It was a brisk Autumn morning as schools from across the borough descended upon Southend Rugby Club for the annual tag rugby tournament. There was an air of anticipation as each team sized each other up in the pre-group gathering, each looking to gain the psychological advantage on their potential opponents.
Porters Grange were drawn into group D – perhaps a prelude to the determination that would be shown by the team throughout the day. With the battle lines drawn, the teams drilled in the arts of attack and defence, the first whistle blew in the match against Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School. Porters showing much early promise, sweeping into a 2-1 lead. Some costly errors prevented Porters from stretching the lead further, until a last gasp try from the opposition led to a draw in the first group game. Porters snatching a draw from the jaws of victory.
Following this came two close losses, the first by a mere try against Saint Georges Primary. The team showing their attacking guile but defensive frailties in a heart-breaking 5-4 loss. The team had to rally for their decisive group game against Thorpedene Primary…
In what became a back and forth, edge of the seat war of attrition, attacks were snuffed out by defences on both sides. With the game deadlocked, and a draw seeming inevitable, Porters turned on the style. A wonderful flowing attack led to the breakaway try from Bailey Rae Smith (the only Year Five pupil in the squad) who showed the turning skill of a house fly to dart over the whitewash for the decisive match winning try.
Having finished third in our group, Porters progressed into the second group stage, where in rain soaked conditions, the team performed valiantly against the early tournament favourites Bournes Green, who showed incredible pace and slick passing to run in several tries. The team displayed great spirit in defeat, showing maturity that belied their years in congratulating the victors.
The team finished the day with smiles on their faces, having behaved impeccably and displaying some excellent attacking and defensive rugby. A huge thank you to all parents who came to support and thank you to the team. Rugby’s core values are about respect - and in this regard the team were certainly all winners on the day.