Selborne edge Hudson 17-15
By Joe Clarke
High School's rugby kicked off on Saturday when 32 schools competed in the Border High Schools Rugby Day at Selborne College. The anticipated match of the day saw East London's traditionally top two sides, Selborne against Hudson Park go down to the wire.
Having retained an astonishing 18 players from last year's squad, Hudson played with the expected cohesiveness to be in the lead 8 - 0 at half time owing to Dillan Kromhout and a penalty from the boot of Blake Diedericks. Thoughts of Hudson's historic wins over Selborne in 1982, 2004 and 2017 would surely have been featuring prominently in the minds of Hudson's supporters.
Selborne, however, bounced back in the second half with tries by Josh van Vreden and Nkoka Ngobe. Warrick Day was impeccable with the boot converting both and taking Selborne into the lead 14 - 8 mid way through the second half.
Hudson were certainly not done as they continued to run the ball through the phases and were rewarded when star centre Josh Jonas got over the line, Diedericks converted making it 15 -14 in the co-ed school's favour. In the final play of the game and with the spectators on the edge of their seats, Hudson were penalised for a high tackle ten yards into their half and five yards from the touch line.
As one of Selborne's four returning players from last year's squad, Warrick Day showed nerves of steel as he calmly stepped up and converted the difficult pressure kick sealing a nail-biting win for Selborne, 17 - 15.
The College coach, Chase Morison said a combination of a lot of new players, pressure put on from a dominant Hudson pack and their astute tactical kicking left more questions than answers.
"Our boys showed great character after trailing with only four minutes left, their performance wasn't great but we'll take a dirty win over a good loss," he added. For Hudson's Head coach and Director of Rugby, James Winstanley, it was a bitter pill to swallow, "We controlled so much of the game, yet lost on the score board. I’m proud of the boys performance, we will build on the positives which were many. Congratulations to Selborne for a stunning comeback."
In other matches Queens beat Stirling 33 - 0, Grens beat Toise High 31 - 5, Cambridge beat De Vos Malan 29 - 7, Dale beat Port Rex 24 - 19 and Selborne 2nd's beat Hudson 2nd's 17 - 0.