Friday, April 21, 2006
England Under 16 A finished their season in solid if unspectacular style when they beat Wales Under 16 A 10-9 at Clifton today (April 21), but they left it late and then had to endure a long-range penalty shot that could have snatched the prize for Wales.
England scored the only try of a game in which defenses were dominant in injury time to take the lead for the first time. Prop Ben Bateman (Trinity School & Surrey) got the touchdown after a powerful rolling maul by the England pack had created the chance.
The task of clinching victory fell to fly-half Jack Muggridge (The Howard School & Kent), who had earlier landed a penalty, and he made no mistake.
Even then there was time for more drama as Wales were awarded a very difficult shot from near touch in the dying seconds, but although he had earlier landed two penalties to keep Wales ahead, replacement Joe Deacon (Cardiff) was narrowly off target.
Daniel Ellis (Rhymney & Caerphilly) had given Wales a 3-0 half-time lead with a penalty, but neither side was able to find a way through some robust, well-organised defending until England trundled over at the death.
"It wasn't an epic by any means," said England Manager David Maughan afterwards. "It was a very tight game with neither team able to engineer a clean break in the face of some very good tackling.
"After all the team changes and reshuffles that are part of the highly enjoyable and productive Millfield Festival, it was good to climax the season with this game, which means a lot to both camps.
"The fact that we edged the win gives a good season a positive conclusion."
The England Under 16 programme ends in France next weekend (Sunday, April 30) when the 'senior' sides take on the French in Castres as part of a two-match programme which also includes England Under 18s.
England U16 A: Jack Wallace (Aylesbury GS & Buckinghamshire); Nathaniel Lowers (Carlton-le-Willows & Notts, Lincs & Derby), Oliver Grove (Rugby School & Warwickshire), Fred Burdon (RGS Newcastle & Northumberland), James Short (Tonbridge & Kent); Jack Muggridge (The Howard School & Kent, Josh Stevens (Millfield & Somerset); Benjamin Bateman (Trinity School & Surrey), Edward Stagg (Colston's & Bristol), Philip Swainston (Harrogate GS & Yorkshire), Peter Elder (RGS High Wycombe & Buckinghamshire), Tom Holmes (Sandbach School & Cheshire), William Fraser (Berkhamstead CS & Hertfordshire), Guy Mercer (King Edward School,Bath & Somerset), Richard Jenkins (Torquay BGS & Devon).
Replacements: Christopher York (Epsom College & Surrey) for Elder; Thomas Cokell (Settle College & Yorkshire) for Mercer.