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Top team has no pitch

PUBLISHED: 09:15 28 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:45 03 July 2010

The victorious college girls' rugby team.

The victorious college girls' rugby team.

The women's rugby team from East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston have won the national schools' girls' rugby championship without actually having a rugby pitch to practise on.

The women's rugby team from East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston have won the national schools' girls' rugby championship without actually having a rugby pitch to practise on.

Held at Rosslyn Park RFC in London, the National Schools' Sevens Tournament is billed as “the largest rugby tournament in the world.” There is competition to even be able to enter, and the 32 represented are the cream of English and Welsh schools and colleges. Apart from four sixth form colleges, most of the schools were prestigious girls' public schools.

The Gorleston girls were in a strong pool with King's Macclesfield (12-5) and Pangbourne College (26-0) providing stiffer opposition than London Oratory (44-0).

In the quarter-finals, St Joseph's from Ipswich were dispatched 26-5, followed by Yeovil School (15-5) in the semi-finals.

The final was against Colston's School from Bristol, winners in 2006 and 2007. It was always going to be tight and the match was settled by a single try from captain Sam Noble.

Colston's were not going to give up their crown lightly and the Gorleston girls' defence was heroic as they hung on for victory, with a sensational tackle from Jodie Rettie breaking up Colston's last-gasp attack.

This victory was no fluke, as the East Norfolk girls are the champions of British Colleges' Sport East for the last five years in the 10-a-side game and they return to the national colleges' finals at Loughborough University to see if they can improve on last year's bronze medals, up against mainly regional representative teams.

What is a surprise, is that East Norfolk Sixth Form College doesn't actually have a rugby pitch at all, or even rugby posts to practise taking conversions.

The girls' coach, Head of PE Steve Mooney, said: “The girls practise on the football pitch two lunchtimes a week, although we are hoping that some derelict land owned by the borough can be converted into extra sports facilities for the college and the community in the future.

“This victory was a fantastic achievement by the girls and shows what local young people can achieve when you give them the opportunity.”

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