Collyer’s men’s rugby team came back from 13-0 down to win the final of the AOC Sport National Rugby Union Cup.
Having beaten the Premiership side Exeter Chiefs’ Academy team in the semi’s, the team arrived for the Birmingham final against Peterborough Regional College in confident mood and after a slow start went in 17-13 ahead at the break, after tries from Joe Endacott, Joshua Sudder and Ian Paku.
The second half started poorly and after some excellent forward play, Peterborough went 27-10 ahead.
As the game progressed, Collyer’s began to cope better with Peterborough’s tough, rampaging forwards, and a line break from the Collyer’s backs led to Joe Endacott crossing the line, and with metronomic kicker Joe Blake’s conversion, Collyer’s were back in the running at 24-27.
Set-piece plays and moves allowed the Collyer’s backs to start running the game, with Max Paterson coming away with a well-worked team try.
With the score at 31-27 in Collyer’s favour with 20 minutes to go, Peterborough then launched their own amazing fight-back using their quick-footed backline, taking them back into the lead 31-34, with 11 minutes remaining.
Collyer’s gradually controlled territory and a crash ball move enabled Owain McLoughlin to get over the line to take Collyer’s ahead for the final time 38-34.
McLoughlin said: “This was a tough test as Peterborough are a great side. It could have gone either way. It’s an honour to be part of this incredible Collyer’s team.”
Head of faculty for business, sport and science, James Gordon, said: “It was a thriller. Two contrasting styles of rugby battled it out, right until the final whistle.
“The quality and physical endeavour on show was outstanding from both of these brilliant sides, who were a credit to their respective colleges. Peterborough Regional College are a powerful team so it is a tremendous achievement to win the cup.”
Collyer’s head of sports academy John Burroughs said: “Outstanding! We could not be prouder of this incredible team. Well done to them and massive thanks to director of rugby Glen Jones and all of the coaches, including Ross Chisolm, and Tim Margrett and James Gordon who worked tactical wonders on the big day. The Collyer’s rugby academy is outstanding and we hope to attract more top players from across the region in the future.”
Collyer’s deputy principal Steve Martell was delighted: “These players are a credit to our region’s rugby. Director of Rugby Glen Jones is building a set-up that is being lauded nationally. The man is a rugby magician.”
Collyer’s principal Sally Bromley said: “Congratulations to the rugby players, coaching group and all within our sport academies. We are building something very special here at Collyer’s.”
Collyer’s: Eddie Grogan,Alex Macfarlane, James Bunch, Sam Jewell, Joe Endacott, Ian Paku, Jack Thompson, Owain McLoughlin, Gabriel Moore, Joe Blake, Mike Ching, Oliver Hemsley, Joshua Sudder, Max Paterson, Conor Riley, Pat Snelling, Chris Otley, Sam Coles, Harry Bradshaw, Henry Grayson, Adam Williams, Max Sherwood. Injured: Hayden Brock, Will Evans, Aaron Lindfield, Jem Minto.