Kenilworth dug into the very depths of their reserves to reach the final of the U15 Schools Vase in Sunday’s semi final against QEGS Penrith.
A brilliant game ended 32-17 to Kenilworth, but it was far from simple at Saracens’ Allianz Park.
It was a truly extraordinary game of rugby as Kenilworth scored three fast tries for an early 15-0 lead.
It looked as though Kenilworth might run away with it, three tries in the opening twelve minutes, including a cracker from Cameron Bradley, suggested as much. QEGS looked down and out.
However QEGS are were not in this semi final, they are a top quality side with plenty of spirit, epitomised by fly half Louis Johnson.
The young outside half turned on the style a spearheaded an extraordinary comeback for his side. QEGS scored twice before half time, and then as they kept the pressure coming, Kenilworth infringed, conceding two penalties in quick succession and with them a yellow card.
Johnson, almost typically given his last ten minutes, slotted a long range penalty to five his team a 17-15 half time lead, an extraordinary turnaround from the 15-0 scoreline they were staring at after 12 minutes.
Kenilworth could have been forgiven for panicking, indeed at that stage had you asked almost anyone they would have said that surely with such momentum the game was QEGS’.
However this Kenilworth side is clearly made of strong stuff. They dug into the very depths of their reserves, ignored an negative feelings and focused on the positives of the start of the first half.
Ten minutes in that endeavour was rewarded with a try for Dylan Hunter, giving them a three point lead.
Seven minutes later that lead became a healthy one as Josh Marsden crossed. For joy to despair, now Kenilworth were in dream land again and when they crossed for a third time with just four minutes remaining the party truly started as they took a 32-17 lead.
It was a brilliant game of rugby from both sides, an stunning comeback from QEGS and even more impressive level-headedness from Kenilworth as they steadied the ship at half time and went on to dominate the second half, with man of the match Ardal Yallop at blindside flanker a key figure throughout.
All that remains now for Kenilworth is a trip to Twickenham Stadium on Wednesday 14th March for the U15 Schools Vase final, where they will face Beechen Cliff, who beat London Oratory 24-12.
Full Time: Kenilworth 32-17 QEGS Penrith