- Cheshire strengthen Twickenham challenge
- Three teams still looking for Cup glory
The prospect of an all-Cheshire final in the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 18 Cup at Twickenham on Saturday, March 23, 2013 is still the stuff of dreams for the two schools still involved in the last eight of the competition, but just two more wins and the luck of the draw can make it happen.
At this stage, of course, there are no soft options and both King’s School, Macclesfield and Wilmslow High School have stern tests to overcome if they are to get into the semi-final draw on Monday, February 11, 2013.
That said, the pair have demonstrated both character and skill en route to the quarter-finals, with King's still boasting an unbeaten record in 22 matches.
They accounted for Cheshire rivals Wirral GS in the previous round, a 31-0 away win being the product of a five-try display in which forward dominance allowed the side to gradually build an unassailable lead with a powerful second-half display after leading 5-0 at the interval.
“The scoreline may suggest that the game was easier than expected, but it was a fairly fierce encounter,” said King's Coach Ben Mason. “It was our second-half forward supremacy that presented one or two chances that we were able to take and keep edging further ahead.”
A trip to Northampton School for Boys in the next round presents no hardship in terms of being away from Macclesfield – this is their seventh away draw in eight matches – but it does impact on the Year 11 players in the side who are beginning to accumulate a hefty backlog of study having missed Wednesday lessons so frequently.
The game is scheduled for a 4pm kick-off, but King's have requested that, with floodlights being available, the start be delayed a little further to avoid a morning departure from Cheshire. That decision is with the RFU Competitions Department.
While King’s hit the road, Wilmslow have home advantage against Warwick School after upsetting the odds by beating Durham School in the previous round.
They produced a tenacious, gritty display to overcome the previously unbeaten North East side 19-14 after switching the game to Burnage RFC’s artificial pitch.
The game was the Cheshire team’s toughest test to date and balanced on a knife-edge until the final whistle after Durham had pulled back to within a score, stretching everyone’s nerves to breaking point.
Durham edged the first-half 7-6 with the only try, before Shotton put Wilmslow ahead with a smart solo effort involving a couple of neat chips. Wilmslow then extended their lead to 19-7 with a Gallagher try and Noden’s third penalty, but Durham rallied with a converted try to create a very tense climax.
They now have home advantage on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 against Warwick School.
Bishop Heber’s Under 15 Cup win over St Paul’s School, Barnes projected another Cheshire team into the semi-finals, their 17-3 victory leaving them just one triumph away from an outing at Twickenham on Daily Mail RBS Final Day on March 23, 2013.
They now await the semi-final draw on Monday, February 11, 2013, but having accounted for heavyweights Lancaster RGS, Bradford Grammar and St Paul’s in their last three games, they will not be short of confidence.
Under 15 Cup interest on the other side of the Pennines centres on QEGS Wakefield, who signalled their serious intent with a 36-19 win at King’s Grantham in Round 7. They now travel to London Oratory on Thursday (February 7) as they seek to join Bishop Heber in the last four.
Daily Mail RBS Quarter-Final Draw
Northampton School for Boys v The King’s School, Macclesfield (Wednesday, February 6)
Wilmslow High School v Warwick School (Wednesday, February 6)
Bishop Heber 17 St Pauls 3
Bromsgrove 13 RGS High Wycombe 3
London Oratory v QEGS Wakefield (Thursday, February 7, 2013)
Warwick v Wellington College
Ashbourne or The King’s School, Grantham or St Columba’s College v St Ambrose College (Rd 7 – St Ambrose 29 Harrogate GS 12)
Loughborough Grammar School v Horsforth School or Yarm School (Rd 7 – Yarm 29 Altrincham GS 5)
U15 Vase: Royal Latin v Tadcaster School,
Old Swinford Hospital v Kirkham (Round 5 – Kirkham 26 Yarm 10)
All the Daily Mail RBS Schools semi finals will once again be held at Broadstreet RFC, the dates and KO times for the relevant competitions being:
U18 Cup – March 2, 2013 (match 1 – 11am / match 2 – 1pm)
U18 Vase – March 3, 2013 (match 1 – 11am / match 2 – 1pm)
U15 Cup – March 9, 2013 (match 1 – 11am / match 2 – 1pm)
U15 Vase – March 10, 2013 (match 1 – 11am / match 2 – 1pm)
Admission will be £3 for adults and £1 for juniors. The matches will also be streamed live on RFU.com