St Kevin's College Sweep the VSRU
St Kevin's College has walked away from the VSRU Grand Final Day held in Ballarat this year, with all the silverware, clinching the 1st XV and 2nd XV Grand Finals to go with their league wins in the U16 and U15 age groups.
The event was met with icy conditions as the Southeast of Australia was hit by an artic blast bringing snowfall as low as 800m across Victoria. For the steady flow of school team buses coming up from Melbourne, they were greeted with the dusting along the Prince's Highway. These conditions combined with a week of heavy rain that led to both pitches producing a muddy surface under foot, rain falling sporadically, and a westerly wind pushing down the field on the main oval, challenging all that were playing throughout the day.
With the early games committed to the supplementary playoffs, most games went the way of the higher finishers from the season ladders, with the exception in the 1st XV being Xavier College's victory over Brighton Grammar School for 7th Place. Geelong Grammar School's emphatic victory for 3rd place in the 1st XV, cemented themselves as the best of the rest as all eyes turned to the two Grand Finals.
In the 2nd XV competition, it was the Div 2 Haileybury 1st XV versus the perennial power house in St Kevin's College with their 2nd XV. Early field position had St Kevin's in control and converted this into the first try of the game at the 8th minute. It was a lack of a good kicking game with the wind advantage that was hurting Haileybury, who couldn't maxmise their time in possession for field position. Despite staying camped in Haileybury territory, St Kevin's couldn't add to the score again going into the break up 0 - 5. The second half started much as the first, with St Kevin's gaining territory and eventually taking points from a penalty to put the score at 0 - 8 at the 44th minute mark. It was from the resultant kickoff that Haileybury finally found itself with the ball and in the opposition 22 and it was here that they stayed, punishing themselves against the St Kevin's line until finally they managed to catch their opponents off-guard, the young Haileybury fly-half quick tapping a penalty and scoring at their feet. The conversion made, scores were 7 - 8, and with only two minutes remaining we were in for an exciting finish. Despite all their best efforts, Haileybury weren't able to get far into St Kevin's half before time ended. St Kevin's College victors by the barest of margins.
For the premier 1st XV competition, ladder leaders and conveniently hosts St Patrick's College were up against a red-hot St Kevin's College, who were eager to atone for their only defeat to their opposition by a solitary point. Winning the toss, St Kevin's went to it with the precision and skill that has become synonymous with the dominant school of the VSRU. In almost identical manner, the first two tries capitalised on defensive penalties against St Patrick's College, the kick sailing into the corner with the breeze, the line out clinically to their lock, and a maul driving them to the line with the first coming out just short to a crash ball from the inside centre, the second seeing the maul make the ground in its own right. With a kicking game that was all-class, St Kevin's never relented, keeping St Patrick's in their own half and running over two times more to go into the half time break up 0 - 24. The second half began a battle of attrition, each team not giving up too much ground, with the score remaining 0 - 24 for the first 25 minutes. Unfortunately for St Patrick's, it was St Kevin's who finally broke the second half deadlock, extending their lead to 0 - 29 in the 61st minute, making it nigh on impossible for the hosts to claw back the deficit in the time remaining. Despite the mission impossible, St Patrick's never gave in, finally getting reward for their effort and crossing for their first and only try of the match just before the end of the game. The final scores 5 - 29.
Below right: St Kevin's College captains from 1st XV, U15, U16, and 2nd XV.