The 1st XV Rugby team played in their fourth consecutive Grand Final but their very first against neighbouring rival King's Christian College. The 4.00pm kick off at Bond University, Friday in Week 8 made for a long and slightly nerve-wracking day.
Game time was highly anticipated for our lads but their nerves certainly showed as the less favoured King's side threw everything at our boys in the first half, forcing some uncharacteristic errors on our behalf. Playing with the wind, the King's pack found themselves hot on attack in the first five minutes of the match. A dart down their blindside was fruitful as they caught the Somerset boys short of numbers and dove over in the left hand corner. The kick went astray and King's found themselves ahead five nil. There was no doubt King's were up for the challenge and the breakdown proved a happy hunting ground for them as they flirted with the rule book, continually disrupting our ball and halting our continuity.
Much of the first half was played in our own half, as we struggled to gain any ascendancy despite having a superb and dominant scrum. Our best scoring chance came in the final minute of the half as our forwards strung some phases together and attacked down the right hand side. It looked likely they may keep it tight and rumble over in the right hand corner but the ball was spun to the backs only for a kick-pass attempt for left winger, Aidan McKeon to bounce unfavourably and the half time whistle to blow.
The message at half time was to remain patient and to use our extensive kicking game to pin Kings down in the left hand corner. We felt that by controlling territory, the cracks would eventually tell and we could capitalise. Once again, King's remained resolute and a few odd refereeing calls left the Somerset boys feeling a little perplexed and frustrated. With 12 minutes left on the clock and hot on attack the pressure finally told and rampaging Tight Head Prop, Charles Pye busted through a split ruck to score 20 metres to the right of the posts. Henry Arbon had a difficult conversion attempt to give Somerset the lead and he duly delivered by striking the ball straight through the uprights, much to the delight of the Somerset crowd.
Seven to five up and with 10 minutes to play the team controlled the kick off and once again plugged King's into the left hand corner which they struggled to exit from. Minutes later a quick tap by Scrumhalf, Sam Dalton saw him go desperately close to scoring under the posts. The ball was recycled to find hard man and Open Side Flanker, Kale Brenssell who bustled his way over the try line. The conversion was made to give our boys a handy 14 to five lead. With some breathing space the team finally felt a little more confident and with the extensive defensive work from the Kings side starting to tell the final icing on the cake was made with Inside Centre, Riley Noon diving over in the left hand corner in the final minute of the game. The final act of the game was a beauty as Henry Arbon hooked his sideline conversion beautifully around to complete his perfect day with the boot. A jubilant Somerset team and bench swamping him as the final whistle blew. Somerset going back to back for the first time in the College’s history, 21 to five.
At the completion of the match, Rhian Stowers was named the Player of the Match and received the Sean Harman Medal and Captain, Will Stoten spoke extremely well thanking all the players, parents, coaches and supporters before raising the APS trophy aloft and kissing it.
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