Teacher Alan Mitchell looks back on 25 years of Sevens rugby at Worth…
As the school rugby Sevens season is now in full swing it may revive memories, for some, of having to sprint the length of the field having found a gap in the opposition’s defence. What makes us put our bodies through the inevitable pain of playing 14 minutes of flat-out rugby, on a full-size pitch, with only seven players? The answer is simple − for any skilful player it is the ideal stage to show off their ability and enjoy the non-stop action of the shorter version of the game.
At Worth, Sevens has always been an important part of the games programme. Our own invitation Sevens quickly became a regular event for many of the top sides to develop their squads in preparation for major national tournaments at the end of term. When I first joined the school, 25 years ago, I can remember being so impressed with the Worth Sevens. It had been the brainchild of the legendary Glenn Robertson a few years before I arrived and he would be pleased to see that the competition still has the same quality teams attending and the same exciting talent on show each March.
Although there have been many good performances by the Worth sides at our own Sevens −and some have gone on to do very well at the National Sevens − my own favourite memory was at the Sussex Schools Sevens in 1992 when our 1st VII ended up playing against our 2nd VII in the final. The 2nd VII scored first but order was soon restored and the 1st VII were the eventual winners. It was a fairly lonely occasion on the touchline with the tournament organiser, Glenn and I plus a few Worth parents the only spectators who stayed for the final but we all thoroughly enjoyed the day.
I obviously watch a great deal of Sevens all the year round these days with my son travelling the world with the England squad, but it does not seem long ago that Tom was playing on the Worth fields. I am sure there will be players on show at this year’s invitation tournament who are capable of following in his footsteps and, with the recent success of the Worth team at the Marches Sevens, I am really looking forward to seeing them perform.