A solid 38-7 win over Sydney Grammar School’s First XV on Saturday 17 June has consolidated The Armidale School at equal top of the AAGPS Third Grade competition. Playing their last competition home game of the season in front of a large crowd including Old Boy and former Wallaby James Holbeck, the TAS outfit maintained a tight focus, making few errors and maximising opportunities.
The first points were on the board 15 minutes in with outside centre Nicholas Makeham crossing in the left hand corner, followed ten minutes later by hooker Oscar Alcorn just to the right of the posts, both tries being converted for extra points by Harry Pollard, taking TAS into the break with a 14-0 lead.
Re-energised, TAS returned to the field with prop Ben Hamparsum storming across the line and shortly after the hosts snared two tries under the posts after running the ball out wide to backs who made the most of gaps presented by the Grammar defence. Makeham bagged his second try of the day from an off-load by winger Ben Louis who had stormed down half the left hand side of the paddock, then the pattern was repeated by inside centre Nicholas Kirk, who similarly gained metres on his opponents to swing in under the goal posts. Pollard slotted both conversions. Grammar found their mettle halfway through the second half but were kept from scoring by a strong TAS defence, eventually opening up the opportunity for a fifth try with captain Michael Baldock putting the ball down on the wing. Edward Pitt’s kick bounced off the upright, leaving the scoreboard at 38-0 before Grammar forged under the posts and converted on the whistle, the final score being 38-7.
“They played to their potential which is what they were focusing on. Being a genuine First XV fixture motivated the boys with training and it was great having Jamie Holbeck here handing out the jerseys to the boys and give real meaning to the notion of playing First Fifteen for TAS and his parting words were ‘it doesn’t get any better than this’ which meant a lot and gave the team real focus,” coach Alan Jones said.
“The second half display of defence on Grammar’s try line was superb and that’s the sort of defence we will really have to have when we play St Joseph’s and some of other sides in Sydney next term. Kicking the ball away in the first half kept Grammar in the game, but ball in hand in the second meant we were able to execute some of our plays and it worked out really well.”
Players from both schools donned one sock for Batyr, an organisation that focuses on preventative education in the area of youth mental health. Jones said TAS was particularly grateful to Grammar for travelling in consecutive years.
In other games, TAS Second XV defeated Grammar 24-12 and also took the honours in five other matches, with the visitors winning three. TAS next meets Shore School in Sydney on 22 July.