A traditionally partisan crowd at Coventry RFC's Butts Park Arena was treated to a thrilling contest last night that Bablake's 1st XV edged 15-11 to retain the Mick Hibbert Trophy.
Playing the final third of the second half with captain Brad Pinkham agonisingly in the sin bin, the Bablake pack successfullly pinned KHVIII into its own 22 for a significant period before the ever dangerous KHVIII backs broke free and threatened a dramatic late score.
The Bablake tackling, impressive all evening, however stood firm to allow our proud captain, an England U18 Lamb, to receive the Mick Hibbert Trophy from our new Chair of Governors, Mrs Julia McNaney.
1st XV coach Mr Rob Burdett (Head of Boys' PE) commented: 'Congratulations to both sides for helping produce such a thrilling match. Bablake started in fantastic form and were worthy leaders after the first 20 minutes via a dashing try by winger Chimdi Ogbuneke, successfully converted by Harry Garforth. However we went in at the break with a slender 10-8 lead.
The character and skill of the KHVIII side very much came to the fore and they took a deserved 11-10 lead with a deft drop goal midway through the second half after putting us under intense pressure.
At that point we were certainly on the ropes, but I thought our character in defence was then outstanding and kept us in the match. The final try was a great team effort and came after a bold decision to turn down the opportunity of a penalty goal.
I was particularly pleased for the U6th boys playing their final 1st XV match and especially for captain Brad Pinkham who has been outstanding all season.'
Many thanks to the officials who helped allow such an exciting open contest, and to Coventry RFC for once again hosting this fixture.