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Warlingham Wizards Sevens' magic just fails to conjure overall victory

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A HASTILY assembled Warlingham Wizards Sevens side entered the well-established Old Caterhamians Easter Sevens tournament on Saturday.

Out of 13 teams, Warlingham drew Worth Old Boys, Ealing Trailfinders and Old Caterhamians in the group stages.

They dispatched Old Cats easily by eight tries to nil, but then they faced the highly fancied National League One side, Ealing Trailfinders, coached by former Warlingham coach Steve Wagstaff.

Despite a sterling effort, Warlingham went down by four tries to two and needed to win their final group game to stay in the main competition.

Worth Old Boys were a well-drilled outfit and at the half-time whistle the score was equal with one try apiece. In the second half, Warlingham's determination and support play came good and they scored two more tries to put them into the knockout stage of the main tournament.

In the quarter-final they were pitted against a Saxons' invitation side, formed of a Richmond development sevens boasting a number of fit and pacy academy players.

Warlingham scored three tries to Saxons' one and cruised into the semi-final where they met another National League One side, Esher.

The bitter wind and snow blizzard conditions hampered open play. Esher took a two-try lead, which they extended in the second half with two quick scores. However, Warlingham were not to be outdone. They pulled back two well-taken tries to reduce the deficit to a mere five points. They continued to press for several minutes but were unable to breach the tight Esher defence and lost by just one score.

Esher went into the final against Ealing Trailfinders, who justly took the Cup and the prize money.

Old Caterhamians won the Plate competition, which was just reward for a well-organised competition in bad conditions.

After the tournament, Warlingham Sevens captain, Jon Osborne said: "The conditions were extreme for all teams and, with limited training, I think we did well to get to the latter stages of the competition. We have a schedule of sevens tournaments and will look to improve."

Warlingham's Auber Edwards and Alex Skinner were joint men of the competition for Warlingham but the squad deserved recognition for a spirited effort.


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