The Independent School Lambs National XV had their second game of the season on Saturday when they welcomed Crawshayâ€™s Welsh XV to Maidenhead RFC.
The Lambs won a tough and physical game 12-8, the horrendously wet conditions doing nothing to deter either side from their attacking philosophies but doing plenty to disrupt the flow of the game.
Perhaps the finest achievement for the Lambs was in keeping Crawshayâ€™s out for the final fifteen minutes, despite being down to thirteen men and under extreme pressure. It is one thing to be able to attack well despite being a scratch team, but to defend and organise in such a way, having only played together once before, is a real testament to the talent, commitment, and communication skills of these players.
Lambs Head Coach Alex Laybourne had this to say in his post match write up of the game:
â€œOn Saturday 9th February players from the depths and breadths of Britain came together as the Independent Schools National XV ‘Lambs’ side to face up against Crawshays Welsh, an invitational club representative side made up of Welsh players.Â Maidenhead RFC was once again the venue and their magnificent 4G pitch allowed for open, running rugby by both sides – despite the constant rain.
Both sides took an attacking approach to the game, with Crawshays having control of the game in the early stages and running at every opportunity. However they could not break the Lambs white line and eventually settled for three points after a number of penalties on 10 minutes.
The poor weather conditions meant there were plenty of handling errors, yet it killed neither sides ambition to play open and attractive rugby – the result of which was a try in the corner for Crawshays, unconverted, to take them 8 points ahead towards the end of the half.
This spurred the Lambs on and they then built some pressure towards the end of the first period, however they were unable to convert a number of good chances and their attacking intent was stifled even further as Matt Warren was sent to the sin bin with two minutes remaining of the half following a number of team offences.
A number of personal and positional changes at half time meant the Lambs came out with renewed vigour. This the led to a twenty minute golden spell as the Lambs continued to break the gainline and build pressure on Crawshays.
Eventually a clean break by winger George Adams from a set play on the Lambs 22, followed by a chip ahead as he approached the covering back three, allowed Josh Gray to scream ahead to dot down. The kick was unconverted to take the score to 5 – 8.
This was followed minutes later by a clean break from Elliott Croft, created through his own excellent footwork, to then let provider become scorer as George Adams finished off an easy two on one under the posts, converted by Croft, to put the Lambs 12 – 8 ahead.
The Independent Schools XV then looked to put the game to bed, and a yellow card for Crawshays and a penalty ten metres out looked to be the end. However, the ever battling Crawshays took an interception from the tapped penalty and ran 80 metres, only to be dragged down 5 metres short of the line. As the Lambs looked to turn over the ball Mike Peek was alleged to have killed the ball and was duly sent for 10 minutes in the bin.
This then led to a battle of attack and defence and the Lambs defended their line with complete passion, pushing Crawshays backwards on a number of occasions. But once again Crawshays fought back and but for a cover tackle from the excellent George Adams they would have been over in the corner.
The pressure continued to build on the Lambs try line and a number of penalties led to a third yellow of the game, taking the Lambs down to 13 men for the final minute of the game. Â
The Lambs held out for that final minute to record their second win out of two. It was a great performance from both sides in poor conditions, with both defence and attack having their moments to shine in what was ultimately a great advert for rugby and some of its up and coming stars of the future.
George Adams was named man of the match by the Lambâ€™s coaching team.â€
The Lambs next fixture will be on the 24th February as they take on the Irish Exiles for the second time, they beat them 52-15 in their first encounter on the 27th January.
Lambs Squad v Crawshayâ€™s Welsh:
George Adams, Wing, Bedford School â€“ 2 caps
Charlie Banks, Full Back, Colfeâ€™s School â€“ 2 caps
Iain Billington (Captain), Second Row, Berkhamsted School â€“ 2 caps
Niall Brown, Hooker, Canford School â€“ 2 caps
Ben Bruce, Second Row, Cheltenham College â€“ 1 cap
Elliot Croft, Fly Half, Brentwood School â€“ 2 caps
David Elliot, Wing, Durham School â€“ 1 cap
Liam Fitt, Flanker, Bedford School â€“ 2 caps
Josh Gray, Outside Centre, The Perse School â€“ 1 cap
Charlie Greswold, Outside Centre, St Peterâ€™s School, York â€“ 2 caps
Michael Haines, Inside Centre, Canford School â€“ 1 cap
Miles Lloyd, Scrum/Fly Half, Sedbergh School â€“ 2 caps
Will Martin, Number 8, Sherborne School â€“ 1 cap
Patrick Nicol, Scrum Half, Ampleforth College â€“ 1 cap
Mike Peek, Flanker, Kingâ€™s College, Taunton â€“ 2 caps
Conor Phillips, Hooker, Brentwood School â€“ 1 cap
Josh Piertse, Prop, St Columbas College â€“ 2 caps
Eliot Roofe, Prop, Colfeâ€™s School â€“ 2 caps
Angus Smith, Prop, St Peterâ€™s School, York â€“ 2 caps
Roland Walker, Wing, Ampleforth College â€“ 1 cap
Matthew Warren, Flanker, Framlingham College â€“ 1 cap
Jamie Williams, Second Row, Kingswood School â€“ 1 cap