- Essex school doubles up in U18 and U15 Vase finals
- Royal Latin edge past Kirkham to join Felsted
Emanuel School 12 Felsted School 17
Royal Latin School 8 Kirkham Grammar School 5
Felsted from Essex will meet Royal Latin from Buckingham in the final of the Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 15 Vase at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, March 23 after winning their respective semi-finals at Broadstreet RFC on Sunday (March 10).
Felsted will enjoy a double day out in the Vase finals at Twickenham on March 23, with the U18s taking on Yarm School.
Their U15s recovered from 12-0 down to defeat Emanuel School from south London and reach the final.
Hamish Firth’s late try helped Royal Latin School to a nail-biting win over Kirkham Grammar School in the other semi-final.
Emanuel started strongly and opened the scoring within five minutes, Thirarit Chantschool forcing his way over after a maul was stopped short.
Soloman Bailey-Smith missed the chance to extend his team’s lead six minutes later as his penalty drifted wide.
But, from the resulting 22 drop-out, impressive centre Ben Sackey weaved his way through and set up wing Sam Edgcumbe for a try in the corner.
The London side looked like running away with it, but Felsted recovered well and, after establishing some field position, Matthew Lumb crossed underneath the posts on 23 minutes. James Lennon added the conversion.
Emanuel were full of enterprise at the start of the second period, but Felsted drew level nine minutes into the half after going wide off first phase from a lineout, captain Stefan Warner the beneficiary on the left wing.
And the comeback was complete 15 minutes from time when Lumb went over for his second, the rangy full back gathering a clearance kick before setting off on an arcing run towards the corner.
Felsted coach, Richard Feldman, said: “The boys have shown all season that they can come from behind and win close matches.
“It was all nerves early on and I didn’t think that we were actually going to get going.
“But as you saw, about 10 minutes from the end of the first half, we took over the game and played wide, expansive rugby.
“It’s absolutely amazing [to have two teams going to Twickenham]. Our Year 10s have cancelled their ski trip for one day so that we can play at Twickenham and they’ve happily done that.
“We’re all so proud of them.”
Royal Latin enjoyed the better of the first half in their semi final, with flanker Firth, wing Sam Burgin and fly half Will Hughes offering the greatest threat.
Hughes’s 25-metre penalty on 12 minutes was the only score of an attritional first half in which Kirkham affirmed their dominance up front, but were limited to a couple of Oliver Kitchen half-breaks in terms of opportunities.
Royal Latin had a couple of glorious chances after the restart, as James Bassford was denied only by a toe in touch and Archie James shoved out in the act of scoring.
Kirkham withstood the onslaught and appeared to have even snatched victory nine minutes from time when Kitchen went over on the left after a number of phases, the wing having made the initial telling break.
But Latin came storming back and, after a bullish carry from Firth and a sniping run from Hughes, the ball was swung back to the former lurking out wide to grab the winning score.
Royal Latin coach, Ian Gould, said: “When we let in the try and we went down with a few minutes to go, I didn’t know if we could come back.
“It was a really nerve-racking game, but we ran out of steam at times in the forwards and didn’t get quick ball.
“Kirkham are a fantastic school and battled very hard, but I think we just about deserved it.
“Those boys have worked so hard since they joined the school and it was always our target to get [to Twickenham] this year.
“I’m so proud of them and the backing the school has given them.”