Sir Thomas Rich’s finally got their hands on some NatWest silverware as they beat St Paul’s 6-3 in the U15 NatWest Plate final at Sixways Stadium.
After finishing as runners-up in last year’s Vase, the men in the multicoloured hoops dug deeper than they maybe ever hand for victory over a St Paul’s side that could not possibly have given more.
If ever there were a game to prove that a game does not need to have hundreds of tries to be entertaining, this was it, just nine points shared between the two sides, but an entertaining and gripping encounter that will live long in the memory.
It was the tension, the sheer nail-biting drama and tension. Even for the neutral it began to become almost too much to take as the game ticked towards its final minutes. St Paul’s were on the attack and had to go for the win, a draw would not do as Sir Thomas Rich’s had scored the first points of the game, and so a long and nervous battle between defence and attack unfolded. It was tense, it was enthralling, it was truly gut-wrentching, no matter who you were following.
Those followers, oh boy were those followers magnificent. Like their players they cranked up the quality and added to the drama of the occasion magnificently, it all added to make an event and a game that was simply a privilege to witness.
The points scoring all happened in the first half, Sir Thomas Rich’s hooker Luke Carr, (yes, hooker!) landing two penalties before St Paul’s Ben Griffiths, from a far more conventional fly half position, returned with one for his side, sending the teams in at Sir Thomas Rich’s 6-3 St Paul’s.
There were some stunning moments of play in the second half, not least one of the most brilliant cover tackles this pitch will have seen as Sir Thomas Rich’s full back Cameron Smerdon probably saved his team the game as he hauled down the elusive Luke Scott of St Paul’s after a stunning break.
It was that kind of commitment that was going to be key in this game, and it was there in spades from both sides. In a game like these, the small moments become the tries, and so it proved with some of the outstanding turnovers from both sides, which were cheered like World Cup winning drop goals.
Chief among those turning over the ball was Sir Thomas Rich’s openside, Ethan Yip, whose work on the floor was key to his side maintaining momentum through the second half.
As the game ticked towards the end though, even Yip was powerless to stop the St Paul’s charge towards the try line, it was desperate stuff from both sides, with St Paul’s coming in wave after wave of attack.
Sir Thomas Rich’s were steadfast though, they were prepared to give up yards, but under no circumstances would they allow that whitewash to be breached.
They stood tall, and stood firm, keep their opponents out and sealing a glorious, and yes, entertaining, 6-3 victory. For both sets of players, and spectators, this one will take some recovering from, such was the fraying of the nerves by the end.
It was, perhaps, the perfect advert for the new U15 NatWest Plate competition.
Full Time: Sir Thomas Richs 6-3 St Paul’s
|U15 NatWest Plate Final Teams|
|St Paul’s||Pos||Sir Thomas Rich’s|
|Harry Morley||1||Deniz Gun|
|Hamish Elder||2||Luke Carr|
|Luke Biamonti||3||Hassaan Amer|
|Teddy Monroe Davies||4||Conrad Holmes|
|Aidan Atkinson||5||Louis Fox|
|Brandon Chau||6||Jared Nuttall|
|Henry Hastie||7||Ethan Yip|
|George Lyons||8||Jamie Bagnall|
|Archie Turley||9||Thomas Gordon|
|Ben Griffiths||10||Saxon Campbell|
|William Evans||11||Remo Buccianti|
|Freddie Eltringham||12||Robert Christie|
|Luke Scott||13||Michael Baron|
|Nikitta Forrester||14||James Maiden|
|Charlie Hill||15||Cameron Smerdon|
|Shahria Amirahmadi||16||Scott Munden|
|Alex Davies||17||Owen Morris|
|Daniel Whiley||18||Jack Stanley|
|Connor Sinnott||19||Mitchel Chukwuemeka|
|Henry Pincott||20||Ted Jameson|
|Freddie Harrison||21||Benjamin Major|
|James Evans||22||Ben Woodward|