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Whitgift edge past St Benedict’s to reach NatWest Cup last 16

Whitgift became the final side through to the last 16 of the U18 NatWest Schools Cup with a tight 6-5 victory over St Benedict’s.

On a freezing evening at Ealing Trailfinders RFC, the 2010 and 2011 champions survived an onslaught from a well supported St Benedict’s side.

Ealing’s superb 4G pitch suggesting that this would be a fast and open game, and at times it was, however a spate of injuries and some cold fingers forced it into becoming a rather stop-start affair.

The first twenty-five minutes were scoreless but St Benedict’s were looking the more threatening, using their pacy outside back to great effect on more than a few occasions. However the Whitgift cover defence was able to hold out well, with openside Sidney Holland doing some quite outstanding work on the cover.

That excellent defensive work was rewarded on the 25th minute with a penalty, which outside half Sam Morley slotted over to put the away side 3-0 ahead. The old saying goes that you’re never so vulnerable as when you have scored, a misleading statement given how seldom it happens relative to other scores, but one that was nearly proved right as immediately form the kick off Whitgift conceded a penalty, however St Benedict’s struck the upright to remain behind.

St Benedict’s remained on the up though, their use of the ball out wide and determination move the ball between players in that section of the field causing no end of bother to Whitgift. They were shortly rewarded with a try that was nothing short of brilliant. Starting in their own half, St Benedict’s worked the ball between several players before eventually released blindside Ollie Ainsby to cross in the corner, cue huge celebration from the enormous number of St Benedict’s supporters who had packed themselves into the Ealing stands.

With the conversion pushed just wide, St Benedict’s led 5-3 with just a couple of minutes remaining in the half, and feeling confident. Whitgift had shown they had quality and the ability to create real danger, but had been unable to do so in the right areas of the field.

The start of the second half was a similar story, with Whitgift looking threatening at times but giving away too many penalties. Twice they were in promising positions only to give away successive penalties and end up back in their own half. However with St Benedict’s missing some tough kicks at goal, the away side remained very much in the hunt.

With 20 minutes gone in the second half, Whitgift got their chance, a penalty in front of the posts but a tricky distance, around 40 metres out. Morley was in a clam mood though and cooly slotted it to put his team 6-5 ahead.

Taking the lead shifted the game, Whitgift were still struggling to get the phases going but were content in their ability to shut St Benedict’s out through their defence, with some outstanding tackling coming in.

Unfortunately that defence took its toll though, with injuries stacking up as time went on. St Benedict’s were still looking to attack  and with barely a minute left managed to secure possession deep in Whitgift territory. Whitgift defended it perfectly though, securing a penalty before booming the ball into the home 22 for a lineout.

From there Whitgift secured the ball allowing scrum half and vice-captain Alex Patton to boot the ball away for the final whistle, sparking great celebrations.

It might not have been a vintage win, when are mid January evening game ever vintage, but as Dulwich College’s semi final win last year proves, they do not all have to be pretty for you to win the Cup.

The win gives Whitgift an away tie against St Joseph’s College in the last 16, before the competition then goes national for the quarter final stage, for which Oundle became the first qualifiers today with a 50-12 victory over King’s Worcester.

Whitgift ought to feel optimistic, they might not have fired as they would hope in attack but their defence, against what was a threatening outside quartet, was impeccable.

Photos of the game can be seen on our Facebook Page:

Full Time: St Benedict’s 5-6 Whitgift

St Benedict’s v Whitgift – NatWest Cup 6th Round

St Benedict’s



Funbi Osuntoki


Michael Young

Ardi Mohammadi


Martin Bontea-Ungureanu

Paddy Dixon


Ryan Bodkin

Tom Wells


Sven Kerneis

Ehize Edevbalo-Ehizode


Richard Kulenicz

Ollie Ainsby


Rashid Reid

Xavier Crean


Sidney Holland

Sam Lewis (Captain)


Joe Hughes(Captain)

Phelim Kavanagh


Alex Patton(vc)

Will Taylor


Sam Morley

Harry Hanley


Funsho Ajayi

Jamie Spanswick


Matthew White-Pettigrew

Tom Wood


Brandon Bellamin

Matt Ilube


George Pearson

Pierre Goualin


Matt Gallagher


Tom Batt


Anthony Morriss

Deji Adeyemi-Hastrup


Konrad O’Neill

Louis Morris


Edin Gumrukcu

Bogdan de Berg


Santos Geldenhuys

Brendan Rice


James Blake

Charlie Page


Noah Ferdinand

Matt Delargy


Thomas Griffiths

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