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Photo by Mark Ealey

Match Preview: St Bede’s College 1st XV v Shirley Boys' High School 1st XV

Rugby —

At 2:45pm on Saturday 11 July at Shirley Boys' High School Round 10 of the Miles Toyota 1st XV Championship 2022

Recent history 

St Bede’s record against Shirley BHS:

• 2021: Won by 38-8

• 2020: Won by 28-24

• 2019: Won by 25-18

• 2018: Won by 31 v 21


Shirley Boys' High School: 

• Founded: 1957

• Motto: Interest Omnium Recte Facere; (Do what is right)

• Roll: 1280 

• Miles Toyota Championship:

Semi-Finalist: 2001, 2005, 2008

Runner-up: 2003, 2015, 2016


St Bede’s College: 

• Founded 1911

• Motto: Fide et Opere; (By Faith and By Works)

• Roll: 800

• Miles Toyota Championship:

Semi-finalist: 2003, 2013, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

Runner-up: 2007, 2012

Champions: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015


Points of interest: 

• The origin of the name ‘Shirley’ for which the suburb that Shirley Boys' High School is named after is from the surname of the benefactor of the land gifted to the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1868. She was at that time known as Mrs John Buxton and formerly as Miss Susannah Shirley. And from this Church came the name of the village which grew up around it and then in time the suburb itself. By the 1930’s there was a groundswell of support for a secondary school in the East that would eventually become Shirley Boys’. Transport to distant schools such as CBHS was difficult due to the lack of sealed roads. In 1934 the lupin-covered sandhills were levelled and converted into the site for Shirley Intermediate School and 23 years later, Shirley Boys’ High School was created on its southern boundary. As the only single-sex boys state secondary school on the east side of Christchurch, Shirley’s roll expanded swiftly and offered a full academic curriculum as well as many sporting and cultural activities. 

• In 2011 the land at Shirley Boys' High School (SBHS) suffered badly due to the earthquakes. The opportunity to relocate to a new purpose built school was taken up and in April 2019 the school moved, along with Avonside Girls' High School, to the former QEII Park in Burwood. • The first rugby match between St Bede’s College and SBHS was in 1962 and St Bede’s won 12-3. Shirley achieved their first win in 1968 (3-0) and won by their record score (26-0) a year later. In the first 23 games, St Bede’s won 19 times, post 1985 the matches were more evenly shared up until the mid-2000’s with St Bede's then regaining the upper hand.

• In the period of the Crusaders 1st XV Schools Championship (now the Miles Toyota Championship) SBHS have been victorious against St Bede’s six times the annual college match. Those games were in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2015, 2016 and 2017. In 2015 St Bede’s won the return match of note - the Championship Final. This is a write up of that match…“In a mostly tight tussle, there was no fairytale finish for Shirley Boys’ who were seeking their first ever Crusaders region 1st XV championship. Instead it was a polished St Bede’s, once again laying claim as the best school-boy rugby team in the Crusaders region.In the first half both sides were finding their feet in front of a packed out Rugby Park, and along with some equally inconsistent goal kicking neither side could stretch any sort of lead. Going into the second half with a narrow 10-8 advantage, St Bede’s seemed to have their tails up.But it was not until first five eighths Tiare Day-Jones stabbed through a perfectly weighted grubber kick for impressive fullback Zach McKay to latch onto and run under the posts that the game started to blow open. Shirley Boys’ didn’t take long to hit back though with standout prop Brody McAlister snaring his second for the match with a determined pick and go. With St Bede’s up 17-13, they went on a winning run with 15 unanswered points including McKay grabbing his second try.”

• Historically Shirley Boys' have proved to be very difficult opponents once they reach play off matches. In the 2003 Championship Final they pushed Christchurch BHS all the way to the wire before going down 23-24 in a thriller. In the 2015 Championship Semi-Final they got their revenge against CBHS, when as fourth seed they went on to defeat (25-17) the No. 1 from the Championship league, before the loss to St Bede's in the Final. The following year (2016) they repeated the feat of beating the top round robin qualifier and returned to the Final, but again fell agonisingly short of winning the Championship. CBHS won 21-20 in a match full of drama with Shirley Boys' crucially missing a handy kick in the final few minutes and so lost their third Championship Final.• SBHS has therefore been runner up in the Championship three times. That said, just making the Championship Final is a significant accomplishment - as in the history of the competition only six schools have achieved that more than once. These being: CBHS (11 wins and twice runner up); St Bede’s (5 wins and twice runner up); Nelson (3 wins and 7 times runner up); Marlborough (1 win and twice runner up); Christ’s College and Shirley Boys' (three times runner up).• Saturday's match will be St Bede's first visit to the new Shirley BHS ground (the old QEII) following their move in 2019 and with the Shirley home match in 2020 played at Linfield Park.

• In terms of form in 2022 leading into Saturday’s match both have played six of the same teams this season. Bede’s have won all of those games. Shirley has won four, alongside a draw and a loss in the equivalent matches. Results as follows: Christ's College (Bede's won 22-15 / SBHS drew 30-30); St Andrew's (Bede's won 23-19 / SBHS lost 19-32); Selwyn Combined (Bede's won 42-7 / SBHS won 31-22); Roncalli Combined (Bede's won 58-13 / SBHS won 48-10); Timaru BHS (Bede's won 37-12 / SBHS won 16-15); Marlborough Boys' (Bede's won 19-10 / SBHS won 41-28). 

• The race for a playoff spot is heating up. Bede’s are fourth on the competition ladder and SBHS are in fifth place. Saturday’s match represents a must win game for both teams so expect a level of intensity that will match a playoff…

Image by: Mark Ealey