MATCH REPORT: On the 22nd of June 2019, a group of approximately seventy students and alumni of Imperial College London descended upon Grasshoppers RFC for the third annual Sparkes Cup since its revival in 2017. A competition steeped in history between the three constituent colleges of Imperial: the City & Guilds College, the Royal School of Mines and last but not least the Royal College of Science.
The day started in West Kensington, when a group of students, players and spectators boarded a bus towards our hosts for the day, Grasshoppers RFC. Arriving at the venue for 12.30pm, the players of the three colleges began to warm up for the round-robin seven-a-side tournament, whilst the spectators settled in for an exciting day of rugby.
The first match of the day saw the engineers take on the miners, who in previous years have struggled for numbers but were anything but intimidated and took the game to the engineers. This proved an exciting affair, with tries from either side and the referee excitedly awarding a penalty try. However, despite RSM’s best efforts, City & Guilds walked away the victors 29 to 14. Much the same appeared to follow, with the scientists now trying their luck against last years victors, City & Guilds. Despite a domineering first half by the RCS, legs seem to tire, and the opponents took full advantage, leaving the score once again at 29-14. With CGC already securing their place in the final, the RCS and RSM were set to face off for the remaining place. A game of the narrowest margins, it was impossible to tell who was going to come out on top, with the score changing minute by minute. And against all odds, the underdogs RSM, the smallest of the colleges, clinched the last place in the final by one point, with the score at 20-19.
In the final match of the day, competing for the coveted Sparkes Cup Trophy, the miners once again faced off against the guildsmen. A testament to guildsmen’s resilience and the miner’s tenacity, after three hard fought games, scores seemed to be coming out of nowhere, as had been the theme of the day. The match appeared to come down to the last minute, where a final score left it 26-19.
They do say ‘third time’s the charm’ and it definitely was for City & Guilds who take home the Sparkes Cup for the third year running. A huge congratulations also should go out to Aleksei Zaboronsky (RCSU), William Ridge (CGCU) and Charlie Braham (RSMU) for winning players of the tournament for their respective sides.
A special thanks must also go to the RCSA, the CGCA and the RSMA for sponsoring the event and without whom, the event could not have taken place.
Will someone finally take down the guildsmen in 2020?