Ashgrove claims First XV title in entertaining season
Marist College Ashgrove has built on years of teamwork to complete a perfect season and deliver a much-cherished AIC First XV rugby premiership for the school.
The nucleus of the Ashgrove team that won all seven matches in 2019 started life in secondary school as a winless 7As team in 2014.
But the defeats didn’t sap the spirit of a team that moulded into a fine First XV combination, completing the season with last Saturday’s 55-12 defeat of Iona College at McMahon Oval.
Saturday’s win was impressive given the promise that Iona had shown in a season that was well contested across its seven rounds.
Ashgrove emerged with the best record, building a perfect defensive wall in the first weeks before other schools found a way across their line.
Ashgrove knew before Saturday’s clash that the premiership was theirs although Villanova still had a chance to share the prize.
But Ashgrove put that out of reach with an emphatic start against Iona, racing in two tries in the opening nine minutes.
Iona remained competitive and Charlie Kwok-Sun Barker’s 50-metre solo try before halftime underlined the skill of the visitors.
But a hat-trick of tries to Campbell Moller ensured Ashgrove would claim the premiership outright.
St Laurence’s College joined in a three-way tie for second with a 26-12 victory over Villanova at Runcorn.
St Laurence’s, Villanova and Padua College shared second spot, typifying the closeness of the competition in the chase to rein in Ashgrove.
Saturday’s clash between St Laurence’s and Villanova was a fine ending to the season with the home team recovering from a one-point halftime deficit.
Charlie Tarr typified the fight of St Laurence’s when he stepped into tighthead prop for the first time this season, helping the home team’s scrum remain solid enough to compete with the strong Villanova team.
Harry Farimbella’s goal-kicking was reliable for St Laurence’s all season and his three penalty goals were handy in the final result.
Villanova can be proud of its season, mixing it consistently with the strongest teams with Hamish Muir and captain James Livingstone among their best players.
Padua College were also rewarded for their season with a 48-20 win over a valiant St Edmund’s College at Banyo.
Padua’s win over St Laurence’s earlier in the season helped it climb into a share of second place and that talent was on display in the victory over St Edmund’s.
Padua wanted to send its Year 12 players out on a winning note while also using the match as a starting point for the 2020 campaign.
But they had to overcome a St Edmund’s team that showcased the resilience that won it fans across the AIC. By the end of the match, St Edmund’s suffered injuries but some players courageously remained on the field to ensure their school finished with a full complement.
St Patrick’s College also sent its Year 12s off with a win as they overcame St Peter’s Lutheran College 43-14 at Indooroopilly on Saturday.
The scoreline did not reflect the challenge posed by St Peter’s, who took a 14-7 lead to the break as they showed their continued improvement throughout the season.
But St Patrick’s attack clicked in the second half with all six tries scored by the backs including a double to Year 11 student Will Boland. Three of the tries came in the final 10 minutes but that did not take away from the fight shown by the home team.
The rugby season may be finished for the AIC schools but plenty of opportunities remain for players with 11 AIC students representing Queensland in the National Schools Rugby Championship in July.
Some players will now look towards rugby league’s Confraternity Carnival which will be held in the first week of July, providing an excellent lead-up to the inaugural AIC rugby league season in Term 3.
Marist College Ashgrove 55 (C Moller 3, G Rosanowski, D Ludwick, L Howse, H Dreghorn, S Stephens, L Laffer tries, L McDonald 5 goals) d Iona College 12 (C Kwock Sun Barker, T Wong tries, B White goal)
St Laurence’s College 26 (B Millen, C Torluccio, L Davies tries, H Farimbella, 1 goal, 3 pen goals) d Villanova College 12 (J Horan, G Stokes tries, H Muir goal)
Padua College 48 (H Taylor 2, P Manu, R Scudamore, L Whippy, S Mataafa, A McColl, J Pezzimenti tries, D Ryan 4 goals) d St Edmund’s College 20.
St Patrick’s College 43 (W Boland 2, K Sturgess, J Dows, S Boulton, J Spence, J McDonald tries, C O’Regan 2 goals, M Prendergast, T Nukunuku goals) d St Peter’s Lutheran College 14 (M Hill, T Price tries, Hill 2 goals)