Trent College secured the 2017 U18 NatWest Vase title with a superbly powerful 43-7 win over Royal Latin School at Twickenham.
It is a second U18 Vase title in four years after they also won it back in 2014, with a couple of players from that team going on to higher honours. On today’s evidence there is no reason why a few of this crop could not go the same way.
From start to finish they controlled the game, their greater power and sheer size was simply too much for Royal Latin at times.
Central to that was captain and number 8, who bagged a brace with tries at either end of the first half. His physicality and workrate throughout was impeccable. He was the eldest of three Dickinson brothers on the pitch, joined by George, year 12, in the back row, and Ben, year 11, at outside centre.
Dickinson (Jack) powered over from short range just three minutes into the game, giving his side the perfect start, to which his brother Ben added the gloss with the conversion from wide out for 7-0.
His side kept that pressure coming on, and midway through the half they scored a second as right wing Emmett McDonnell showed a fine set of wheels for hare away down the touchline for a 12-0 lead, with George Finney adding another three with the boot shortly after, Trent College were building a handsome lead.
That handsome lead was to become a dominant one as the half drew to a close, with Jack Dickinson producing almost a carbon copy of his first try, powering over from short range in the right hand corner. His brother Ben repeated his earlier conversion, sending the 2014 champions in at the break with a near insurmountable 22-0 lead.
Royal Latin sorted plenty out at half time though, and in the ten minutes that followed the break they enjoyed their most dominant period of the game, capping it off with a fine try from full back Tom Bacon, who ran a superb support line from a neat set piece move on the Trent 22, with fly half Max Nagy converting to close the gap to 22-7.
In response to that try though, Trent College closed the game up, pumping the ball into Royal Latin territory and challenging them to get out of their 22. With that pressure on, Trent College went for the jugular, charging down a clearing kick through inside centre Charlie Livesey, who chased down his own chargedown to extend his side’s led out to 29-7, with Dickinson’s conversion, with just fifteen minutes left to play.
Just a couple of minutes later, Emmett McDonnell scored his second of the game, skillfully latching onto a crossfield kick to score, a try that was superbly converted by Ben Dickinson for 36-7 as Trent really began to stretch their legs.
As the subs came on, so the game broke up, but in that chaos a little magic can emerge, and so it did as substitute Joshua Stanley added a superb 6th try for Trent College, capitalizing on some superb offloading down the right hand touchline. Just to add some extra icing on an already well-coated cake, George Finney added a superb touchline conversion, taking the score out to 43-7.
For Royal Latin it was a tough afternoon, but they came across a Trent College side that executed their game plan to perfection, and whose physicality was on a different level to that that of their opponents.
It will be a victory that lives long in the memory for all at Trent College, such was their dominance right from the word go, a truly committed and powerful performance. Do not let that use of the word power fool you though, for this was a performance of no little skill either, from 1-22 the players executed their skills superbly. Such was their dominance that man of the match Charlie Livesey, who really did put in a superb shift, could crack a smile on the pitch when the announcement was fittingly made.
Full Time: Trent College 43-7 Royal Latin
15 Brandon Joss, 14 Emmett McDonnell, 13 Ben Dickinson, 12 Charlie Livesey, 11 Harvey Doleman, 10 George Finney, 9 Ben Goddard, 1 Fred Hendry Briars, 2 Isaac Smith, 3 Breandan McCallum, 4 Rob Boddington, 5 Arjun Nath, 6 George Dickinson, 7 Ethan Benstead, 8 Jack Dickinson (c).
Replacements: 16 Sam Beresford, 17 Chris Rudkin, 18 Peter Hartman, 19 Chris Crick, 20 Joshua Stanly, 21 Jamie Spencer-Pickup, 22 Matthew Kimmitt.
Royal Latin School
15 Tom Bacon, 14 Joe Phillips, 13 Jonny Byatt, 12 Mike Taylor, 11 Josh Rooney, 10 Max Nagy, 9 Will Ellis (c), 1 Max Foster, 2 Tom Miller, 3 Tom Davis, 4 Ed Broome, 5 George Metcalfe, 6 Dan McGivern, 7 Jack Salisbury, 8 Harry Lewis.
Replacements: 16 Nick Ustaran-Anderegg, 17 Kieran Linger, 18 Aks Bhattiprolu, 19 Josh Abbass, 20 Tom Erasmus, 21 Josh Welham, 22 Cameron Wright.