A Real Rugby International
On the final Friday of the summer holidays, Clayesmore was visited by a group of players and coaches from St. John’s College, Harare, in Zimbabwe. The school was on a tour of England, organised and led by ex-Scotland International Scott Gray, and was fresh from visiting Stowe, Hartpury College and Bryanston. In need of a further match before travelling to Uppingham to finish their tour, the team dropped into Clayesmore to play a fixture against Clayesmore’s 1st & 2nd XV, who were back in school for their annual pre-season training. St. John’s were at the end of their school season, and had been on tour for over a week, so it was highly likely that their players would be well conditioned and organised, and so it proved. A group of physically intimidating boys ran through their moves as the Clayesmore boys (many of whom hadn’t played rugby since the end of the December 2015) took to the field. However, playing with great courage and commitment, Clayesmore took the lead and was still in front towards the end of the third quarter. As the game progressed, St. John’s superior fitness and set-play skills began to take over and they finished with a try in the final minute, winning the game 10-17. After the match there were speeches and presentations before opposing players were able to share conversations about their different cultures and experiences. The St. John’s team was generous to offer the opportunity to visit them in future years and a number of boys made some useful contacts. This was a superb way for the Clayesmore rugby players to get their season started.