Guy's Hospital Penguins XV v Freshers XV Rugby
The Fergus Scholefield Memorial Cup
Honor Oak Park Playing Fields
Saturday 21st October 2017
A moment's silence is observed ahead of the game in honour of brave little Fergus Scholefield
Riding high from their recent success in the Jersey 10's 'Super Vets' competition the Penguins assembled at HOP to take on the best of the new intake the Oldest Rugby Club in the World had to offer.
This year’s match took on a particular poignancy as it was played in celebration of the life of Fergus Scholefield who sadly lost his brave battle to cancer last year. The Scholefield family were well-represented both on and off the pitch and the spirit of the match, the camaraderie and love shown by all involved were a fitting tribute.
The Penguins featured an eclectic mix of established players and up and coming veterans as well as the next generation of Guy's Rugby in the shape of Chester and Olly Scholefield. The Freshers team was a mix of brand new players to the club as well as some of the more established students many of whom had already played a tough fixture against Bromley 2nds earlier that day.
The touchline was graced by a number of Penguins who owing to various injuries, afflictions and excuses were missing from the playing line-up this time round. Many, however, promised to be available for future Penguin matches. The sun shone and the wind blew but the rain stayed away despite the best efforts of Storm Brian, and the stage was set for some Champagne rugby in the vintage Guy’s style.
Fabrice the referee (who kindly stayed on to officiate his second match of the day) met with Captains Jamie Jackson and Tom Lyons for the coin toss which the Penguins won and opted to play into the strong wind in the first half.
Charlie Beardmore gave a brief address to the assembled players and spectators to remind them of the story behind the Fergus Scholefield Cup and a minute's sustained applause followed in celebration of Fergus’ memory.
From the first whistle the tactics of both teams were clearly evident with the Penguins preferring a straight running, offloading style compared to the Freshers who wanted to push the ball wide wherever possible to take advantage of their superior speed and youthful vigour. These conflicting styles met with varying degrees of success with the Penguins scoring first followed by 2 tries from a chip and chase by the enterprising Rupert Andom of the Freshers taking full advantage of the strong breeze at their backs.
With the Freshers taking the lead it fell to Chester ‘Fresher Destroyer’ Scholefield on the wing to galvanise the Penguins with two well-finished tries as well as some excellent restarts and kicks at goal, which put the Penguins back in front.
Tom Saunders controlled things brilliantly from number 10, looking like he had played for Guy's for years and sterling efforts by the Front Row of Ed Sheppard, Rauri Hadlington and George Tsolakides ensured the backs had plenty of go forward ball. Rhys Davies jumping at 2 in the lineout meant that almost all lineout ball regardless of who was throwing in made its way back into the Penguins possession. Strong direct running through the first half with silky handling, outrageous offloads and side steps saw Rob Hone, Pete Davis and Jamie Jackson getting on the score sheet.
With a back line anchored in the centres by Pete Davis and fine lines being run by Shay Reading and Bryan Herry players and spectators alike were treated to a festival of rugby not seen at HOP for many a year.
In the second half the high pace of the game began to take its toll and with some of the Penguins playing in kit older than their opposition a few substitutions were necessary. The Captain's tactics of playing against the elements in the first half paid dividends at the turnaround. A bullocking run by Dan Osei-Bordom resulted in another try and further great handling, offloading and support play from 1 to 15 saw Rhys Davies, Tom Saunders and Shay Reading cross the whitewash. Conversions were made 5 out of 11 attempts for the Penguins with 2 conversions slotted by Barney Scholefield.
The Freshers to their credit and in the finest tradition of Guy’s players throughout the years refused to give up and scored further tries through Ian Cognito and A N Other with one conversion from Edward Nigma. With Fabrice signalling the end of the match the Penguins were victorious 65 to 22.
Fergus’s Grandfather Robert Scholefield aka Grandoc, presented the victorious Penguins skipper with the Cup, however the biggest cheer of the day came when man of the match Chester ‘Fresher Destroyer’ Scholefield hoisted his brothers cup towards the bright Autumn sun.
In the Bar afterwards drinks were drunk, tales were told, a raffle was held and all were agreed that the afternoon had been an amazing way to bring together old, new and future Guy’s Rugby players and to commemorate and celebrate Fergus.