VSRU 1st XV 2019 Rugby Grand Final
author: Mike Silcock
St Patrick’s College 1st XV vs St Kevin’s College (H) (VSRU Grand Final) (10/08)
Full time: SKC 29 d SPC 5 (HT 24 – 0)
Try scorers: Tarquin Schreenan
Conversions: Ethan Jessop (0/1)
Firstly, I would like to congratulate our opponents and this year’s 2019 VSRU Premiers. St Kevin’s again highlighted the strength of their rugby program in a clinical performance in difficult conditions.
Secondly, I would like to thank a large number of people. I wish to thank our 2019 1stXV playing group.
Each player has represented our College to the best of their ability, across the whole, historic season and this was no different today.
I would also acknowledge the many members of our College community, led by our Head of Sport, Gavin Webb and Sports Administrator, Tina Benoit, for ensuring that the 2019 VSRU Grand Final day was a truly remarkable spectacle that barely noticed the poor weather conditions.
The ‘support team’ to both this College rugby season and our hosting responsibilities is extensive. From my fellow coaches (Daniel Lombard), management (Tam Westwood), medical personnel (Jon - Optimus Health - and Charlie Flynn), to our College ground staff, led by John Resuggan, Paul Nolan, who has captured and promoted so many special moments through this history-making season.
I could continue to thank all those who were pitch side today, offered messages of support across the many social media platforms, to our rugby parent group who continue to play a pivotal role in the operation of the College rugby program. I would apologise at this point for ‘missing’ a specific mention of any number of individuals.
Last, but by no means least, I want to thank my much better half and my little boy, who turned 4 today, but never complained once at braving our ‘wintery wonderland’ to support “his rugby boys”. I remain both humbled and privileged to have led our 1stXV for these past seven years and our broader rugby program for the last couple. I have only ever wanted to build upon the outstanding work of my predecessors and provide a unique opportunity for boys in our College wishing to play our great game. As my time now ends, I only wish for the program to continue to grow and provide these opportunities.
Onto the game itself. Our win over St Kevin’s earlier in the season will live long in the memories of so many and marked a historic moment in our College’s rugby history.
St Kevin’s have not lost more than one game in a season for many years, so the enormity of the task facing us today was not lost.
The win earlier though had given us much needed confidence and belief.
Neither of these were lacking in the early stages of the game, however we could not translate this into a clinicalness when moments presented themselves.
We were outplayed in the first half and, ultimately, gave ourselves too much to do in the second half. 24-0 at halftime may suggest a ‘gulf’ between the two sides in the first half, but this would not be a fair reflection.
It highlighted our opponent's ability to take their opportunities and a lack of efficiency on our part in both retaining the ball and regaining it.
The half time talk was composed and well received.
In the second half it was a contest of attrition, which our boys committed to throughout.
Conditions (on field) limited an expansive running game for both sides and stunted concerted phase rugby. That said, we never faltered from the task and it was only a small piece of justice that we crossed for our one try of the game through Yr12 Tarquin Schreenan, who had a huge game in both attack and defence.
I want to leave my final thoughts to our Yr12s. Schoolboy rugby has a ‘specialness’ to it quite unlike other periods in a rugby player’s ‘career’. Our Yr12s have been instrumental in building the program to where it is today and have led with distinction in this their final season.
Ethan Jessop has led this side with strong performances and inspiring words. (If you have a chance please watch his pre-match ‘talk’ available on the SPC-OCA Facebook page) I would just wish our Yr12s all the very best in their ongoing careers and thank them from a grateful College.
It must not ever be lost on anyone the accomplishments of this group, this year. Minor Premiers, an unbeaten regular season, a College-first win over St Kevin’s College and back-to-back GF appearances. All of this achieved with an admirable attitude and humility.
Personally, I would just thank all players, all those involved, for the memories they have created for me. It has been a great experience.
To see photos from the game click this link