Bedford Modern School year-eight students Katie Sumner and Maddie Kent became the national schools under-13 rugby fives doubles champions following their appearance in the Girls’ Championships at Marlborough College in Wiltshire. This is the first time the girls had played competitively and the first time BMS had entered this annual event. They beat a pair of students from Christ’s Hospital School by 11 points to eight to clinch the title in the final game of the day.
Twelve-year-old Katie, who has been playing rugby fives for two years now, explained: “Maddie and I are the only girls who play rugby fives at BMS and have never played competitively before so it took a while for the news to sink in that we were actually national champions!”
Maddie, who has been playing for less than a year, added: “It was so exciting to win and as Christ’s Hospital School have won four times in the last five years we were determined to play our very best against them in the final.”
The girls also achieved medal positions in the singles competition. Maddie, who was knocked out in the first round of pool matches, went on to win the Plate competition and Katie progressed to the knockout, finishing in third place.
Phil Smith, BMS fives and fencing teacher, said: “Both girls showed amazing stamina, playing long games without a break. They faced stiff competition in the final but they performed exceptionally well and we are very proud of them indeed. To become under-13 national champions at their first competitive event is a fantastic achievement.”
Rugby fives is played in many schools, universities and clubs across the country. It is a game similar to squash but played with gloved hands rather than a racquet.