The ISRFC Lambs finished their season off in fine style with wins over Worcester Warriors 42 -22 (U18s) and Irish Exiles 17-15 (U16s).
The latter win saw the U16s completed an unbeaten season, with 3 out of 3, and the celebrations for both sides went late into the night as the Lambs celebrated their 11 year anniversary with a Gala Dinner at Loughborough University, an evening that saw them honor players from across a decade of ‘Fast and Free’ Rugby.
It has been a season which has seen many former Lambs players receive further honors, including five England U16s, with Fin Rossitor (2015 U14s) also being named captain as they beat Wales 41-22, Elliot Hall (2015 U18s) representing England Students Rugby League, Sam Hudson (2016 U18s) being selected for England Counties U20s and Jack Maunder (2011 U14s) being selected in Eddie Jones’ England squad. On top of this Raauri Van Raalte (2015 U18s) was selected in the USA U20s squad whilst Alfred Nordgren (2014 and 2015 U18s) played for Sweden.
However, the night was largely about celebrating two very successful seasons for the U16s and U18s, as well as awarding the ‘Player of the Decade’ and ‘Lamb of the Decade’ award, the latter prize for input both on and off the field during their time as a Lambs player.
Lamb of the Decade:
Jacob Poulton (2011 and 2012 captain)
Player of the Decade:
Miles Moorhouse (2014 captain)
England Rugby Travel U16s Player of the Season:
Jack Trundley (Wisbech Grammar School)
England Rugby Travel U18s Player of the Season:
Matt Gallagher (Kirkham Grammar School)
U18s Player’s Player and Captain’s Player:
Tom Wood (Millfield)
U18s Back of the Tour:
Milo Linney (Uppingham)
U18s Forward of the Tour:
Jack Rye (Felsted)
Matt Harris (Berkhamsted) – 2017 Captain.
Earlier in the day the rugby on show had been phenomenal; a real treat for the spectators.
The U18s, fresh from a successful tour to Canada, started with real intent and precision, racing into a 7-0 lead thanks to a try from Sam Howell (Wellingborough).
A catch and drive score by Worcester was followed quickly by an attempt from the Lambs to run it out from the back corner of their own dead ball line. 50 meters later it was only an inch of white line that stopped them scoring one of the tries of the decade by the Lambs, and to make matters worse, Worcester scored from the resulting lineout.
Not to be deterred, the Lambs continued to run everything, and Dan Marsik was on the receiving end of some great Lambs play to score on the half time whistle and send the Lambs in 14-10 ahead.
The second half saw Worcester come out fighting, and two quick tries later the boys in pink were now facing an uphill battle at 14-22 down with only 20 minutes to go. Milo Linney (Uppingham) responded almost immediately with a score off the back of some trademark footwork, before skipper Matt Harris (Berkhamsted) did what he has done so well this season and led by the front, going straight through a ruck before feeding Raef Yewdell (Sherbourne) to put the Lambs back in front.
Further tries for Marsik and Linney meant the Lambs scored 28 unanswered points to secure a 42-22 win. George Finney’s (Trent College) 100% boot and impressive game management, alongside James Peachey’s (Stamford) defence and all round physicality saw them named joint Man of the Match.
The U16s had tough and tight fixture that went right to the wire. In a game that went back and forth and was decided by a single conversion, the spectators were treated to a real spectacle.
Irish Exiles scored first and last in the opening half hour, with Matt Fitzgerald (Shiplake) responding in between. Charlie Cadogan (Whitgift) and Man of the Match Josh Davies (Mount Kelly) looked to have done enough to win it in the second half, before Irish Exiles scored late on to bring the scores to 17-15. The Exiles pushed late into the game but the Lambs held out for a narrow victory in a hard-fought battle of running rugby.
National Director, Alex Laybourne, said after the day:
“Saturday was a truly fantastic day for the Lambs, on and off the field. We had two great results and the atmosphere at the dinner was brilliant, with boys and staff from across the ages in attendance.”
“What was clear to see was the players and staff are very proud of the Lambs ethos and have many fond memories year on year. We are delighted to be able to create positive experiences that include these memories alongside lifelong friendships.”
The whole day was a festival of fantastic, ambitious, running rugby and ultimately those who were there to witness it saw a glimpse of the future of English rugby.
If this seasons success for the Lambs is anything to go by, both with their 16s and 18s as well as their representative successes, then we look forward to another brilliant 11 years (and more!) of Fast and Free rugby!
ISRFC Lambs U18 42-22 Worcester Warriors
ISRFC Lambs U16 17-15 Irish Exiles
ISRFC Lambs U18 v Worcester Warriors
15 Henry Wright (Queen Ethelburga’s)
14 Rafe Yewdall (Sherborne)
13 James Peachey (Stamford)
12 Eddie Jenkinson (Portsmouth Grammar)
11 Milo Linney (Uppingham)
10 George Finney (Trent College)
9 Tobias Allday (Royal Hospital School)
1 Didi Vidal-Adegun (Bishop’s Stortford College)
2 Matthew Gallagher (Kirkham Grammar)
3 Thomas Petty (Trinity)
4 Jack Rye (Felsted)
5 Ben Mallett (Millfield)
6 Guy Whittaker (Hymers College)
7 Tom Wood (Millfield)
8 Matt Harris (Berkhamsted, captain)
Replacements: 16 Alexander Zenda (Pangbourne College), 17 Tommie Collingwood (Denstone College), 18 George Carter (Berkhamsted), 19 Sam Howell (Wellingborough), 20 George Hartson (Wycliffe College), 21 Cedric Hoskyns-Abrahall (Royal Hospital School), 22 Sam Newton (Durham), 23 Francouis Roussow (Royal Hospital School), 24 Jamie Thorley (Cheltenham College), 25 Daniel Marski (Kent College, Canterbury).
ISRFC Lambs U16 v Irish Exiles
James Cherry (Norwich)
George Duggan (Dulwich College)
Sione Funaki (Shebbear College)
Archie Tarbuck (King’s Ely)
Thomas Bloomer (Churcher’s College)
Krishna Lall (Trinity)
Ben Nkrumah (Norwich)
Charlie Short (Shebbear College)
Peter Ryall (KES)
Cameron Flower (Tonbridge)
Alfie Gibson (Millfield)
Ed Pollard (Millfield)
Gregoire Imber (Bishop Stortford College)
Jack Trundley (Wisbech Grammar)
Harry Bureau (Framlingham College)
Alessandro Aliberti (Shebbear College)
Matty Fitzgerald (Shiplake College)
Jude Williams (Caterham)
Josh Davies (Mount Kelly, captain)
Max Shepherd (Berkhamsted)
Mike Purves (Tonbridge)
George Lemon (Wisbech Grammar)
Tega Emore (Norwich)
Charlie Cadogan (Whitgift)
Photos via Jonathan Allday