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Home > News > Shropshire school take Tag to Twickenham title
Your News Shropshire school take Tag to Twickenham title

St LAWRENCE Primary School from Church Stretton in Shropshire are the 2009 national Child Victims of Crime Tag to Twickenham champions thanks to a golden try in the final at Rugby School yesterday.

The winners, who only started playing the game in May, edged out last year's champions Holy Trinity Lamorbey CE Primary from Sidcup in Kent in the best final since the tournament was launched in 2002. The teams were level after normal time and a period of extra time, but St Lawrence managed the crucial try to take the title for the first time.

Consolation for Holy Trinity and an added bonus for St Lawrence is that both sides will now play at Twickenham in a curtain-raiser before the England v New Zealand match in November.

"What a fantastic day!" said one of the St Lawrence coaches, Martin Longhurst: "They all played really well and what a final. We started training together a couple of months ago at the beginning of May, but I'm sure they'll be doing it for the rest of their lives after this moment.

"We scarcely knocked the ball on all day, which for 10-year-olds is pretty special isn't it?"

The Tag to Twickenham finals day was the culmination of a far-reaching Tag Rugby - a popular non-contact version of the sport - programme run across England in conjunction with the Child Victims of Crime charity and YAZOO to encourage the nation's children to participate in sport and pursue a healthier lifestyle.

It was on The Close that William Webb Ellis is credited with literally creatinig a whole new ball game and it was on the very same patch of grass that the 20 teams who won regional qualifiers to get into the final demonstrated how, even at Primary School age, high quality coaching and enthusiastic students can produce skill levels among both boys and girls that are hard to credit.

Even allowing for the fact that these youngsters were the cream of a crop which, thanks to sponsors like Yazoo, has now expanded beyond one million boys and girls nationwide, this was a startling exhibition of talent - one which had England Women's international Sarah Hunter, a Yazoo Tag Rugby ambassador, and the RFU's National Tag Rugby Development Officer, Matthew Ferguson, positively purring with admiration.

"This was the best finals day we have had, with everything coming together brilliantly," said Ferguson: "Without any shadow of doubt this was the best quality of rugby I've ever seen since I've been involved - and the final was terrific.

Sharing the winners rostrum with St Lawrence were St Mary's Catholic Primary from East Sussex, who won the Plate final. They emerged victorious in another nip-and-tuck game against Badgerbrook Primary from Leicestershire, who in turn handled their disappointment with such maturity and sportsmanship that they were awarded the Spirit of Rugby prize.

One of the more significant aspects of the day was the degree of skill that the girls brought to the table, a fact that was not lost on either Ferguson or England flanker Hunter.

Said Ferguson: "The girls definitely make things tick. They have a better spacial awareness than the boys. The successful teams are the ones who play all their girls contingent."

Said Hunter: "I've seen quite a few potential internationals of the future and not just the girls. I've been impressed with the standard in general, which has been amazing. They all seem to be having a great time and enjoying themselves and there's a great team spirit between the schools."

Schools taking part in the CVOC Tag to Twickenham finals were: John Emmerson Batty Primary School (Cleveland), St Aloysius RC Junior School (Tyne & Wear), Tarleton Holy Trinity CE Primary School (Lancashire), Quinta Primary School (Cheshire), Cudworth Churchfield Primary School (South Yorkshire), Thorne Green Top Primary School (South Yorkshire), The Buchan School (Isle of Man), St Anthony's Catholic Primary School (Birmingham), St Lawrence Primary School (Shropshire), Badgerbrook Primary School (Leicestershire), Bourne Westfield Primary School (Lincolnshire), Burraton CP School (Cornwall), Widey Court Primary School (Devon), Churchend Primary School (Berkshire), Hermitage Primary School (Berkshire), Uplands Community Middle School (Suffolk), West Leigh Junior School (Essex), Holy Trinity Lamorbey CE Primary School (Kent), St Mary's Catholic Primary School (East Sussex), Kingsland Primary School (Herefordshire).

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