Campion down local rivals to lift Essex County Cup
- Credit: Archant
Campion’s rugby stars clinched the under-16 Essex County Cup against rivals Coopers’ Coborn –and it’s all down to hard work according to the winning coach.
The Hornchurch school downed their Upminster rivals 17-11 in a keenly-fought encounter at Barking’s Gale Street ground on Wednesday.
It was a hard-fought contest which was in the balance right up to the final whistle and coach Bob Mansell could not be more “proud” of his players.
“It was a really good game,” he said. “Both sides gave their all and it was hard-fought right until the end.
“We started both halves very strongly, but they kept coming back at us and we were hanging on near the end.
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“They threw the kitchen sink at us but the defence was solid and we held firm. I couldn’t be more proud of the players.”
Campion’s three tries were scored by Fabrizio Valentini, Tom Pitkin and Raurie Henderson.
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Pitkin also slotted one conversion and although he missed the other two, his team held on for the victory and celebrated lifting the trophy.
For Mansell, the Essex County Cup success is the culmination of this team’s hard work over the years, although there is still a lot more for them to play for.
“It’s been a long time coming for this age group to achieve something like this and we’ve done something special,” he said.
“We started getting steadily better and this is the culmination of that, if you look at our results against Coopers’ over the years we’ve struggled so it feels great to beat them on this stage.
“This team was regularly getting beaten 30/40-0 and the improvement they’ve shown has been amazing. It’s just a willingness to better themselves.”
The under-16 players will hope to be a part of Campion’s senior team when they become sixth-formers in September.
And there is the added incentive of a tour to South Africa next summer.
“The players will have to keep performing if they want to be on that plane,” Mansell added. “That’s something to aspire to.”