- Sandbach secure Under 18 Vase title
- Cheshire schools have now taken three of the four titles available
Sandbach School 14 -3 Norwich School
Sandbach made it a hat-trick for Cheshire schools in today’s Daily Mail RBS Schools Finals Day by lifting the Under 18 Vase in their first Twickenham final.
Tries from Scotland Under-17 flanker Will Bordill and number eight Rory Prentice sealed the title for Sandbach to follow victories earlier in the day for county rivals Lymm HS in the Under 15 Vase and Wilmslow HS in the Under 15 Cup.
Sandbach’s victory meant a double celebration for Lymm’s coaching team of Tom Hughes and Lee Pickles, who are both former Sandbach pupils.
Sandbach, the former school of Sale lock James Gaskell, were cheered on by a sizeable travelling support of their Green Army and were always in control of the game. They were also rock-solid in defence on the rare occasions that Norwich, also playing in their first Twickenham final, threatened.
Bordill, who will play for Scotland in next week’s Wellington Festival, emerged from a pile of bodies to claim the first try after Sandbach opted to kick a penalty to touch rather than goal. They won the resulting line-out and the pack shunted Norwich backwards from the resulting maul.
Full-back Thomas Doubleday added the conversion but tenacious Norwich were only four points adrift at the break after their fly-half and captain Rhys Davies-Horne slotted a 26th minute penalty.
Norwich needed a good start to the second half to stay in contention. Instead they missed important tackles which allowed Prentice to gallop up the short-side and under the posts for a well-taken try which Doubleday also improved.
Norwich’s team included England Under-16 centre George Catchpole who will fly out to Rome on Thursday morning to join his international team-mates ahead of the Four Nations Tournament.
Sandbach’s victory meant that their coach Sam Robertson won his friendly duel with his Norwich counterpart Iain Grieswood. Both were team-mates at Chester College but had not seen each other for several years until they were reunited at the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under-18 Vase semi-finals at Broadstreet near Coventry.
Sandbach captain Doubleday said: "At the start of the season we didn’t get away to a flying start so come here and do this for a school from a little town in Cheshire is absolutely amazing.
"The idea was to try to put them under pressure from the start and stick to our game.They knew that they would come at us in the forwards so we had to stand up to the challenge.
"We were 7-3 up at half-time in it could have been more. We got a bit of a telling-off at half-time so we knew we had to climb through the gears."
Norwich captain Davies-Horne said: "We are a bit disappointed with our performance but Sandbach are a good team and they took their chances well. We didn’t so at the end of the day that’s what is going to make the difference for you."