Bromsgrove moved into the quarter finals of the U18 NatWest Cup after a strong performance in the last 16 to oust the previously unbeaten Stamford.
It is the third year in a row that Stamford have been knocked out at this stage and they were desperate to make this one different, particularly since the winner faced a home quarter final, which given Stamfordâ€™s four year unbeaten home run would have played nicely into their hands.
Bromsgrove were not about to roll over just because Stamford wanted it though, indeed Bromsgrove are themselves desperate to go far in this competition, and on this evidence they are capable of going very far indeed.
Coming from 8-5 behind at half time, Bromsgrove put in a blistering opening twenty minutes of the second half, which eventually helped them to a 23-15 victory.
They owed much of their victory to come sterling work at the breakdown, with lock Joseph Morrice a particular menace in that department, while number eight Thomas Fordâ€™s physicality was also a real thorn in the Stamford side.
It was Stamford who took the lead first, taking advantage of a Bromsgrove yellow card to cross the whitewash early on, before a Harry Lloyd-Jones score levelled the game for the home side at 5-5, only for a Stamford penalty immediately after gave the away side their 8-5 half time lead.
It was a deserved lead at that stage, the game had been even but Stamford were just edging it at that stage, however from the first whistle of the second half Bromsgrove came out firing.
The teams were reasonably evenly match in most departments, though there was a sense that Bromsgrove fly half Luke White could produce some magic at any moment, however Bromsgroveâ€™s physicality at the breakdown and their ability to get over the ball was starving Stamford of the sort of possession they wanted.
Time and time again Stamford were looking to create fast ball by sending their big runners around the corner, and boy do they have some big runners â€“ Troughton, Spaine, and Cox in the back row take some stopping, but they could not create what they wanted as Bromsgrove either slowed or turned possession over.
That soon yielded a penalty for White to level things for the home side, which was then swiftly followed by a huge driving maul that saw his team go crashing over to give them a 15-8 lead once he added the extras.
Another penalty then followed and suddenly Stamford were looking at a scoreboard that told them they needed two scores to get back in front. In a game such as this that looked a tall order, both defences were soaking up pressure like a fresh sponge taking on water.
Their frustration at that began to show and a yellow card for repeat infringements soon followed, it was a testament to that strong defence though that they did not concede during that ten-minute phase.
With just over five minutes left and both sides back up to fifteen men, the game looked to be petering out. However this Stamford side are not used to losing, an unbeaten season and their home record mean that they just keep on going, even when the odds are against them.
So when Cox, the number 8, crossed with just over four minutes left suddenly there was a swell of belief in the Stamford ranks and a look of slight apprehension on Bromsgrove faces, could Stamford refuse to lose and dig themselves out of the hole?
At 18-15 with minutes remaining it was certainly possible, and with a long attack it starting even to look likely, however a Cooper Bent interception saw Bromsgrove break into Stamford territory at last, and in the phases that followed, White sent a booming up and under in behind the Stamford try line, causing chaos.
In the ensuing melee, somehow Bromsgrove touched the ball down, to edge their way into safety, sparking huge cheers from the home support. That Whiteâ€™s conversion drifted wide was immaterial, he had used his minute and at this stage that was what counted.
It sealed a well deserved 23-15 victory and a home quarter-final against Dauntseyâ€™s, recently voted for by our readers as their Team of the Month.
Dauntseyâ€™s have proven themselves incredibly tough to beat, and are indeed unbeaten this season. On this evidence though there are few schools that you would not back Bromsgrove to beat.
Full Time: Bromsgrove 23-15 Stamford
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Bromsgrove v Stamford â€“ NatWest Cup Last 16 Midlands A
Harry Lloyd Jones
Luke White (c)
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