Captain Jack Maplesden insists there were more positives than negatives as Woodhouse Grove School claimed the Open Plate title at the Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens.
The 18-year-old led Woodhouse Grove’s first team out of the Open group stage unbeaten, however in the qualification match to reach the Cup knock-out stage they came unstuck.
They lost 17-14 to John Fisher School but all was not lost and placed in the Plate competition they went through another group stage unbeaten to reach the semi-finals.
Woodhouse Grove defeated Adams Grammar School 24-12 and then Sedbergh School 24-21 in the final to leave the 75th anniversary of the Rosslyn Park Sevens with the Plate trophy.
Making the result even sweeter was that Woodhouse Grove lost to Sedbergh in the Open Cup final 12 months ago and skipper Maplesden admitted that made up for the John Fisher defeat.
“It is a shame it is not the Cup but we did well. We were quite disappointed not to be in the Cup after how well we had played,” said Maplesden.
“But we all did well to bounce back and win the Plate. To finish my school rugby career in that way, you can’t ask for a better way.
“It was my fourth time and once again it was a great set up and I really enjoyed it. It was a repeat of last year’s Open final so it is nice to get one back on Sedbergh.
“Even though we progressed further in the actual competition last year we have never come away with a trophy, so it was definitely my greatest year.”
Woodhouse Grove also fielded teams in the Colts and Junior competitions at the Rosslyn Park Sevens but didn’t make it out of the group stages in either.
They were joined in London by Bradford Grammar School whose three teams suffered the same fate but Sam Melville, who featured for the team in the Festival competition, still left buzzing.
“It was amazing. It was my third tournament and it never ceases to amaze me. There are so many different schools and different shirt colours and a lot of different lads, which is nice to see,” he said.
“It has been going 75 years and it is impressive how they’ve managed to keep it going at such a high standard. There’s a lot of pride coming down here and wearing the school colours.”
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