- Fraser kicks 15-points to secure U18 Cup title
- Brave Ravens Wood School put to the sword by victorious Leys
Photo: Capture the Event
Dominic Fraser kicked all of Dulwich College’s points as the London school won their maiden U18 Daily Mail/RBS Cup at Twickenham.
Centre Fraser nudged Dulwich, who eliminated holders Whitgift en route to the final, in front with a 6th minute penalty, with Max Stelling drawing Old Swinford level five minutes later.
The duel continued as Fraser struck three more points, although centre Stelling’s second effort, this time from the Dulwich 10-metre line, dropped under the crossbar.
But it was Old Swinford who scored what turned out to be the only try when the influential Stelling released Cass Brookes for a five points in the corner following a strong surge from Brookes’ fellow winger Ese Attah.
The Midlanders’ lead lasted barely two minutes, however, as they infringed at the breakdown and were punished by a superbly struck Fraser penalty from 43 metres that saw Dulwich enter the break a point ahead.
The opening exchanges of the second half were even with neither side able to seize control of the match, but Old Swinford crucially lost hooker Fred Brookes to the sin bin after he collapsed an otherwise inexorable Dulwich driving maul, allowing Fraser to slot his fourth penalty.
With Old Swinford still a man light, Fraser kicked yet another penalty after an offside to extend the Londoners’ advantage to seven points.
Even with Brookes returning to the field and Old Swinford back to their full complement, the Stourbridge side struggled to maintain possession for any significant period of time and therefore failed to exert pressure inside opposition territory.
They battled bravely in search of an equalising score, but Dulwich enjoyed the better of the scarce chances that remained and saw out the match with ease in front of their sizeable band of vociferous supporters.
U18 Vase: They Leys School 16 - 8 Ravens Wood
Photo: Capture the Event
Oliver Webber’s second half try ensured that The Leys School edged a brave Ravens Wood School to lift the U18 Daily Mail RBS Vase at Twickenham.
The early part of the match witnessed a battle of the kickers, with Ravens Wood’s Tom Coombs successful with one of two efforts and The Leys’ fly half Will Hooley slotting his sole attempt.
Centre Will McGahey registered the first try on 21 minutes for The Leys after a penetrating Seb Howarth dart up the left touchline had established a firm platform from which to attack, with the former finishing off an overlap in the corner.
On a day in which neither kicker excelled despite the relatively calm conditions, Coombs pushed another three-pointer wide as The Leys conceded a penalty from the subsequent kick-off, before Hooley was off-target with both a drop goal and penalty attempt to leave The Leys holding a slim five-point advantage at the break.
Highly rated England U19 international Hooley did rediscover his kicking boots after the restart when he slotted a fine three points from a wide position on 38 minutes.
Coombs, who kicked so impressively in his side’s semi-final victory over Reading Blue Coat School, spurned the opportunity to cancel out that Hooley strike as he missed another penalty.
And the Bromley school were made to pay for their profligacy when Leys Hugh Thomson crossed out wide on 53 minutes, the increasingly confident Cambridgeshire side taking advantage of Ravens Wood’s temporary reduction to 12 men as a result of three injuries in the same move.
Ravens Wood battled to find a route back into the match but struggled to dent a steadfast blue and white defensive wall, but a yellow card for McGahey for killing the ball provided the gap for that Ravens Wood had been searching for as Sean Osborn squeezed over just inside the touchline.
With eight points separating the teams and little time remaining, the conversion was crucial, but replacement Paul Broadhurst’s excellent shot cannoned agonisingly off the post and The Leys clung on to victory.
Speaking after the game, Ley's captain Fraser Heathcote said:
"To come to Twickenham and win the double, the day after my eighteenth birthday, is just fantastic. We've come up against some big battles on our way to the final so to win is just brilliant.
"A huge thanks must go out to our whole senior management team at the school, without them we couldn't have come this far. They've been with us through thick and thin, as have all the parents and supporters here today. A special thanks as well to our coaches Liam Copley and Chris Rowe who have supported us the whole way through"