Freddie Turley XV 31 - 14 Leavers XV

The traditional end of term match between this year's SPS 'Upper 8th' and a team from those who left St Paul's in June 2018 took place at the magnificent Old Pauline Club ground in Thames Ditton on the Saturday after the end of term. As ever it was a fast, open and entertaining match played in an excellent spirit. Freddie Turley, captain of last year's school 1st XV, should be congratulated on assembling such a talented squad.

The School team began well and dominated the early exchanges with captain Dec Thompson to the fore. It was no surprise when they took the lead, Thompson exploiting a gap in the OP's defence to step through for a try. Front-row forward Euan Morrison coolly stroked over the conversion to his evident delight and the surprise of much of the crowd! Back came the 'Old Boys' and after some slick inter-passing winger Joe Wyche crossed the line and went round under the posts to make Max Hart's conversion a formality.

With the game tied at 7-7, both teams maintained their willingness to play open rugby and the game ebbed and flowed. The final score of the first half saw the Old Boys break out of defense, culminating with left-wing Patrick Elway crashing over in the corner. Half-time came with the game well poised at 12-7 to the Turley XV.

But just as they had at the start of the game, the St Paul's team started the second half strongly and it wasn't long before they regained the lead with Sam Beverley diving under the posts after an excellent passage of play. Another successful conversion took the School team back in front at 14-12. More pressure set up a strong position in the Old Boy's 22 metre zone, but a knock on gave the scrum feed to the Old Boys. Then came the crucial play of the match as the senior team broke out of defence. Jasper Green did not take a pass cleanly but had the presence of mind to 'knee' the ball forward before it hit the ground and he could re-gather. A couple of passes later and winger Wyche was clear to reclaim a lead which the Old Boys would never relinquish. At 14-17 down the school pressed again, but in the end experience told and two late scores by fly-half Max Hart, after a surging run by second-row Nick Pymont, and full-back Andrei Williams, both converted by Hart, gave the scoreline a slightly lopsided look. Final score 31-14 to the Turley XV.

Thanks to James Blurton for bringing the school team, some of whom made the journey after significant end-of-term and birthday celebrations the night before, and to Freddie Turley for getting together such a strong squad. Most of the team had won the match last year as school boys and they now returned to beat the Leavers team in another entertaining game. Thanks too to referee Tom Bliss who also returned after taking charge last year and refereed with sympathy throughout.

After the game players, families and friends were entertained to lunch by the Old Pauline Football Club (the 'official' name of the rugby club which was founded in 1871, the same year as the RFU). OP Club President Rob Smith reiterated that the club hopes to see many of the players back playing rugby with their school friends in the years ahead. OPFC 1st team captain Tom Roberts then presented 'Player of the Match' club ties to the game's outstanding players, the fly-halves of the two teams, Max Hart for the 'Old Boys' and Dec Thompson for the school.

John Howard



Freddie Turley XV - 31 (Tries - Patrick Elway, Joe Wyche (2), Max Hart, Andrei Williams; Cons - Max Hart x 3)

St Paul's Leavers XV - 14 (Tries - Dec Thompson, Sam Beverley: Cons - Euan Morrison x2)

Ref Tom Bliss


OPs: Andrei Williams, Joe Wyche, Raef Jackson, Ben Smith, Patrick Elway, Max Hart, Freddie Turley (captain); Roma Rodriguez, Julian Davies, Will Allen, Nick Pymont, Carl Lottig, Charlie Howard, Jasper Green, Will McGowan, Arthur Jenkyn- Jones

SPS: Sam Ritblat, Josh Zillig, Alex Scott, Jamie Abbott, Matt Mason, Dec Thompson, Rory Tegner; Euan Morrison, Alberto Chiesa, Eddie Kembery, Charlie Averre, Sam Beverley, Ben Reineker, Edan Baines, James Josephson, Aidan Ko, Nile Shaw

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