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Thursday, 28 February 2013
As the warm spring sun beat down upon the Fylde coast the under 15 squad started against group favourites and host Arnold King Edward's (AKS) in the 10th AKS Sevens' Tournament. The first half was dominated by the home side as nerves and rustiness got the better of Bolton. Fresh legs at half time and an imperious display by Chris Brownlow brought about a better display and the margin of defeat 27-12 was less than had looked likely.
Being punished for mistakes had proved costly in the opener and two small errors were enough for Hutton to squeeze by 12-7 in the second game. This meant that the two remaining group games were 'must win' affairs. Bury were up next and with Ellis Bunney, Chris Brownlow and Josh Holmes running rampant they were dispatched 45-5. The half century would have been achieved had Mackenzie Middleton not inexplicably lost control of the ball over the line. He did, however, more than make amends as the tournament progressed.
The final group game against St Mary's Crosby was to decide semi-final opponents. Fatigue set in and whilst the result was never really in doubt 22-12 did not truly reflect the dominance of the Bolton side and Bunney's hat-trick of tries was testament to that. Tired minds and legs allowed a couple of tries against them but onward to West Hill.
An athletic side from the foothills of the Pennines simply could not cope with the powerful running of Brownlow and Bunney who exploited the sheer graft of Battarbee, Woodward and Haydock in the forwards. With the game secure Sharif, Noneley and Sandford could enter the fray and see out a 30-12 victory.
Local side Lytham High awaited a side now brimming with confidence in the Plate final. A fast start saw Bolton stretch out to a 21-0 lead by the interval. As victory drew near it was evident that most of the side were feeling the effects of a full day of energy sapping activity and a not inconsiderable amount of contact. Tiredness led to mistakes and a couple of tries against them. Fresh legs were brought on and it was in the end enough to see them home to a third success in the ten year history of the competition. Chris Brownlow and Josh Holmes had played every minute of every game. Ellis Bunney led the way with 9 tries and the rest of the squad had behaved in an exemplary manner. All had learned a great deal about a different aspect of rugby and enjoyed the immense sense of achievement that comes from a sustained collective effort which culminates in success.
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