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Sensational Dulwich hit 50 to reach 4th Twickenham final in a row

Dulwich College set up a chance to win a staggering fourth U18 NatWest Schools Cup in a row after they defeated Wilmslow High School in the semi final at Allianz Park.

Dulwich utterly dominated the territory to secure a 50-14 win, utterly starving a brave Wilmslow High School side of any ball in the areas that they wanted it as Dulwich used all of their Cup experience, not trying anything too flashy, just using their immense driving maul, controlling the territory, and allowing fly half Jonny Waugh to dictate the tempo of the game, before a stunning Reece Pinnock hat-trick took the game way out of Wilmslow’s reach.

The first half was a scrappy affair at times with no side really dominating, yet in terms of points Dulwich were in total control, such is their ability to make sure that they are accurate in the right areas and to put pressure on the opposition.

The warning signs were there early on for Wilmslow as Dulwich went 7-0 up after 13 minutes through that famous maul of theirs – it was to be a theme from then on.

Charlie Dee was the one to capitalise from this one as they made fifteen metres before he was able to crash over the line, cue huge celebration from the enormous travelling support.

Waugh converted to put them 7-0 up, but Wilmslow were not hit for confidence, straight away they were back on the attack, pushing and probing until on 19 minutes they found themselves on the Dulwich line. The referee ruled that Will Maslen’s sniping run was held up but the eagle eyed touch judge saw it differently and the try was rewarded, an excellent sniping run in the classic scrum half mould.

James Graham converted to level the scores, but from that point on in the half it was something of a Dulwich masterclass in controlling territory, for while they may not have been creating an abundance of chances, they were controlling the way the game was being played, forcing Wilmslow to play where they did not want to.

On 29 minutes that paid dividends as another forward drive released Jonny Waugh who offloaded brilliantly for Ed Berry, running the classic support line off 10, to just stroll home. Waugh’s conversion put his side 14-7 up, and from the kick off they were back to the same again, pinning Wilmslow deep and daring them to play.

Again that was to bear fruit, with Wilmslow giving away a penalty and Waugh, naturally, prodding it into the corner. It may not be pretty but you will not see anyone in blue and black complaining, for it is mighty effective.

From the lineout Dulwich set up another maul, and once again Wilmslow simply could not keep it out, as the Dulwich pack almost jogged to the line before Luke Bliss flopped over the line, making it a full house for the Dulwich second row.

Waugh converted from the touchline expertly, giving his team a 21-7 half time lead. A big scoreline in a game that really had been played in relatively fine margins.

The second half followed much of the same pattern, Dulwich controlled the tempo and the territory without creating too many chances to begin with, until fifteen minutes in, when a lovely Jonny Waugh step and offload released Reece Pinnock to tear away through middle, as he has done all year, dotting down under the posts to give Waugh the easiest of conversions to take the lead out to 28-7.

If that felt like it might be game over, then three minutes later scrum half Pierre Thompson practically sealed it. Taking a quick tap penalty on the 22 and neatly evading three or four tackles to score an exquisite try, which Waugh converted.

The game then stalled for a fifteen minute period after a horrible looking injury for Dulwich full back Ralph Marchant, whom we believe has a concussion and was taken to hospital purely for precaution, following which the game was somewhat stagnated, naturally after such a long pause.

Wilmslow did get back on the scoresheet form the scrum that restarted the game, inside centre Luke James, brother of Wasps’ Sam, crossing the whitewash, before Reece Pinnock completed an excellent hat-trick for Dulwich College.

His second try came from an interception just outside the Wilmslow 22, but it was his third that will live long in the memory. Deep in his own territory Pierre Thompson turned the ball over before offloading to Pinnock. Seeing the space Pinnock hacked ahead and somehow danced around the touchline before scorching away into Wilmslow territory.

A wiggle of the hops left Broghan Wilson on his backline and then it was just a case of pinning back the ears for Pinnock, although a valiant cover tackle from Wilmslow Captain Christian Taylor almost denied him.

It was a truly sensational try and a fitting way to bring up the fifty points for Dulwich College.

It was an ultimate display of how territory, control, tempo, and accuaracy can win you a game of rugby in sensational style, and of how much of a threat that famous Dulwich College maul is.

A fourth NatWest Cup in a row is truly an incredible achievement, it would be a surprise if anyone ever though after the post Colston’s rule changes that a side could do such a thing would be possible, for Dulwich to have done is a monumental achievement.

Their maturity, composure, and ability to be accurate and clinical is almost unrivalled, and while Bromsgrove pose a hugely significant threat, Dulwich will take some beating at Twickenham.

For now though, thoughts are with Ralph Marchant.

Full Time: Dulwich College 50-14 Wilmslow High School

Dulwich College

1. George Whichello  2. Richard De Rome  3. Andrew Baron  4. Luke Bliss  5. Charlie Dee  6. Ed Norris  7. Sam Younger  8. Tom Marchant (c)  9. Pierre Thompson  10. Jonny Waugh  11. Reece Pinnock  12. Ed Berry  13. Huw Roberts  14. Omar Malik  15. Ralph Marchant.

Replacements: 16. Olissa Ikezue-Clifford  17. Alex Holley  18. George Abbott  19. Ben Osuntokun  20. Anthony Nzegwu  21. Chris Annous  22. Cam Henderson.

Wilmslow High School

1. Simon Metcalfe  2. Christian Taylor (c)  3. Tom Gardner  4. Callum Atkinson  5. Jake Stewart  6. Sorrell Cowen  7. Andy Fyfe  8. Sam Haley  9. Will Maslen  10. James Graham  11. Alex Fishwick  12. Luke James  13. Reece Hubbard  14. Broghan Wilson  15. Fergus Taylor.

Replacements: 16. Ross Bullock  17. Junaid Athar  18. Marcus Atkinson  19. Ross Waddell  20. Will Gregory  21. David Sheard  22. Guy Pritchard.

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