Mill Hill on the up

Mill Hill on the up
November 17, 2023
3 mins read

Trophy newbies look a force thanks to Skelly giving it some welly

Mill Hill are determined to force their way up the ladder in the SOCS Daily Mail Schools Trophy.

The north Londoners, whose former pupils include Saracens owner Nigel Wray, are enjoying another successful Trophy campaign after first entering only two years ago.

Seven wins out of eight is already one better than last season and they have three more fixtures to play, including a trip to champions Harrow on Saturday, December 2.

Head coach Aaron Liffchak, a former Saracens player, has led the improvement at Mill Hill over the last six years after a successful stint at Trinity School in Croydon.

‘We are determined to improve results and are looking to put a better fixture list together to test the players,’ he said. ‘They are working very hard and have been very well led by captain Toby Skelly this year.’

The fly-half’s kicking helped Mill Hill to their latest win, 14-0 against Bedford, following other notable scalps over Felsted, St George’s, Harpenden and Merchant Taylors’ Northwood.

Skelly is backed up by forwards Dan Synott and Liam Marshall plus full back Rafael Varona-Blakstad, who has forced his way into Saracens’ academy squad.

The Saracens connection has also been strengthened by the appointment of Chris Bajak, who is now working for the club’s academy and as head of performance at the school.

A test of Mill Hill’s strength will come next month when they face Harrow, who continue to mount a strong defence of the title they won for the first time a year ago.

Their most recent success was a hard-fought 38-32 triumph at Tonbridge, which keeps them narrowly ahead of second-placed Brighton College. Brighton maintained their challenge with a 46-10 win over St John’s Leatherhead.

Third-placed Ipswich kept the pressure on the top two by pipping Norwich School, 24-21, helped by a solo try from full back Connor Holdcroft.

Gloucester-based Sir Thomas Rich’s are leading the race to be the top state school in the Trophy. A 41-0 win over local rivals Pate’s Grammar School was their seventh win from eight games.

RGS High Wycombe — the state grammar whose ex-players include Matt Dawson and Christian Wade — lost ground on the Gloucester academy by suffering a first defeat in the Trophy this autumn, 11-16 away to Seaford College.

Up until this reverse, RGS had finished runners up to Kirkham in the prestigious St Joseph’s Festival and had recorded several notable wins including one at Whitgift. They have been well led by captain Joe Caesar.

The Trophy, organised by the schools management system, SOCS, is played over the autumn term by more than 140 schools teams from across England.

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