1st XV rugby - SPC 26 d SKC 25
author: Mike Silcock
St Patrick’s College 1st XV 26 d St Kevin’s College 25 - May 18, 2019
Full time: 26 – 25 (HT 7-3)
Try scorers: Ata Seu (2), Kenny O’Connor, Hayce Alama
Conversions: Hayce Alama (3/4)
There are not any more fitting words than those written by our Director of Marketing and Communications Paul Nolan who wrote after this game: "They say rugby is the game played in heaven. Well, today the rugby gods were smiling down on Ballarat as we we hosted a day of great schoolboys rugby against the formidable St Kevin's College. Never had a 1st XV from St Patrick's triumphed over the powerhouse team from Toorak. All that changed today in one of the most nail-biting games imaginable with a final second try and conversion leading the boys in the green, white and blue to a history-making victory.”
I would not be able to describe it any better.
I wrote two weeks ago, after our opening round victory against Marcellin, that I hoped this match would be a belter, however I could not have foreseen what unfolded.
As I reflect upon the enormity of what this group of players has achieved with Saturday’s victory, I have been asked if I could have imagined what occurred. I replied that given it has never previously been achieved it is a little hard to imagine, but that said, in recent years, we have got closer and closer to St Kevin’s, including the 14 all draw on their last visit to us, so I certainly believed that this side had it in them.
Through a long pre-season the message has been a very simple one – YOU are the player to make the difference. On Saturday, all of our players showed us that they indeed were the one.
The opening encounter was high octane and we were fortunate that our exuberance did not cost us scoreboard deficit.
As both the game and players settled into an expected rhythm the contest was clearly fierce, but very even.
The intensity of the match was remarkable for schoolboy level and the manner in which our players maintained this was the most pleasing aspect of the match.
In a match up against arguably the finest inside centre (if not player) in our competition, our inside centre, Ata Seu, playing only his second game for the College, excelled.
His complete performance was the standout on the day, however it is difficult to single out any one player for all involved performed superbly, as we knew they would have to.
Our opponents grew in confidence in the second half, despite being behind at half time (7-3).
On the back of a number of soft penalties and an inability to retain the ball efficiently at set play, St Kevin’s took what appeared a crucial lead into the last moments of the game.
A fine solo try, a little earlier, by our fullback Kenny O’Connor, provided a halt to our opposition’s momentum, however a further penalty goal to their impressive fly half and captain, saw St Kevin’s hold a six point lead with just seconds left on the clock.
The next passage of play remains both a blur and yet is as clear as the day was itself in my mind.
An outstanding restart, great kick pressure and a calmness with ball in hand, presented us with a penalty under our opponent’s posts.
The rest, as has been written, is history.
Having celebrated just his 16th birthday on Friday, our young fly half, Hayce Alama, took a quick tap and dived over for the try.
Maintaining a level of composure that belies his young years, Hayce converted his own try and we had won the game. History was made.
I want to acknowledge all that have made this possible, not just within this year itself, but the many who laid the platform in years gone by.
I am not simply talking of the players, or coaches, but those who do and have volunteered for the good of our rugby program both on and off the field.
This win is for so many and I do hope all are celebrating with us.
The new week must bring a heightened sense of focus. Following our 14-all draw with St Kevin’s in 2017 we would go on to lose our next game to Brighton Grammar.
The irony has not been lost on me that our next opponents are Brighton.
History must not repeat itself. Our players must now learn to play with the tag of ‘favourites’ and the pressures that this brings.
For now, we will return to the training ground and work hard. We are only two games into our season, there is a long road ahead.
See pictures from this historic game at this link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/spcoca/photos/?tab=album&album_id=3240582352634170&__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARDV1l1razm-PFUcUL4HbcdbAJrF-604tQWqSS9gc6fNduzHFyvHqVki3v5H6xofxZlKNQpGQvy665S1902JzLFQivUHBh4SAgtSZrh0mqjPgIJ6niMRIVOAJltMk_zLWSzKy_wKnd8F_C5AhhSL9195JIpF_fH1TyY5PvDP6ef9IGpIKQ3EHpqD6srzYipXE2lTx4oYgyY-2d01v0TD4qoHJkR6BBF2gjrhwhGQFftn7GIa4jGBFmBW3PN1Ndme2RP7mAKLbNYqvLLPH-jiHQStOBXAVIv9n7kur1oMuN6u2ocr0N_IeWr2xz1zmUzJq0KOacGk8AASC3-o80KGow8wzeozRuhLyuP5we8t6gsBNtqZ6NxcXfgY6d7nCHR9_Xcfm9NX57g8tCMKTmeEK5b9Kc4r6Lws0seVR-oZp0Ro0WOzQPDmyFaHiuyaigoI7tb90uZ-SKy0k8gPZ9Ui&__tn__=-UC-R