BY NTIENSE WILLIAMS
The much talked about 3rd edition of the Ehibam Schools Rugby Tournament might have come and gone, but it’s memories will linger much longer in the minds of the participating pupils.
The third edition of the premier schools rugby championship in Benin City was held at the “Home of Rugby” – Edo Boys High School on Thursday 1st of December 2022 from 10am to 5pm with four invited Schools from both genders namely
1. EDO BOYS HIGH SCH, 2. IYEKOGBA SEC SCH, 3. ASORO GRAMMER SCH, 4. IHOGBE SEC SCH competed in the boys category, whilst Idia College, 2. Emotan College, 3. St Maria Gorethi, 4. Adesuwa Grammer School featured in the girls event.
IYEKOGBA Grammer School emerged champions of the Boys with 9Points in a round robin format of the Rugby Tournament. Host Edo Boys High School came second with 6 Points while Asoro Grammer School came third with 1 point as they drew one game and lost in two games.
Iyogbe Secondary School came forth with 1 point as well, but with less game point.
Master Danial Ehijeme of Iyekogba Grammer School won the clitering Highest Try Scorer Award with three TRYS, whilst Master Prosper Imonidhe of Iyogbe College Junior won the Most Valuable Player Award.
The defending champions Idia College retained the trophy with nine Points by defeating the other three teams, whilst Emotan College recorded 6 Points in two wins to come second in the girls category. In third position is new comers ST Maria Goretti with 1 Point whilst another new comer Adesuwa Grammer School came forth with 1 Point being a drew and two losses.
Ms Becky Okitipi scored 6 brilliant trys to emerge the Highest Try Scorer of the Girls tourney whilst Gift Uduku of Emotan College was adjudged as the girl’s Most Valuable Player.
Meanwhile Ms Becky also won the Tournament’s overall MVP with a surprise special award by a National Team Player Mr Monday Alex.
The event was graced by the Edo Boys Senior School Principal Mr OKHONINA O. alongside his Games Masters Mr Akinfolarin M Lumide of the Senior School and Mr Ifada Emhonsa of the Junior School respectively.
Other dignitaries present included a Rugby ardent follower Mr Ekpen and Mr Anthony Chukwuemeka who also represented the Ehibam GRIEFSHARE Foundation and made a pleasant lunch for all the Players.
According to the organiser of the event Mr Ntiense Williams popularly called “Mr Rugby” in Nigeria “I was so delighted to see the type of energy and spirit exhibited at this year’s Tournament. These students have a very good understanding and judgement of the beautiful game of Rugby!
Said he, “These are future players for the up coming Youth Games which Edo State Rugby Girls Team is a two time Gold Medalist”
Unfortunately some of them played barefooted to show their passion because they couldn’t afford rugby boots!
According to a message from the initiator of the program and the Foundation’s representative, Pastor Modupeola Irele “We are once again very happy to be back for the Ehibam’s 3rd Schools Rugby Tournament in 2022. It was launched in 2018 to encourage the sport of rugby among the young boys and girls from both primary and secondary schools in Edo State.
The wind behind the sail of the foundation is Late Ehisieme Alonge who was an ardent Rugby Player in the United Kingdom who spent a lot of time nurturing the young children in the beautiful game of Rugby”.
Said Dupe, “The foundation, with the push of the Edo State Head Coach and workaholic popularly know as “Mr Rugby” Ntiense Williams and his hardworking team of Coaches this year staged a superb invitational 4 female and 4 male teams tournament as a way to revive the Championship after the pandemic.
We are also so happy that the championship was a fantastic enjoyable injury free rugby tournament which cought the attention of majority of the host Edo Boys High School pupils and other students who throng the venue in droves.
We seriously look forward to the 4th edition next year with more pump and pageantry with the prospect of more sponsorship and most likely making it a national championship in the nearest future.
Our sincere appreciation goes to the Sponsors Ehibam GRIEFSHARE Foundation who have kept faith with us and the Edo State Sports Commission for endorsing the program and encouraging Rugby in the State, being one of the outstanding Sports Association that has always made the state proud in all it’s outings.