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Dramatic day in the Daily Mail Cup as Warwick, Northampton & Dulwich all qualify

The semi finalists for the Under 18 Daily Mail Cup have been decided after one of the most dramatic afternoons of the season.

Hampton had already secured their spot at Broadstreet RFC on the 2nd March with a superb 20-3 victory over Truro School last week so they were afforded the luxury of being able to relax at home yesterday whilst the other contenders knocked seven bells out of each other.

Dulwich College beat Sherborne 20-10 to book their place in the semis, keeping themselves in the hunt to become back to back Daily Mail Cup champions and become schoolboy legends.

However it was elsewhere that the drama really turned up a few notches. In Wilmslow confusion reigned supreme after they had drawn 10-10 with visitors Warwick, with the crowd and some players wondering if extra time or a replay were on the cards.

Daily Mail Cup rules though are clear, in the event of a draw the away team will progress to the next round. Therefore Warwick progressed, in the most dramatic of circumstances, for they had been trailing 10-7 with just a few minutes to go before Josh Hickman slotted a penalty to draw the match level and earn himself a place in Warwick School folklore.

It was a heartbreaking way for Wilmslow to exit the tournament, particularly after they had battled back from an early 7-0 defecit. This group of boys can be proud of their achievements though, and to go out in such a manner only goes to show how closely matched all of these sides are, knockout rugby can be a cruel beast at times.

The drama was not done there though as over in Northampton perennial, if perhaps wrongly termed, underdogs Northampton School for Boys welcomed The King’s School, Macclesfield to town.

In a battle of defences, and against the elements, one of the most extraordinarily tight games in Daily Mail Cup history ensued.

The drama, tension and anxiety had been cranked up to almost unbearable levels pre game but reality soon struck as the King’s winger, Tom Fairclough, was taken to hospital with a double leg fracture, we hope you join us in wishing him well.

Both sides returned to the changing rooms whilst paramedics looked after him, these scenarios can often be incredibly challenging for the players, with their focus inevitably lost.

Not so here though where both sides hammered into each other from the restart. Defences, as we have said, were on top though and a 0-0 half time score reflected the abrasive and tense nature of the game.

Conor Bullivant slotted a penalty for Northampton in the early minutes of the second half, a lead that Northampton held on to for the rest of the game to win in the most extraordinary of fashions, 3-0.

King’s huffed and they puffed at the Northampton defence but there was simply no chance of the home defence cracking, such was their determination to win this game.

To keep this King’s side out all game was a quite brilliant achievement, they were unbeaten all season to this point, and Northampton will now be feared by everyone in the semi finals, knowing that this defence can be impregnable.

Like Hickman for Warwick before him, Bullivant will be the toast of Northampton today, his lonely penalty earning Northampton the chance for a shot at Twickenham glory.

In the Under 18 Vase, Yarm beat Loughborough Grammar 27-11 to earn a place in the semi finals, where Felsted, Tiffin and the winner of The King’s School, Grantham v St Ambrose College Quarter Final, will join them.

Under 18 Daily Mail Cup Quarter Final Results:

Truro School 3-20 Hampton

Dulwich College 20-10 Sherborne

Wilmslow High School 10-10 Warwick (Warwick qualify on away rule)

Northampton School for Boys 3-0 The King’s School, Macclesfield

Semi Finals take place on 2nd March at Broadstreet RFC. Semi Final 1 will be at 11am, Semi Final 2 at 1pm.

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