Meridian School took part in their first rugby fixture for at least seven years against Melbourn Village College.

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The match was organised by Meridian’s student PE teacher Mr Phipps, who was keen to get rugby back on the map at Meridian and they faced a tough challenge against an established Melbourn team.

The Meridian side was a mixture of both Year 10 and 11 students as well as a range of playing experience but it was Meridian who dominated the early stages.

They were camped out in the Melbourn half pressing hard in defence and making strong runs in attack. However quick hands by the Melbourn backs on the counter-attack led to the first try.

With positive words from captain Ben Ireland, Meridian fought back and scored quickly after some strong forward runs by Conor Eustace and Jake Storey left and easy job for the backs as Ed Shannon ran round two defenders for his first score.

As half-time approached Meridian began to see more possession and were the happier of the two sides when the whistle blew.

Melbourn were dominant in the scrum but struggled to cope with the loose play of the Meridian forwards, Harry Partridge breaking the gain line on several occasions in his first game of rugby.

Both teams looked dangerous in the backs but Meridian were the next to score. Harry Towler, after breaking through the midfield, beat three defenders.

Melbourn’s full back prevented him getting a try scoring pass away to his supporting team mates. Meridian had the field position to set up their second try and strong carries by Tom GambeLL and slick hands by the backs saw Ed Shannon crossing over for his second try.

Captain Ben Ireland kicked the extras to make the score 12-5.

Melbourn upped their game and despite some huge tackles by Ethan Lewis and James Shannon, managed to score in the corner. The conversion was made and the score stood at 12-12.

The Meridian team was beginning to tire, however they were straight back on the attack. A quick penalty was taken and centre Rhys Redrup crashed over to put Meridian back in front. The trusted boot of Ben Ireland made the conversion to make the score 19-12.

With only 10 minutes left the dangerous Melbourn full back found himself in space to glide through the Meridian defence to score. However the conversion was missed and with less than five minutes remaining the score stood at 19-17.

The fitness of the Meridian players surprised everyone and having played the whole game with only 14 players they battled on to claim the victory.

Teacher Mr Phipps said: “It was a fantastic game of rugby, played in the highest spirit by both teams. There were some fantastic performances out there by everyone, which made it impossible for me to pick a man of the match.”

Special thanks go to everyone who made this game possible and especially the support of Greneway Middle School for allowing the use of their rugby pitch so the game could go ahead.

Squad: J Storey, B Church, J Reeder, H Partridge, C Eustace, T Gambell, J Harvey, J Shannon, B Ireland (c), R Jonas, E Shannon, R Redrup, E Lewis, H Towler

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