Samuel Whitbread Academy will head to Twickenham Stadium on Wednesday 20th March for the U18 Schools Vase Final after a sensational second half saw them beat Worksop College 10-27 in the semi final.
It was a tense and nervy first half at Allianz Park as the two sides got used to the feeling of playing under such pressure in a professional stadium. If anything Worksop College probably had the better of the half, but the two went in at half time level at 5-5.
Worksop had opened the scoring after 24 minutes through a powerful try from outside centre William Harding-Terry, who was absolutely superb throughout the game, before Samuel Whitbread levelled things up five minutes later through their beast of a second row, Harry Charter.
If the first half was tense and tetchy though, the second half was anything but as Samuel Whitbread lit the blue touchpaper just three minutes into the half as their outstanding outside centre Morgan Dayes scored the sort of try that will stick with him for the rest of his life.
Bursting through on the half way line he ate up the plastic turf, rounding three defenders, maybe more, before swerving infield to score underneath the posts. It was a sensational score and it galvanised Samuel Whitbread, who were now suddenly on top with the momentum coursing through their team.
Tom Litchfield had converted and added a penalty five minutes later before then adding to his own personal tally with a powerful score of his own. Converting that took his side out to a 22-5 lead with fifteen minutes to play, a personal tally of twelve points in fifteen minutes for Litchfield.
A fourth try of the match swiftly followed for Samuel Whitbread, who by now were absolutely bubbling with confidence. Worksop were struggling to get a hold of the ball and when they did they were forced to kick it back. From there the Samuel Whitbread kick return was causing nightmares as the surged forward with real pace and a willingness to throw the offload.
That was bringing them huge territorial returns, and from there they camped in the Worksop 22, battering away at the defence until tighthead Pierce Holland powered over from close range to give his side a 27-5 lead.
It was a truly sensational twenty-five minutes or so from Samuel Whitbread, but Worksop College refused to give in. Their run has been too good and their players too proud to simply roll over. So back they came, first a break from outside half Joe Barnes giving them some belief, then a series of charges towards the Whitbread line.
Their belligerence and quality was justly rewarded when tighthead Isaac Harris crashed over for a try. It was not going to win them the game, there simply was not enough time for that, but it was a deserved reward for their spirit and determination.
Ultimately though the game boiled down to a sensational twenty minutes or so at the beginning of the second half. Dayes’ try lit the fuse and from there the momentum and belief was simply irrepressible.
They will head to Twickenham now absolutely skipping with confidence after such a spell, and with the U15s in action in the junior version of the Schools Vase on Sunday, this could well spark double triumph for them.
Full Time: Worksop College 10-27 Samuel Whitbread Academy
15 Alex Rimmington, 14 Jay White, 13 William Harding-Terry, 12 Edward Armstrong, 11 Joe Kirby, 10 Joe Barnes, 9 Harry Preston, 1 Joe McConville, 2 Toby Sumner, 3 Isaac Harris, 4 Jack Lister, 5 Thomas Hurdley, 6 Rufino O’Farrell, 7 Jorge Stevenson, 8 Joshua Porter.
Replacements: 16 Ben Morris, 17 Steven Mitchell, 18 Alex Winiarski, 19 Isaac Teal, 20 William Hickton, 21 Callum Wright, 22 Dominic Leach.
15 Alex Harris, 14 Eniola Adebayo, 13 Morgan Dayes, 12 Tom Litchfield, 11 Reon Lewis, 10 Rory Fookes, 9 Charlie Stevens, 1 Jake Bridges, 2 Charlie Garwood (c), 3 Pierce Holland, 4 Ali Gibbs, 5 Harry Charter, 6 Jake Dodd, 7 John Fudge, 8 Kacper Wencek.
Replacements: 16 Haydon Jones, 17 Harry Jarvis, 18 Reece Sweeney, 19 Adam Shelley, 20 Hlonie Mofokeng, 21 Connor Stone, 22 Dan Chalmers.