Trent College secured their place at Twickenham for the U18 NatWest Vase final on Wednesday 29th March after beating The Perse 29-15 at Allianz Park.
It will be a chance for the Midlands side to try to win back the title that they last picked up in 2014 with a dramatic 17-16 win of Exeter College.
The much bigger of the two sides on the day here at Allianz Park, Trent College started with a bang through a score from scrum half Ben Goddard, which was expertly converted by the almost flawless Ben Dickinson.
For much of the opening quarter of the game the possession and territory was pretty even, but Trent were incredibly clinical whenever they had the ball in attacking positions.
Despite that early advantage though there was real concern for Trent when flanker George Dickinson went down an injured, an injury that caused a delay of some fifteen minutes. As well as obvious concerns for the player, there were also some fears that it may shake Trent from their rhythm.
They showed their mental strength not long after play restarted though through a lovely score form full back Brandon Joss, who scorched over in the corner. It gave Dickinson a tough conversion, but the outside centre was bang in form with the boot and nailed it from the touchline to double his side’s lead.
The Perse responded with a George Laing penalty, but the reality at this stage of the game was that Trent College had all of the momentum, which they duly proved as the game ticked towards half time through a smart finish from winger Harvey Doleman, who stepped inside off the left touchline to touch down in style, with Dickinson, of course, converting to give his side a 21-3 half time lead.
If The Perse were to have any real chance, you felt they had to get on the score sheet first in the second half. Any hopes of that were dashed early on though as George Finney banged over a penalty from the halfway line for The Perse before three minutes later number 8 Jack Dickson went crashing over from short range.
For once Dickinson missed the conversion, but his side were now 29-3 and in control. Credit to The Perse though, many side might have collapsed in such a situation, but they picked themselves up and took the game to Trent College.
The piled on the pressure in the Trent 22, eventually forcing them to concede a yellow card. With a man’s advantage The Perse just kept increasing the pressure over and over against before they were eventually rewarded for their endeavor with a try from winger Conor Fairhead, who held his width beautifully as the ball moved from one side of the pitch to the other.
Five minutes later they were back on the scoresheet again, this time through replacement front rower Sacha Abbasi, who crashed over from short range.
George Laing converted, narrowing the scores to 29-15, but with just three minutes left on the clock, excited touchline talk of a comeback was unrealistic in the end as Trent managed to see out the remainder despite heavy pressure.
It was a tremendous comeback form The Perse, but the story was really the truly clinical play from Trent College, particularly in that first 55-60 minutes, where their power and ability to take their chances ultimately made the difference, sending them back to Twickenham in a bid to win their second ever U18 NatWest Vase title.
Full Time: The Perse 15-29 Trent College
|U18 NatWest Vase Semi Final 1 Teams|
|The Perse||Pos||Trent College|
|Sam Featherstone||1||Fred Hendry Briars|
|Alex Lockie (captain)||2||Isaac Smith|
|Nicholas Budenberg||3||Breandan McCallum|
|Jack Rusted||4||Rob Boddington|
|Hasan Cuthbert||5||Arjun Nath|
|Jasper Dix||6||George Dickinson|
|Tom Whitehead||7||Ethan Benstead|
|Alex Coles||8||Jack Dickson (1T)|
|Louis McManus||9||Ben Goddard (1T)|
|George Laing (1C)||10||George Finney (1P)|
|Conor Fairhead (1T)||11||Harvey Doleman (1T)|
|Henry Hackett||12||Charlie Livesey|
|Ed Laing||13||Ben Dickinson (3C)|
|Daniel Arbide||14||Emmett McDonnell|
|Will Tyrrell||15||Brandon Joss (1T)|
|George Gadsby||16||Sam Beresford|
|Joe Arthur||17||Chris Rudkin|
|Sacha Abbasi (1T)||18||Peter Hartman|
|Ed Kilcommons||19||Chris Crick|
|John Matthew Barker||20||Joshua Stanly|
|Findlay Thompson||21||Jamie Spencer Pickup|
|Jack Chivers||22||Matthew Kimmitt|