Five years after their last NatWest final, Old Swinford Hospital finally got their hands on some silverware with a superb 25-13 win in the U18 NatWest Bowl final at Sixways Stadium against St Olave’s Grammar School.
A huge number of travelling fans came to support Old Swinford Hospital, who a based relatively locally to Worcester Warriors’ stadium, and helped carry their team through for a magnificent victory.
They were made to work hard for it by St Olave’s though, the South Eastern side staged a magnificent second half comeback from 18-0 down to take the game into an incredibly tense final few minutes.
Old Swinford Hospital had taken a 13-0 lead into the half time break thanks to two penalties from fly half James Westwood and tries from inside centre Benny Trimmer, and full back Sam Hughes, who finished magnificently.
That gave St Olave’s a real mountain to climb, and when number 8 Jolby Beech powered over after just six minute of the second half, it really did feel like that might just be game over, even at that early stage.
A huge turning point came a few minutes later, when Old Swinford Hospital had a try disallowed and that was followed by a stunning try from St Olave’s winger Aaron Grandidier.
Though 18-5 on the scoreboard was still a decent margin, it felt like a big momentum shift. That was heightened following a long injury break for an Old Swinford Hospital head injury, the player concerned we are told is now ok, thankfully. It seemed to rock Old Swinford Hospital slightly, while for St Olave’s it seemed to be an opportunity to plan their comeback.
Whatever the thoughts and plans behind it, a stunning comeback was almost what we got as St Olave’s came flying out of the traps following the restart.
Just a few minutes after play resymed, they were on the scoreboard again, courtesy of one of the most stunning tries you will ever see from a second row.
Gathering the ball just inside Old Swinford territory, Kosi Nwuba sought the left wing from the centre field and showed a turn of pace that even Tom Croft would be jealous of as he simply rounded the entire defence to score a truly stunning try.
Two minutes later, his side were back on the attack again, taking a wuick tap penalty and forcing Old Swinford Hospital to give away a yellow card. With the additional ten yards, they opted for the sticks, with James Tate closing the gap to 13-18.
It was a sensible call, with just a minute or so less, they knew they needed to be within a score to stand a chance.
From the kick off, though, Old Swinford Hospital were magnificent. Perhaps it was the shock of the scoreboard tightening, or the rain beginning, whatever it was, Old Swinford Hospital saw their chances of lifting the Bowl slipping, and they dug deep, oh so deep.
They put St Olave’s under the most enormous pressure right from the kick off, forcing them to play out from under their own posts. When eventually they did kick it away, Old Swinford Hospital were ruthless, Jolby Beech was immense in his strength and carrying as he drove his team into the 22.
From there it was just more clinical and powerful stuff from the 2012 U18 Cup finalists, and that brilliant late mentality was rewarded with a try for substitute Charles Fraser.
It sparked huge celebrations, and when Hugh Peel landed the touchlines conversion it was the icing on the Old Swinford Hospital cake.
They can now forget about that 2012 Cup final defeat, Old Swinford Hospital have a new group of heroes, the winners of the first ever U18 NatWest Bowl competition.
Full Time: Old Swinford Hospital 25-13 St Olave’s Grammar School
|U18 NatWest Bowl Final Teams|
|St Olave’s Grammar School||Pos||Old Swinford Hospital|
|Jordan Adesina||1||Billy Woodman|
|Alexander Albarosa||2||Tobi Costello|
|Charles Peck||3||Harry Ridge|
|Hai Duong||4||Jasper Smith|
|Kosi Nwuba||5||Sean Riley|
|Aldia Chua||6||Douglas Bridge|
|Reece Savage||7||Dylan De Sousa|
|Finn Macpherson||8||Jolby Beech|
|Matthew Lane||9||Finn Bridgewater|
|James Tate||10||James Westwood|
|John Oxley||11||Charlie Simmonds|
|Charlie Stocks||12||Benny Trimmer|
|Oliver Tomkins||13||Jon Baylie|
|Aaron Grandidier||14||Charles Hilliard|
|Niall Johal||15||Sam Hughes|
|Darshan Varma||16||Joseph Brennan|
|Veysan Kaman||17||Charles Fraser|
|Harrison Crisp||18||Harry Wooldridge|
|William Carew||19||Archie Wooton|
|Ciaran Twomey||20||Christian Fellows|
|Joshua Goulbourne||21||Hugh Peel|
|Tolu Ogunyamade||22||James Taylor|