On the 14th of October, a 27 man squad travelled to Edinburgh to take part in the annual Merchiston Castle School U18 Rugby Festival.
After a day of traveling, the festival started on the Saturday morning with Norwich Schools first fixture being against Boroughmuir RFC, a club team known for being one the best in Scotland. Norwich started strong and scored early with a try from George Wilson and a second Norwich try was scored just before half-time, making it 10-0. The second half was to be one of the first learning lessons from the weekend as Boroughmuir would go on to score 20 unanswered points. Defence and taking opportunities when playing in shorter game lengths was to be the theme.
Norwich Schools second game was against Edinburgh Reivers, a regional part of the Edinburgh academy system. The strong Edinburgh Reivers side would go on to win but some of the wider squad took their opportunity to push for more game time during the festival, none more so than Isaac Francis and Josh Whitehand.
Our final game of the first day was against Wycliffe College, a fellow English school from Gloucestershire. This game would be our best performance of the day. Norwich School on the back of strong performances from Guy Savory, Isaac Francis and a try from Josh Whitehand. Jonathon Ikzaoboh was devasting with his carries and Ollie Shipp added real speed on the edges.
The second day of the festival started with a match against Dame Allans, a school from Newcastle. A similar story to Boroughmuir in that Norwich would take the lead in the first half playing down the pitch but would go on to lose in the second half. A tight game that finished 7-5. This meant Norwich would be playing in the shield semi final in the next round against Wycliffe College.
Despite beating Wycliffe the previous day, the boys were not going to take this game for granted and went out and played some of their best rugby of the weekend, winning 19-0.
The Shield final was against Peebles Rugby Club, a club from Edinburgh. This would be Norwich Schools best performance of the weekend as they never looked like losing. Tries from Harvey Nkrumah, Tom Clark and Jonny Ikzaoboh would seal a 21-0 win.
The whole weekend was a big success with the boys taking away a lot of valuable learning lessons to take into the strongest block of rugby fixtures after half-term.
This caps a very successful block for Norwich School Rugby as we now look towards our main part of the season.