WEDNESDAY, MAY 9: Sometimes all it takes is one to make a difference.
In the Aspen/Validus Secondary School Championship at the Northern Fields at the National Sports Centre on Sunday, just one try was enough to allow the Berkeley Institute to come away victorious against CedarBridge Academy.
Berkeley coach Neville Zuill said he was “elated” to come away with the title.
“The boys put a lot of work in. They’ve been training hard on school days and for the national squad.”
Berkeley went ahead on a OJ Barnett try and had to defend furiously at the end when CedarBridge almost scored a try. The ensuing scrum saw Berkeley get the ball up the field before defending a lineout to win the match.
Zuill said: “They know that we win lineouts and win scrums — That’s our bread and butter. They just have to remember their jobs and do their jobs.
“My big quote on the sideline to them is ‘do your job’. They executed to perfection so we won.”
Berkeley’s success was due in part from learning from early season mistakes.
“We try to go in with a big head. We try to go in as humble and modest as possible. That’s how we lost the first round robin. We went in thinking we were the greatest and we got put in our place.
“We go in hoping to win, expecting to win, but we have to work hard to get there.”
The Berkeley coach added it was great seeing the two public schools in the final and that bodes well for the future of Bermuda rugby.
Zuill said it was a confirmation of the public school system to see Berkeley and CedarBridge playing in the final.
“In about five years we are going to have a national squad people we envy.”
Adrian Hassell, Berekeley captain and scrumhalf, soaked up the victory afterwards
“This feels great. We’ve put in a lot of training.
“We have a lot of experience on our team. At the end of the day we did really well.”
He said every Berkeley player manned up for the end of the game as they kept CedarBridge from scoring a game-tying try.
“We were going to put our lives on the line for that. We were not going to let them get past.
“We’ve been talking about winning the high school championship for a long time, even last year when we didn’t even have a team.”
Berkeley Player OJ Barnett won the Malcolm Outerbridge Jr MVP award. Barnett not only scored the game’s only try but he was in on the try-saving tackle at the end of the match
He said: “I’m quite honoured. I never thought I’d win it, but I got it so I’m just happy. This was more for the team.”
Barnett, on his tackle that helped preserve the victory, said: “It was really intense because if I took one more step back, they would have beeb in the try zone.”