Claver's triumph in opening battle
ST PETER Claver College won the all-Ipswich battle to open the Queensland Confraternity tournament at Brothers yesterday, but not without a fight.
SPCC beat St Edmund's College 16-6 to begin their campaign for a third successive top-four finish in the right fashion.
It looked like St Edmund's were in for a hiding when SPCC five-eighth Anthony Murray caught the ball from the kick-off and ran 80m to almost score. But he was brought down a metre from the line and penalised for a double movement.
It was the first of successive penalties St Edmund's received and they scored from the second when prop Luke O'Doherty barged through some flimsy defence.
That was where the joy ended for St Edmund's however, as SPCC gradually asserted its superiority.
SPCC led 8-6 at half-time and was increasingly dominant through the second half as their confidence grew.
Despite the wet conditions SPCC looked best when they moved the ball, with key playmakers Murray, halfback Cruz Elder and fullback Daniel Ioane putting their stamp on the match.
St Edmund's knew they had to play mistake free football to stay in the contest and couldn't do so, with conditions no doubt contributing.
But the St Edmund's players and coaching staff remained upbeat after the loss, knowing SPCC were one of the competition heavyweights.
Both team's second round matches late yesterday and third round games this morning will determine which pool they progress to.
St Edmund's lock Archie Taylor was named his team's best for the match and he too was positive following the match.
"I'm still on a high," he said immediately after the game. "We did pretty well for a school whose major sport is rugby union. We stuck it to them. Even in the last five minutes the game was not out of reach."
While St Peter Claver has been targeting this tournament all year, St Edmund's had to overcome a short campaign following on from the end of the rugby union season two weeks ago.
They were also dealing with the absence of several star players through injury and rugby representative commitments. So it was no surprise SPCC was able to wear them down.
"They kept the intensity up the whole way through," Taylor conceded when asked what the main difference between the two teams was.
The loss didn't dent any of the team's confidence about its tournament prospects.
Taylor said they were still targeting a semi-final appearance and he hoped to be selected in the Queensland Confraternity merit side.