Seb Williams-Parry said it was “dream come true” after captaining Jumeirah English Speaking School to the Gulf Under 19 Boys title at the Emirates Dubai Sevens.
The Arabian Ranches-based school had never played in a Pitch 1 final in the history of the annual sevens tournament.
Then they did so twice in the space of a little over an hour on Friday evening. First, their female side were runners up to Dubai College in the Gulf U19 Girls final.
Then their boys went one better as they beat Dubai Exiles 19-5 in their cup final.
“I have been at the school since I was in Foundation Stage 1, so it means a lot to me,” said Williams-Parry, who scored the opening try of the final, and later lifted the trophy.
“To do the school proud, with everyone watching on the sidelines, it was a dream come true.
“You would always see the big kids around school, thinking they were like full-grown men, then see them out there on these fields.
“You always wanted to be out on that pitch, then when you are out there, you would think you would be nervous. But you actually feel at home because you have seen it all the time.
“Constantly watching the older kids playing out there and dreaming about it, then when you are out there yourself, it feels like home.”
Even as the sides were lined up side by side in the bowels of the main stand before running out for the match, Williams-Parry said his side felt calm.
“There was a bit of banter between the two teams because we are familiar with each other, but our team was in such a good mental state,” the JESS captain said.
“We thought, ‘This is our time now, and we are going to show them how we play.’ Our main focus was not playing any differently to how we play in training.
“We just wanted to play the way we do, and carry out our gameplan, and that is how we got to where we are.”
On their way to making history for their school, JESS avenged a painful defeat from 12 months earlier. They had lost to Dubai English Speaking College in the semi-final in 2022.
They won when the two sides met at the same stage this time around, and then assumed DESC’s title in the subsequent match.
“It was like déjà vu – we had a really tight game against them in the semi-final last year,” said Josh Elliott, the JESS coach.
“They pipped us. Fair play, they were brilliant and went on to win it, and this year we just pipped them by one try. We are really pleased with how much we have grown as a squad.
“We have had some excellent leadership from our Year 13 students. They had that experience of losing, and knew what it feels like, and brought us all together at the end.
“It has been a long journey, probably about six years in the making, and our girls were on [Pitch 1] just before which was also making history, so it was good for us to seal the deal. It has been a really good weekend.”