Monday 3rd December saw three of Bickley Park’s rugby teams travel to the famous Allianz Park, home of the Saracens, to compete in a special Centenary Rugby Tournament. Once there, we were set to face teams from Amesbury and St Hugh’s Schools, both of which share some of their own history with Bickley Park. Between 1876 and 1918, Amesbury Prep School was located in Bickley, before moving to Hindhead, Surrey and St Hugh’s Prep was founded in Bickley in 1906 and was located on what is now Bullers Wood sports field. The day was going to be a fantastic addition to our Centenary celebrations, as it would give us the chance not only to re-create what would have been a fixture of the past, but also to run the pitch of some of our own rugby heroes, such as Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje.
The Bickley bus was buzzing with excitement and, after a long drive, we finally made it to Allianz Park. We were all keen to get off the bus and into the changing rooms where many great rugby players have discussed game plans and motivated themselves and, once inside, that’s exactly what we did! Several boys gave motivational talks to their teams and, after we had really got the team spirit going, it was time for the first game.
The tournament was a ‘round robin’ which meant that each school got to play one another: the first two stages were for the U10s and Colts teams. They played some fantastic matches, with both teams coming home overall winners of their groups, despite some very stiff competition. They showed real enthusiasm and it’s clear that they’ve got some great Bickley rugby ahead of them!
Then it was time for the 1st XIII rugby matches, which, for many of us, would be our last ever games for Bickley Park. We ended our first match in high spirits, having beaten Amesbury 6-2 and everyone was so excited to have started with a win. However, the next match, which followed immediately afterwards, was against St Hugh’s Prep School and they were a very talented side. This match was a thriller with a total of 6 tries scored, but, unfortunately, Bickley players were getting tired after a very energetic first match. St Hugh’s emerged to be the overall winners of the U13 age group and they thoroughly deserved it!
On behalf of all the boys that competed, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who made the Centenary Tournament possible and to all of the supporters who braved the weather to come and watch our final games of the season. Lastly, I would like to congratulate all of the boys that took part. It was truly incredible experience and one to remember.