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NatWest Schools Cup: Round 4 North review

19 November 2013

  • Previously unbeaten Woodhouse Grove School lose to Merchant Taylor’s School, Crosby
  • NatWest Schools Cup new boys Ellesmere College beat Manchester Grammar School
Stockport Grammar in NatWest Schools Cup action

Photo: RFU Archive

There were a handful of key NatWest Schools Cup fourth-round clashes in the North, including one or two surprising results.

Perhaps the biggest shock of them all saw Merchant Taylor’s School, Crosby, the old school of former England lock and World Cup winner Ben Kay, beat the previously unbeaten Woodhouse Grove School 21-14.

In an exciting match, Merchant Taylor’s raced to a healthy 21-0 half-time lead thanks to a brace of tries from powerful centre Joe Sinclair, and one from Connor Boyne-Hulme.

Woodhouse Grove were never going to let their unbeaten season slip without a fight, and fight back they did in the second half scoring two tries, but it wasn’t enough as Merchant Taylor’s overcame some late tension to win 21-14.

Head of Sport at Merchant Taylor’s, Mr King, commented: ”From the outset our boys took the game to their opponents, they brought a real physicality to all aspects of their game and it was clear to see that they were not going to be dominated in this one.

“The boys know they have a lot to work on, especially to continue to develop their fitness levels as they were starting to struggle to play at the tempo of the game in the final 10 to 15 minutes.”

In another titanic fourth-round match Stockport Grammar beat The King’s School Macclesfield 21-7. Stockport scored tries through England U17 player Tom Morton, John-Paul Tyrell and Ciaran Johnson.

The win sets up a mouth-watering fifth-round clash with The Grammar School at Leeds. The two sides met in the last 16 in the Schools U15 Cup two years ago, the year Leeds won the competition, and with the bulk of the two sides being made up of those age groups, it should make for an intriguing outing. Leeds beat Giggleswick School 41-13 in their fourth-round match.

Head of Rugby at Stockport Grammar, Hugo Corbett, said: ”Full credit must go to captain Tom Morton and his side who competed with ferocity and no little skill from the start to the finish. What makes the next round interesting is that Leeds knocked us out in the U15 Cup on the way to winning two years ago.”

Elsewhere, NatWest Schools Cup new boys Ellesmere College came through a tough contest to beat Manchester Grammar School 31-16.

Ellesmere captain Ted Parker reflected: "We knew we needed a result after Saturday's narrow loss to Solihull. It was a great opportunity to bounce back from that defeat and I think the boys proved their character today.

"Manchester have been our first real threat in the Cup and we came through this test well. We know that there are no easy games in this competition from now on but we'll be relishing the challenge of Merchant Taylor's at home in a fortnight's time."

Elsewhere in the Cup there were wins for Barnard Castle, Lymm High School and RGS Lancaster among others.

In the U18 Vase competition Crossley Heath beat Ashville School 40-7, but the most significant result was Wirral Grammar School’s 17-5 win against St Ambrose College before half-term.

In the U15 competition Wilmslow High School prevented another fairy tale Cup run for Bishop Heber School in a 17-15 win against their Cheshire neighbours.

Woodhouse Grove U15s were able to do what their U18 side couldn’t when they beat Barnard Castle School 24-20, with Will Wood standing out by scoring a hat-trick for his side.