With 2017 underway attention begins to turn to the School 7s Season, and the draws for the early season tournaments are beginning to roll in.
Taking place on Sunday 5th February the Shiplake 7s tournament brings together some of the top teams from around the country this year, certainly judging by 15-a-side form.
Sixteen teams will compete for the Cracknell Cup, won last year by the outstanding Bedford side. The format sees the sides split into four groups of four, with the winners going into the Cup semi finals. The winners play in the final for the Cracknell Cup, while the losers meet in the Plate final.
Second placed sides go through to the Shield semi finals, the winners meet in the Shield final, losers in the Bowl final. Third placed sides meet in the Trophy semi finals, with the winners playing in the Trophy final. Fourth placed sides in the group meanwhile meet in the Vase semi finals, with the winners meeting in the Vase final.
Bedford, who picked up the first silverware of the season by winning last week’s Seaford 7s, are drawn in Group B, where they will face the hosts, Shiplake College, as well as Caterham, and St Paul’s, whom Bedford needed a last play try in order to beat in the 15s season, which ought to make for a spicy encounter in Group B.
The Plate was last year picked up by Seaford College, and they are drawn in a tricky Group A alongside a very strong St John’s Leatherhead side, a New Hall side packed with Saracens Academy talent, and a Hurstpierpoint College side who are on the up.
Group C contains three of last year’s silverware winners, Abingdon picked up the shield, with Cheltenham College collecting the Bowl, and Oakham winning the Vase. Just having those three in a group makes for an exciting looking series of games given their exploits in the long format of the game last term, but throw in the NatWest Champions Trophy winners, Tonbridge, and you have a group that looks perilously tough and deliciously exciting for spectators.
Group D contains the last of the 2016 trophy winners, Worth, who were winners of the Trophy. They are joined by Radley College, a strong looking Eastbourne College, and a Haileybury side who enjoyed a truly excellent fifteen-a-side season, and were outstanding at Seaford last week, reaching the final.
Across the board it is a strong field, reflecting just how much this tournament has grown over the last few years, and it should make for an exciting day of rugby.
The action kicks off at 10.00, with the first finals, the Trophy and Vase, taking place at 15.20. The Cracknell Cup final takes place at 16.00 on pitch one, while the Plate final kicks off at the same time on pitch two.
|2017 Shipalke 7s Draw – Sunday 5th February|
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|St John’s||St Paul’s||Abingdon||Eastbourne|
|New Hall||Shiplake College||Cheltenham||Radley College|
Cracknell Cup: Bedford