schools.
Some 750 players took part in festival’s five competitions – Cup, Plate, Bowl, Vase and Shield - making this established Under 21 event the biggest festival of one-day 15-a-side adult rugby in the country. Whilst the emphasis is on participation and enjoyment, the standard of rugby also seems to go up every year. Teams came from as far afield as Hull (Hymers College), Altrincham (St Ambrose) and Penrhos (Rydal), confirming the national status of this event.
St Benedict’s had looked likely winners from early in the day but were pushed extremely hard in their semi-final against Brighton, winning 11-6 in a closely fought match. The second semi-final was even closer, with Tonbridge scoring in the dying minutes to overcome Dulwich College 12-11.
The Cup was presented to St Benedict’s captain Rowan Halsall by RFU President Richard Appleby who continued the record of recent RFU presidents in attending this prestigious national event.
In presenting the trophies, Mr Appleby praised the organisation of the festival, now in its 14th year, and the important place it holds in the annual rugby calendar. ‘It is wonderful to see so many young rugby players enjoying the game, renewing old friendships and making new ones’, he said. ‘The organisers of the festival are to be congratulated on another hugely successful and enjoyable event.’
The winners and runners-up of the five U21s competitions were:-
Winners: St Benedict’s, Ealing 19 Runners-up: Tonbridge 7
Winners: Berkhamsted 21 Runners-up Millfield 0
Winners Oratory, Reading 17 Runners-up Portsmouth GS 0
Winners Pangbourne 22 Runners-up Norwich 14
Winners St John’s, Leatherhead 20 Runners-up Hampton 15
The Cronk-Cunis National Under 21 Rugby Festival has become a firm fixture in the rugby calendar and planning has already started for the 2011 event.
A special presentation was made to chief organiser Tim Cunis by RFU President Richard Appleby in recognition of Tim’s outstanding contribution to rugby in developing the Under 21 Festival over the past 14 years. Presentations were also made to the doctors, physios, referees and match officials for their contribution to the success of the day.