Bloxham advanced into the quarter finals of the NatWest Vase with a hard-fought 22-18 win over the Leys School in Cambridge in difficult, blustery conditions.
Bloxham, playing their third consecutive away game in this tournament, adjusted well to the demands of a first half playing with the wind and reached half time 12-0 ahead thanks to tries from George Grieve and Jack Briggs and to Briggs’ masterly kicking game, which kept them on top thanks to a deft combination of chips, up and unders and diagonal kicks.
After half time, however, things looked very different when the Leys came back to 12-8 with a try and penalty. At this point it looked like the home side would dominate and come from behind to win, but in retrospect the crucial moment in the game was a well taken try from Ollie Kilgallon, who burst from a ruck to score and celebrated in fine fashion.
Bloxham were now able to exert control through a series of forwards picking and driving, and George Grieve, who was a handful for the Leys defenders all afternoon, scored a second try to stretch the lead to 22-8.
Once again the Leys refused to buckle, scoring two tries of their own, the first a textbook forward drive from the lineout and the second a beautifully taken winger’s try, to get to within 4 points with five minutes to go, but Bloxham were able to survive a nerve-wracking final few minutes to go through to the final eight in the competition.
This was an impressive performance by the Bloxham team, who tackled ferociously against a good attacking side and demonstrated that they can change their playing style when the conditions demand it.
Full Time: The Leys 18-22 Bloxham
To see photos from the game, please head to our NatWest Cup & Vase Gallery
Image Credit: Simon Grieve