The SPB netball team started the day with a strong win against Watson Farley & Williams. Some consistent shooting (in spite of the downpour of rain during play) led Squires to an 8-4 victory.
The ladies, however, faced a very strong Pinsent Masons side in their second group game and narrowly lost, even though they put in a valiant defence against their shooters. But, after 39 Essex Street failed to turn up (our name must have preceded us!), a win-by-default put the girls through to the play-offs of the plate. The team rallied together and (buoyed by some enthusiastic support from the sidelines) brought home a well-deserved victory against Simmons & Simmons (8-4). This was a satisfying win for the team as Simmons was the only team they lost to in 2017!
The afternoon brought a hard-fought semi-final against Irwin Mitchell. Despite a wholehearted effort and a comeback in the second half, the ladies missed out on a place in the final, leaving the rugby 7s team to fight for silverware later in the afternoon.
Earlier in the day, the boys had run out onto a rain-soaked practice pitch for their first match against William Fry. Away from the main stands, it was a slippery, muddy encounter. But, the pace and movement of the SPB boys shone through, and SPB were in the end comfortable winners, with 5 tries to William Fry’s 1.
The team worked through their group opposition with relative ease, beating Slaughter and May (by 5 tries to 1) and Linklaters (by 5 tries to 2), but came up against difficult opposition in their first knock-out game, against Le Fosse Associates. After a tight first half, the scores were even, but some neat passing at the beginning of the second helped SPB take control, and a clever inside run and pass delivered a good try which opened up the game, with SPB able to use their wide attacking options and score two more before the final whistle.
By the semi-final, the clouds had cleared and a good crowd had gathered at the main stands. Pinsent Masons presented a big physical team, with a strong defensive line, and it was clear that this game would be won by the team who used their possession most effectively. The game ended in nail biting fashion as a storming run gave Squires a decisive win (4 tries to 3), setting up a replay of last year’s final, SPB v Goldman Sachs.
Despite the attrition and effort given in the early rounds, the final was a fast, entertaining encounter, with both teams keen to keep the ball moving (as shown in this Law Society post). But our attacking persistence, combined with some fine defensive turnovers won through, and gave SPB victory by 5 tries to 2.
Another great success; next year SPB will have their sights firmly set on the double!