Feb 23 2012 By Tim Street
OMTs Image 1
Old Isleworthians 8-15 Old Merchant Taylors'
IT was a weekend of firsts for Old Merchant Taylors' Rugby Club – and they will keep coming!
On Saturday, the first team went top of Herts/Middx Division Two for the first time this season with a hard-fought 15-8 win at Old Isleworthians.
One of the noteable performances came from 17 year old winger Harry Bellman, who became the first lower sixth former from the Merchant Taylor School to play for the adult first team in living memory.
The following day, the club put out both an U17 and an U15 side for the first time ever, taking on Ruislip in a double-header, and although the U17s went down 36-14, the U15s gained revenge with a 27-17 victory.
And to complete the firsts, the club has been chosen to host the first ever home international for the RFU's new England U18 Clubs and Schools team – for the cream of the country's rugby youngsters who have chosen to pursue academic of career interests rather than sign with pro clubs.
Old Merchant Taylors' Northwood base will be the host venue when this new England side take on their Irish counterparts at 12pm on April 14.
It certainly makes for exciting times for the club as a whole, who only moved back to Northwood in September after decades spent playing in Watford.
Gordon Brown, youth chairman at OMTs, said: “Being picked to host the clubs and schools international has been the icing on the cake for what has been a very exciting season so far.
“Our first team got a hard-fought win in what started out as a mudbath at Old Isleworthians and turned into a quagmire. The conditions made for an error-strewn game, but we got the result to take us top, and it now means Harrow and Uxbridge are chasing us.
“Not only was it a noteable day for Harry Bellman, but we also had Jono Phillips, who is the current first XV captain for the school team, play 90 minutes of adult rugby for us at fly half, which is not his normal position.
“All of which shows the benefits of us moving back to the Merchant Taylors' School – we are able to offer a passage into adult rugby for talented youngsters still at the school.
“It's a far cry from losing them to other clubs – when we played Ruislip U17s they had three current and one former Merchant Taylors' lads playing for them.”