St Chris Pride
This year saw St Chris staff and students take part in the second annual Bahrain Mixed Touch Rugby League. The competition sees the best Touch teams from around the Arabian Gulf compete against each other over four weekends, at Bahrain RFC. Each team contains seven players, with two of these being ‘social’ players (under 16 years of age or female) who count for double points whenever they score a try.
Unfortunately, the first week of the competition ran during the school holidays so the St Chris side were forced to forfeit a number of games, however, they bounced back in week two, with Slade Camara particularly impressing on his debut, alongside more established players Rory Drummond, Kyle Nair and St Chris old boy Sean Ross. All three picked up where they left off last season, scoring tries for fun and consistently showing the athleticism they have become known for. The control in the middle of the park came from the always dependable Mr Smith, with Bella Rushden roughing up the opposition out wide.
Week three saw the introduction, for the first time, of gas man Callum Dawson and the Fijian-inspired footwork of Louis Mulleague. Both players took the competition by storm, bagging a hatful of double point scores and evading some of Bahrain RFC’s championship winning 1st XV players. Creating the space out wide with her tenacious approach to carrying the ball and vast knowledge of the game was the returning Mrs Vaughan, who constantly inspires others to increase their own work rate, to get somewhere close to her own. Special thanks should also go to Daniel Nicolau, who doubled up for St Chris on a number of occasions, despite already being selected for a different team. Daniel was unlucky to just miss out on the Junior Player of the Tournament accolade, finishing second in the votes.
The final week of pool matches saw St Chris without one of their integral playmakers, Liam Chapman, who was replaced by the mercurial Jordan Smit in the middle of the field. Jordan managed to slip seamlessly into the starting line-up, impressing onlookers and opposition alike with his rugby brain and slick handling skills. Injuries and unavailabilities also saw Melissa Busek make her debut from the bench and versatile Mr Phillpots join the ever-present and increasingly influential Jacob Phillpots in the team. With the forfeited matches, St Chris began the day ten points adrift of second place in the standings, but, inspired by the ultra competitive performances of Mr Wales, the team clawed their way into second place and a showdown with the experienced Saudi Scorpions in the marquee match of the day. The Scorpions’ know-how saw them take an early lead and, unfortunately, Louis Mulleague’s reply, arguably the try of the tournament, was not enough to overhaul the reigning champions, a draw being enough to return the trophy to Riyadh.
St Chris can take a great deal of pride from their performances (7 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss) against much more experienced opposition and can be pleased with their Silver Medals. The staff involved would like to extend a huge thank you to the infectiously enthusiastic students involved, and to Bahrain RFC for organising such a fantastic tournament. Hopefully, next year will see us go one better and bring the cup back to Isa Town.
St Chris Touch Rugby Team:
Slade Camara Mrs Vaughan (c)
Jacob Phillpots Mr Wales (vc)
Daniel Nicolau Mr Booth (vc)
Bella Rushden Mr Smith
Melissa Busek Mr Phillpots
Sean Ross (OB)