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Warwick School advance to NatWest Schools U18 Cup final

08 March 2014

  • Warwick resist late Durham surge to reach Twickenham final
  • Watch all of the semi-finals action on www.rfu.com/rfutv 

Durham School 15 Warwick School 20 

Warwick v Durham

Photo: Capture the Event

Warwick School survived a late Durham School onslaught to reach the NatWest Schools Cup final, after running out 20-15 winners at Allianz Park today (March 8).

Warwick came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders, and scored within a minute. A sensational break by full back William Stride almost put wing Tom Howard in, but he was pulled down just short of the line. Hooker Will Preistley then forced his way over to hand Warwick a 5-0 lead.

Warwick were flying and Durham were in danger of being blown away by their opponents' intensity. After a torrid ten minutes, Durham re-gathered their sentience and began to see some joy territorially.

A good break by fly half Matt Proctor led to a shot at goal, but full back Adam Redman pulled the penalty wide. After their own ten-minute spell of pressure, Durham reduced the arrears through a Redman penalty.

The turning point in the half came 30 minutes in when Durham wing Garry Izomor, who had caused plenty of menace with ball in hand, was sent to the bin for an early tackle on Carrick Waldron.

Warwick exploited the extra space and almost went over after some lovely offloading among the forwards, but captain Joe Blake was hauled down just short. He wasn’t to be denied and scored moments later leaving Warwick 12-3 ahead at half-time.

Once again Warwick were straight out of the blocks in the second half, and it was full back Stride who caused the damage again, going over in the corner (17-3). Once again, Durham stemmed the blue tide a little following the score and breathed a sigh of relief when Izomor returned from the bin. Full back Redman made some useful runs, but turnovers let the side from the north-east down.

Warwick’s Jamie Shillcock pushed his side three scores clear with a straightforward penalty midway through the second half, and you couldn’t help but feel that the game had been settled there.

Redman continued to be Durham’s biggest threat and almost set up a try after a sensational break, but supporting scrum half Dan Taylor knocked the ball on in the act of scoring.

The game appeared to be slipping away from Durham, but a yellow card for Warwick fly half Henry Stride gave Durham a lifeline, as wing Matt Wilson went over seconds later.

Suddenly there was a dramatic momentum swing and minutes later the outstanding Redman ran in from 25 metres to score for Durham. Warwick were rattled, but they held firm and will now compete in their first final since 2007.

Durham full back Adam Redman commented: “I think we were a little bit flustered and we got a bit caught up. Our heads were not really in the game. We let the occasion get to us, and that punished us a lot when they scored almost straight away.

“Our defensive record has been pretty good, we knew they were going to come out and disrupt that because they thought it would get in our heads. It obviously affected us a little bit, but the boys showed great character to come back after that.”

A relieved Warwick captain Joe Blake added: ”We exerted ourselves so much in the first half and told ourselves: 'We are not losing this game.' We have been famous for our comebacks this season – to be fair to us it is not all that healthy – and we knew we had to smash it from the start today. That is exactly what we did. 

“Going down to 14 men did not help us. Durham are an awesome side and it was all credit to them for their comeback. It was really good to have a lot of support behind us; that really got us going.” 

There is more semi-finals action next week in the U15 Cup and Vase competitions, at Allianz Park –  streamed live on www.rfu.com/natwestschoolscup

U15 Cup – Saturday, March 15
Whitgift School v QEGS Wakefield - 12pm
Warwick School v Wellington College - 2pm

U15 Vase – Sunday, March 16
Altrincham Grammar School v Lymm High School - 12pm
Graveney School v St George’s College, Weybridge - 2pm

Finals - Twickenham Stadium - Saturday, March 29
U15 Vase: 11am
U15 Cup: 12.30pm
U18 Vase: 2pm
U18 Cup: 3.40pm

Entry is free  

You can also follow the competition here: www.facebook.com/natwestrugby and twitter.com/SchoolsCup.

Durham School

15 Adam Redman
14 Matt Wilson
13 Jacob Bushnell
12 Jack Balakeney
11 Garry Izomar
10 Matt Proctor
9 Dan Taylor

1 Jake Ellwood
2 Mark Davison
3 Alex Tunstall
4 Harry Bryant
5 Jack Barker
6 Dom Warby
7 Will Burns
8 Dan Leach

Replacements:
16 Henry Wadsworth
17 Will Hampshire
18 Chris Field
19 Austin Anderson
20 Tony Elliot
21 Matt Whaley
22 Charlie Scott

Warwick School

15 Will Stride
14 Tom Howard
13 Bryn Grantham
12 Carrick Waldron
11 Devon Berrington
10 Henry Stride
9 Harry Bassett

1 Oliver Matthews
2 Will Priestley
3 Jake Byrne
4 Josh Fox
5 James Ainsworth
6 Jordon Ainslie
7 Joe Blake
8 Matt Riley

Replacements:
16 James Bliss
17 George Nellany
18 Harry Abell
19 Noah Thorne
20 James Allen
21 John Anderson
22 Harry Fitzpatrick

 

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