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Warwick School through to final four

14 February 2014

  • Warwick School through to final four for second consecutive year
  • Now face Durham School at Allianz Park 

Warwick School have reached the semi-finals of the NatWest Schools U18 Cup for the second year in a row after they came through a brutal quarter-final to beat Stowe 12-5 at Stowe on Wednesday (February 12).

In a game that started, stopped, started and changed pitch, two first-half driving mauls were enough to send Warwick School through.

After five minutes of play with the pitch under attack by hail stones the size of golf balls, the referee had to pull the players off. When the taps were finally turned off, and the players returned, Warwick set about winning the territory battle.

The bottom left-hand corner on the slope looked like a patch to probe, and when Warwick finally bought themselves some time there, the extent of its value became quickly apparent.

The mud was thicker, and trying to resist a well-organised driving maul coming down the slope proved impossible, a James Ainsworth try the evidence.

Considering the atrocious conditions, this was as fast and entertaining as you could have hoped for. The kicking battle was fascinating, and its importance was reflected in the urgency of the chases.

Warwick edged that battle, and Stowe were perhaps a little guilty of playing too much rugby. Déjà-vu struck when Warwick found themselves in the same left-hand corner again.

Another powerful maul saw Will Priestley go over for Warwick. Henry Stride then landed a crucial touchline conversion.

When Stowe finally managed to drag themselves from the mire of their own half it was approaching half-time.

The home side unleashed an assault on Warwick's line with pick and go after pick and go. Centres Rotimi Segun and Drew Todd added their weight to the forwards cause, and Todd looked as though he had cut the perfect line only to be forced into dropping a George Silk pass with the try line beckoning. That gave Warwick a 12-0 lead at the break.

With the slope in their favour, one sensed Stowe would have their moments to come back into the match.

That moment came in try corner once again, and unsurprisingly it was the driving maul that provided the five points for Stowe, with flanker John Hawkins finding himself on the end of a dominant 15-metre shunt.

Whilst Stowe were very much back in the game, they were unable to buy enough time in the Warwick 22, and a seven-point scoreline was quickly growing from a steep hill into a mountain to overcome.

A bad-looking injury to Warwick scrum half Harry Bassett, a prominent figure in all things good for the away side, brought play to a halt for ten minutes.

Eventually the match was moved to the pitch adjacent, and an attritional battle ensued between Warwick's 22 and the halfway line.

Stowe struggled to really impose themselves in the closing stages of what had proved to be a thrilling contest in challenging conditions.

Warwick School

1 Oliver Matthews
2 William Priestley
3 Noah Thorne
4 Joshua Fox
5 James Ainsworth
6 Devon Berrington (vc)
7 Joe Blake (c)
8 Matthew Riley

9 Harry Bassett
10 Henry Stride
11 George Nellany
12 Carrick Waldron
13 Bryn Grantham
14 Thomas Howard
15 William Stride

Replacements:

16 James Bliss
17 John Anderson
18 Harry Abell
19 James Allen
20 Joshua Emery
21 Joel Othen-Lawson
22 Jordan Ainslie

Stowe

1 Charlie Mason
2 Harvey Derby (Captain)
3 Jack Strong
4 Jack Wallis
5 Seb Cecil
6 John Hawkins
7 James Hill
8 Max Marston

9 Murray Aitchison
10 George Silk
11 Myles Coe
12 Rotimi Segun
13 Drew Todd
14 Sehun Coker
15 Kyle Browne

Replacements:

16 Hugo Ellison
17 Ollie Wright
18 Oscar Williams
19 Jamie Angle
20 Piers Fountaine
21 Charlton Kerr
22 Tom Johnson

 

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