On Thursday 16th March, West Leigh attended the Essex Tag Rugby Finals having qualified as one of the best two school in Southend. The competition brought together the twenty best team from all over Essex so the standard of competition was always going to be difficult.
In the morning, West Leigh played four games in their group and remarkable won all four games:
West Leigh 6 - 1 Elmwood
West Leigh 5 - 2 Thameside
West Leigh 6 - 3 St. Thomas More
West Leigh 6 - 5 Great Berry
Due to this great success, the team qualified for the Super 10 stage of the competition as one of three group winners.
Unsurprisingly, the standard in the afternoon was incredibly high yet West Leigh made a fabulous start:
West Leigh 7 - 2 Great Totten
Their next game was enthralling, and despite trailing on seven separate occasions, they managed to draw the game and almost won it in the final seconds, although that may have been rather cruel on our opponents who played magnificently.
West Leigh 7 - 7 Stanley Drapkin
Following that tough match, next in line were the reigning Essex Champions, St. Johns, and although it was a close game, West Leigh were unable on this occasion to get the result they would have liked.
West Leigh 4 - 6 St. John's
Their final group match in the afternoon had a simple stipulation: win, score lots of tries and concede very few to ensure a top two finish and a place in the semi-finals. What followed from West Leigh was some of the most impressive tag rugby that you could ever witness and a joy to watch. It was clear that they were enjoying themselves too.
West Leigh 9 - 1 Ardleigh St. Mary's
As if the day had not been tiring enough, a semi-final awaited them against the other Super 10 group winning. Unfortunately, despite a valiant effort, they were beaten by a very strong team who were deserving of the victory and West Leigh pushed them hard all the way.
West Leigh 4 -6 RA Butler
Finally, even though their lungs were probably empty, their legs barely wanted to move and their energy levels were close to zero, they picked themselves up, found a smile on their face and got ready for the 3rd/4th place play-off against Earls Hall, who has beaten West Leigh in the Southend Final earlier in the year.
West Leigh 5 - 4 Earls Hall
Finishing 3rd in a major Essex Final was a great achievement but their sportsmanship, compassion for others on the pitch, even stopping the game to look after their opponents on more than one occasion, gave us even more reason to be proud although we were already proud of them before the day began.