The cancelation of Dean Close Rugby 7’s Tournament, meant the school’s Senior Rugby 7’s squad travelled to Hereford Cathedral School for the Marches 7’s, as their first competitive outing of the season. Despite this, the boys got off to a positive start, playing well and winning their opening game 26-14 against Monmouth School. Although losing 29-10 in their next game against Sherborne School, they pushed the eventual Cup finalists closer than anybody else in the group stages, with a typically physical and gritty display. In the following game, Millfield starved Dean Close of early possession producing a lesson in restarts and scoring three tries straight away. This left a margin that Dean Close were unable to bridge, meaning that they would be placed in The Bowl for the knockout stages. A solid victory in the quarter final against Hereford Cathedral set up a semi against King Edward VI School, Stratford. A number of injuries during the day saw the minimum number of players available for the last two games. This took its toll with Dean Close conceding late scores in the 26-12 defeat.
Director of Rugby Andrew Stanley praised the players’ efforts but went on to say; “The quality of schools at The Marches, is of the highest order. As a group, the boys realise that when we get it right, we are able to compete and match some of the best schools in the country. The challenge for us now is to be competitive for longer periods by sticking to what we are good at. Results will come of the back of this.”
Following The Marches tournament, there was a short turnaround to the next tournament of the season at Wycliffe College. Dean Close showed that they used their prvious experiences to their advantage, putting in strong performances in their victories against QEH Bristol and Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School. Failure to consolidate early leads in their victories against both Kingswood School and Bristol Grammar School, meant Dean Close had to work hard right throughout their groups matches. In the final, they faced a Sir Thomas Rich’s squad who had been beaten by eventual Marches winners Harrow in the semi final of that competition. The game started at a fast pace with STR scoring two early tries. Dean Close rallied and scored a well-worked try involving the whole team. However, they were unable to contain STR team in the second half.
Dean Close Director of Sport Greg Baber-Williams captured the mood of the players when he said; “The boys are disappointed that not being precise in the latter stages of the group games, didn’t allow them to test a very good Tommies side further in the final.” He went on to add; “However, the boys do have the opportunity learn from these experiences. Not only this season, but with six out of the seven boys in the Final being Lower Sixth pupils, next season too.”