COUNTY rugby champions Haydon School made a gallant exit from the Emerging Schools North London Regional tournament when they bowed out to the eventual winners on Friday.
The Hillingdon school's year seven (U12s) side were beaten by Watford's Parmiters School in the regional competition at Bishop's Stortford after a superb run that eventually secured a third-placed finish.
After winning a local Hillingdon tournament, Haydon progressed to the Middlesex Emerging Schools Tournament, staged at the Wasps RFC training ground, and went all the way in the competition by winning six matches.
Their progress came thanks in no small part to skipper Ben Retter, who was their leading points scorer, and Nick White, who scored the decisive try in a 5-0 win over Drayton Manor School.
That put Haydon into the regional finals as Middlesex champions and, after one victory and two draws in the group stage, they had to face a Parmiters side who had won their three previous matches for a place in the final.
Haydon were just beaten 10-5, but they had the consolation of third spot after beating Drayton Manor in a third/fourth play-off.
PE teacher Graham Searle said: "To finish the London North Region Emerging Schools Final in third place was a fantastic achievement for all involved.
"With continued hard work and a few new additions to the squad, next year promises to be even more successful for our year seven rugby team."