On Saturday Loughborough University played host to the LAMBS final game of the season against Worcester Warriors U17s.
The opening twenty minutes saw Worcester keeping hold of the ball for long periods of time in the LAMBS 22. However, a hard working blitz defense, often led by Harry Sagar (Bradford Grammar) and George Cassell (Bloxham), along with some impressive groundwork from Louis Fraser (Woodhosue Grove) and Jack Starkey (Queen Ethelburgers) kept the academy side at bay.
It was then a moment of genuine ‘Fast and Free’ rugby that saw the deadlock broken and the game come to life. Off turnover ball fly half George Hitchcock (Felsted) released the ball to the wider channels where Dan Hubble (Truro) offloaded to Reed’s Schools speed-man Joe Treigaardt who went 80 meters before being hauled down by the Worcester full back. A penalty for not rolling away followed allowing a quick penalty where George Hitchcock sent the ball immediately wide to second row Reece McCarthy (Trinity) to cross for the first try and give the LAMBS a 7 – 0 lead.
Worcester, as ever, showed why they are an academy side and it did not take them long to respond. A well taken kick off and another spell of keeping the ball for extended phases eventually opened up space in the LAMBS defense where the fly half crossed for his first of two just four minutes after the LAMBS try, the missed conversion left the score at 7 – 5.
On the half hour mark It was then the LAMBS defense that led to the next try, after a long 22 drop out from George Hitchcock the blitz defense was back in action, and Harry Sagar got his rewards as he pounced on a loose ball from the pressure, going 50 meters to finish and extend the lead to 14 – 5. However, once again Worcester responded, and once again it was their fly half that got on the scoreboard. In the last play of the half a try from the training ground saw the ball go off the base of a scrum, 8, 9, 10, who then sent a dummy to the winger and stepped inside to bring the half time score to 14 – 12.
The late score gave Worcester some confidence and momentum going into the second half, momentum that they used to put the LAMBS under pressure. The pressure eventually turned into points as their strong catch and drive was finally rewarded as the tighthead peeled off the back and ran in under the posts, giving Worcester the lead for the first time in the game, 14 – 19. From this score the LAMBS rallied and the next twenty minutes saw them camped in the Worcester half. The game continued to open up we saw regular line breaks from the impressive Will Hughes (Berkhamsted) and Pangbourne’s ever present center Will Vaughan. Eventually the line breaks and pressure was converted into points as replacement back row Henry Wills (Stamford) crossed to draw the scores level at 19 – 19 with just five minutes to go.
The final five minutes of the game were certainly one for the neutral. It started with Will Hughes and Dan Hubble linking up in the wide channels to move back into the Worcester half. It was then Ben Oliphant-Thompson (Blundell’s) who made yet more inroads into the Worcester defense and took the LAMBS into the 22, before some impressive offloading play took them to the try line. With just one minute left on the clock replacement prop Dan Ali (Cheltenham) drove over to give the LAMBS the lead, 24 – 19. However, the excitement was not done and Worcester rallied once more. It started with LAMBS center Harry Sagar making another break along with Dan Hubble and Will Hughes to put the ball back in the Worcester 22. However a penalty gave Worcester possession for the last play of the game, and despite being on their line they kept the ball alive for a further six minutes, moving up into the LAMBS half. It was only the strength of the LAMBS blitz defense that eventually forced an error and the final whistle was blown on a great game of rugby.
Full Time: ISRFC Lambs 24-19 Worcester Warriors
|ISRFC Lambs XV|
|1||Nick Atkinson (captain)||Giggleswick School|
|2||Jack Starkey||Queen Ethelburga’s College|
|4||Eddie Goss||Wellingborough School|
|5||Reece McCarthy||Trinity School|
|6||George Cassell||Bloxham School|
|7||Louis Fraser T||Woodhouse Grove|
|8||Ben Oliphant Thompson||Blundell’s|
|9||James Costin-Pratt||Pangbourne College|
|10||George Hitchcock (vice captain)||Felsted|
|12||Will Vaughan||Pangbourne College|
|13||Harry Sagar||Bradford Grammar School|
|14||Joe Triegaardt||Reed’s School|
|15||Will Hughes||Berkhamsted School|
|16||Oliver Short||Wisbech Grammar School|
|17||Daniel Ali||Cheltenham College|
|18||Harry Johnson||Ashville College|
|19||Henry Wills||Stamford School|