The 2018 John Smiths Pock 7s produced another big sporting occasion as once again close to 3,000 people packed into Percy Road for six hours of high speed rugby capped by an outstanding final.
While snow had covered large parts of the north east, Pocklington escaped the worst of the weather and was blessed with weak sunshine as Pock 7s regulars came from near and far for their annual Easter rugby reunion. The event was also the first of the RFUs 2018 Secure Trading 24/Sevens series that starts at Pocklington on Good Friday and ends with a national finals day at Bath RFC in July.
The last game of the Diamond Jubilee Pock 7s brought together the day’s two best sides – Manchester Metropolitan University, last year’s runners up, and Oxfam Crusaders. The end to end action saw it still deadlocked at 19-19 at the final whistle, forcing them to go to sudden death extra-time. Twice Manchester looked to have won it, but an unbelievable last ditch tackle saved the day first time, then a dropped ball blew the next chance. Oxfam Crusaders, the team formed from Norfolk schoolmates in 2012 to raise money for charity, did not need a second invitation as they ran the ball from their own line to go full length for the golden try and lift the Pocklington title for the fourth time in its 60-year history.
The final was the showpiece, but there were plenty of marvellous moments throughout the day. Londoners, Richmond Renegades, pushed Oxfam Crusaders all the way in their quarter final. Host club Pocklington also reached the quarters, inspired by former England sevens skipper, Rob Vickerman, making a cameo comeback before jetting out to commentate at the Hong Kong 7s, but they were outpaced by Manchester. Two well contested semis saw Manchester put out Northern Exiles, local lads back home from university, 33-17; while Oxfam Crusaders had to pull out the stops to beat club side, Goole, the first winners of the competition way back in 1959, by 21-12.
The Plate competition also produced a cliffhanger finale, with Pocklington Porkers, a group of Ampleforth College old boys sponsored by Pocklington’s Feathers Hotel, edging out Beverley 22-17.
Beverley 5 Malton & Norton 38; Woldgate OB 40 Ionians Rams 5; Selby 10 Brookfield 24; Yorkshire Wild Turkeys 32 Pocklington Porkers 10; Three Bears Foundation 38 Old Hymerians 5; Driffield 10 Artland Dragons 33; Goole 43 Ionians Bucks 0.
Northern Exiles 31 Malton & Norton 7; Queens Own Yeomanry 0 Old Pocklingtonians 53;
Manchester Metropolitan Uni 26 Woldgaate OB 14; Pocklington 34 Brookfield 12; Richmond Renegades 26 Yorkshire Wild Turkeys 21; Oxfam Crusaders 36 Three Bears Foundation 5; Warrendale Wagyu 14 Artland Dragons 15; Goole 43 Ionians Bucks 0.
Northern Exiles 36 Old Pocklingtonians 0; Manchester Metropolitan Uni 31 Pocklington 7; Richmond Renegades 12 Oxfam Crusaders 24; Artland Dragons 5 Goole 17.
Northern Exiles 17 Manchester Metropolitan Uni 31; Oxfam Crusaders 21 Goole 12.
Manchester Metropolitan Uni 19 Oxfam Crusaders 24 (after sudden death extra time)
Beverley 22 Ionians Rams 15; Pocklington Porkers 48 Old Hymerians 14; Driffield 14 Warrendale Wagyu 15.
Beverley 22 Selby 19; Pocklington Porkers 26 Warrendale Wagyu 24.
Beverley 17 Pocklington Porkers 22.