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2007 : Charlie Sacarello Memorial Rugby Match Review

Charlie Sacarello Memorial Rugby Match

Sunday 21st October 2007Worth Old Boys versus Stonyhurst old boys

Charlie Sacarello (B’97) was a much-loved Worth boy who died in a tragic accident shortly after finishing his A-levels at Worth.  It left hundreds of his family and friends at a great loss.  Many of his friends and family attended StonyhurstCollege– our Jesuit brothers up in Lancashire.

As a mark of remembrance, around 250 people met up on his birthday to celebrate his life – a decade after his tragic death.  And what better way to do so than playing the game he loved so well, and was so annoyingly good at …Rugby!

The day kicked off with everyone attending a mass held by Fr. Luke – the 250 attendees filled a good half of the Church.  It was truly wonderful to see so many people reunited after such a long period of time, on what turned out to be the sunniest day of the year to date.

As Worth and Stonyhurst are not on the same schools Rugbycircuit, both teams arrived on the day not really knowing what to expect from each other.  Our aim was to try and reunite as many of the 1st XV of the 96-97 season that Charlie had played in, and of course to include family members who had been at Worth.  The 96-97 1st XV team remains one of the most successful all-time teams at Worth, and so Stonyhurst’s task was never going to be an easy one.

It was apparent before kick off that this game had a little more edge than most WOBS fixtures, as there were several egos at stake.  There had been months of banter preceding the game as to who was, in fact, the better rugby-playing school!  Certainly Stonyhurst have an incredible pedigree, but this match had far more riding on it than your normal game.  Stonyhurst sang a rousing, yet out-of-tune, rendition of ‘Pater Noster’ to try and intimidate the Worth side (I believe one player burst out laughing at the sound of it, so I’m not sure how well that tactic worked), and there followed a very moving one-minute silence.

For eighty minutes both teams smashed each other!  Every individual who stepped onto the pitch was totally committed and passionate about wearing their school colours.

Worth had a simple but effective game plan – soak up the pressure; work tirelessly in the forwards led by Stephen Ebbett (R’97); throw it wide when the time was right to the pace of Nick Vasquez (G’97) and Teddy Sacarello (B ’06) – respectively, Charlie’s cousin and brother.  As expected. Stonyhurst came out with all guns blazing, but they couldn’t hold off Worth’s relentless and superbly organised attack that was camped deep in their half.  Rewardingly, we secured a try in the top right corner, with the conversion narrowly missed by Sam Barnett (C’97).  Stonyhurst continued to battle hard in the first half, while Steve Whyte’s (B ’98) spotless throwing in at the line-out was accurately hitting the jumpers at 2 and 4, proving that Ben Duke (C’97) isn’t in fact as heavy as he looks after all!  The forwards battled away incessantly, with notable carries from Mic Cataldo (S’97) and James Burt (C ’98) gaining yards, but frustratingly being stopped by a combination of poor refereeing and hard hits from the Stonyhurst pack.  Most unfortunately for Worth, our ‘safe-as-houses’ fly-half, Sam Barnett (C’97), limped off with a hip strain, which is testament to his hard work in National League Two with Westcombe Park.

The first half was predominantly locked in a stalemate, save the two penalties apiece.

So, we broke for half-time where changes were made, and the same commitment followed in the second half.  Matt Pardo (B’01) deftly slotted in at fly-half replacing Sam, but he too was soon sidelined and Worth began to tire psychologically.  Suddenly Stonyhurst were on the front foot and looking confident with ball in hand.  Two almost identical tries were scored on the left wing and in the space of five minutes, Stonyhurst had turned the game around and now led 13-8.

The onslaught from Worth soon arrived.  For nearly ten minutes Stonyhurst stood strong on their try line.  To Worth’s credit we gave it everything, but to no avail with Stonyhurst’s  pack standing strong when it was needed the most. Some darting and direct hole-punching – by Pete Hilton (G’98) and Ebbett (R’97) in the forwards, as well as Richard ‘Gooch’ Cottrell (R ’98) in the backs – were frustratingly halted by a referee who seemed intent on disallowing a free-flowing continuous game.  Alas it was too late, and for Stonyhurst the game was won.

A huge thank you to Father Luke, Des Calnan and to all those spectators and supporters (both friends and family) who made this such a great event.  So great, in fact, that it is sure to become a yearly fixture.  Get your boots out lads …..

Rob Cottrell (R’97)