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Back in September, Marling School put me through to the Gloucestershire County U18 trials, taking place at Dursley RFC. This trial was attended by 140 other rugby players from around the county, making it a very tough competition. From this trial, a group of 40 players was selected to train and then play a further trial game vs Somerset, which I was unable to play in due to injury, however I still went along to the game as being selected for the final group was something very important to me. As a result of this selection process, two squads of 23 were selected to play in the County divisional games in December vs Berkshire and Dorset & Wiltshire. To my delight, I was selected to start in both games, as well as being chosen to captain the side against Dorset & Wiltshire; an achievement I am very proud of. A total of 8 counties were involved in the same process, playing two games each, in which South West selectors and many other scouts watched the games. Late December, I received an email to say that I, alongside one other player from Gloucestershire U18’s, had been selected as a part of a group of 38 players (from a total of 250 across all 8 counties) to attend a final assessment session for the South West U18’s in late January. This session was 6 hours long, whereby South West and England school boys coaches assessed us fully as individuals, in order to then select a final 23 players from the 8 counties to play for South West U18’s. Five days later, I received an email from the team manager to say that I had made it into the final squad; a moment of such great relief and joy that I will never forget. Since then, we have played against Gloucester Academy, and are beginning to start our preparations for the divisional weekend in Birmingham at the end of February. To say that I captained my county and have been selected for South West U18’s this season is something I am unbelievably proud of, and I am hugely looking forward to the future.

Harry Lightfoot


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