Shakespeare writes memorable final chapter as St Bart's are crowned County Cup champions
In what would be for many players their final game representing their school, St Bartholomew’s School Senior Rugby Team claimed a hard fought 15-10 victory over The Piggott School to become Berkshire U18 County Cup Champions.
The team were recently awarded their medals by Dr David Fitter, Headteacher, who said: “This is a fantastic end to what has been another successful and thoroughly enjoyable season for the team.
"We are very proud of the players and congratulate them all, particularly our Year 13 students who have contributed so much to the sporting life of St Bart’s during their time with us. ”
The match took place on Thursday 23 February in front of a large crowd at Newbury RFC.
Early on, Piggott showed their threat with some dangerous passages of play, but St Bart's defence stood firm with Spencer Codling making some key tackles and Piggott could only come away from their strong start with three points.
St Bart's quickly responded with three points of their own from the boot of George Shakespeare after strong carries from Charlie Lewis, Sebastian Burgess and Cole Whorriskey.
Piggott continued to frustrate St Bart's at the breakdown, winning numerous turnovers. However, as the first half wore on St Bart's started to assert their dominance up front, particularly on the back of an impressive scrum and strong carries through the middle.
Under a penalty advantage, St Bart’s took advantage to put in a pinpoint cross field kick, which Euan Avery gathered to touch down and give St Bart's an 8-3 lead at half time.
Buoyed by the score, St Bart's took control of the second half.
The front row combination of Armand Graham, Haaris Begg, Will Stearn and the returning Oliver Davey continued to dominate the set piece.
The continued pressure, combined with a great territorial kicking game from George Shakespeare and Matis Dessiaume, finally told with Sebastian Burgess touching down from close range to give St Bart's a 15-3 lead going into the final 10 minutes.
With a St Bart's player sent to the bin, Piggott finally managed to break loose and with some fantastic hands and interplay scored to make the final score 15-10.
Oliver Davey, Head Boy at St Bart’s, said: “The team has been working towards this for a number of years, and had lost two finals previously in Year 10 and 12, so winning this year was pretty special.
"To wear the shirt for the last time and for the boys to bring it home finally - it was a fantastic feeling.”