CLAIRES Court School first team travelled to Allianz Park to participate in a curtain-raising fixture before the Aviva Premiership match between Saracens and Wasps on Sunday.

The Maidenhead school faced Yorkshire-based Queen Ethelburga’s at the home of the European Champions, an old enemy with whom Claires Court have contested numerous Independent School Association national finals in recent years.

Both sides were clearly keen to impose themselves and the opening exchanges were physical and played at a frantic tempo.

Claires Court got the better of the early arm wrestle and found themselves 7-0 ahead after inside centre Connor Thomas crashed his way over the line after excellent phase play which involved the whole team.

The lead was quickly extended after Teo Gaster reacted fast to the awarding of a penalty close to the Queen Ethelburga’s line, tapping and passing to Mason Scott who dived over from short range.

As Claires Court tired towards the end of the half Queen Ethelburga’s managed to register two scores, with first a penalty and then an unconverted try.

The half-time score of 12-8 was a fair reflection of an evenly contested half in which neither side were willing to take a backward step.

The second half coincided with the arrival of the star studded Saracens squad to the stadium, many of whom stopped to watch as Claires Court took control.

The forward pack upped their work rate and physicality, and gave Kieran Grey the platform to kick for territory and keep Queen Ethelburga’s pinned in their own half.

The period of extended Claires Court pressure was rewarded with try. This time captain Todd Muil crashed over the line after another free flowing move.

With time almost up Connor Thomas kicked a further penalty to seal an impressive 20-8 victory and round off a very special day for all involved.

Scott Harris, Claires Court Director of Rugby said, “It was a fantastic experience for everyone involved with the squad and an opportunity that doesn’t come round all that often.

"The boys were absolutely chuffed to put in such a strong performance, especially knowing that some of the best rugby players in the world were there watching the second half.

"We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I’m sure it’s a day that none of our players will forget.”

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