U15 Schools Cup: Wimbledon College progress after defeat of Epsom College

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Coach Logic

Wimbledon College had the better of the breakdown and produced a strong second-half performance against Epsom College to progress to the 4th Round of London & South-East Group A of the U15 Schools Cup.



Having lost their unbeaten record to London Oratory the previous week-end, Wimbledon College were looking to get their season back on track. Epsom had shown their quality with convincing wins against St Paul’s, RGS Guildford and Brighton. This had all the makings of a close game.



Epsom kicked off and soon won a scrum, from which their forwards made progress but when possession was kicked the home side were able to get the ball to outside centre Diego Rodriguez who made ground on the right. Although possession was retained and play switched to the left, Epsom were able to recover and clear.



The visitors then mounted an effective attack on the left before switching play to the right and getting with 5m of the line, but a turnover allowed Wimbledon to clear to halfway. Both sides then struggled to get across the gain line, with Wimbledon enjoying the majority of possession and looking strong at the breakdown. Finally, Wimbledon broke down the right before switching play to midfield where No 8 Niall Fitzgerald crashed over close to the posts for the opening score, fly-half Conor Byrne adding the conversion.



Epsom were quick to respond from the restart, winning a scrum on the left before switching play to the right where the forwards continued the pressure. When the ball was moved through the hands to the left, wing Will Springett found a good line to cut through the defence and score in the corner, William Raymond’s excellent conversion from wide out levelled the scores.



The next score followed equally swiftly. Epsom were penalised at the restart, giving Wimbledon the opportunity to set up an attacking line-out on the left. With possession won, the ball was moved to the backs and Rodriguez outpaced the defence to score in the right corner, Byrne again converting.



Half-time: Wimbledon College 14-7 Epsom College



Following the interval and an initial exchange of kicks from defence, the Wimbledon forwards used the pick-and-go tactic effectively on the left and forced Epsom to concede another penalty, kicked to the corner. Again, quick ball from the set-piece saw Rodriguez find a good line in midfield to cut through the defence and score under the posts, Byrne converting.



It looked as if Epsom would reduce the deficit, when good handling by the backs took play up to the right corner, but when play was switched to midfield the ball went forward. Byrne then made an excellent break from his own 22 and went the length of the pitch to score in the left corner. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.



Although Wimbledon secured the restart, their clearance kick went out on the full, giving Epsom an attacking line-out on the right. Wimbledon were then penalised and with an additional 10m added on for dissent, Epsom had another line-out in the right corner. That was taken short and the ball switched back to hooker Joe Patient who squeezed in at the corner. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.



With that shift in momentum, the visitors looked to reduce the deficit further. After a secure exit from the restart, Epsom won a scrum on the left before moving the ball through the hands to the right, once again putting Springett into space and the wing just beat the cover tackle to score in the corner. The difficult conversion attempt was missed, but Epsom were now back to within two scores.



Good handling by Wimbledon from the restart gave them field position but a kick through to the in-goal area was successfully touched down by the defence. Although Epsom recovered possession from the ensuing drop-out and kicked clear, they were penalised for a high tackle and Wimbledon made good use of the resulting possession, Fitzgerald breaking through on the right and crashing over to score in the right corner.



From the restart, another break by Rodriguez looked as if it might allow the home side to stretch their lead still further, but he was unable to get the offload away and Epsom cleared. One final attempt to close the gap produced two penalties in Epsom’s favour but they were unable to turn that pressure into points as time ran out.



This was a closely contested game between two well-coached sides that both included some talented players. On the day Wimbledon probably had a bit too much physicality and perhaps benefited from home-field advantage. They go on the play the winners of the St Paul’s vs KCS Wimbledon game in the Group semi-finals.



Full-time: Wimbledon College 31-17 Epsom College



By Peter Crawshaw




Wimbledon College: James Waymouth, Samuel Houghton, Piero Buttaci, Blake Young, Oliver Moss, Kenny Given, Paulo Silva, Niall Fitzgerald, Jonathan Millar, Conor Byrne, Scott Damoo, Conor McKenna, Diego Rodriguez, Cedric Kahungu-Phiri, Mateus Antonio Da Silva

Replacements: Adam Meade, Ivan Zeph Sarmiento, Adam Ward, Sean Curtis, Rory Curtis, Benjamin Dymek


Epsom College: John Esson, Joe Patient, Fred Copus, Thomas Curham, Kevin Gyamfi, Jasper Lawler, Callum Sharp, Lucas Schmid (Vice-Capt), Harry Addington, Sam Waugh, William Raymond, Kit Temperley (Capt), Fraser Law, Will Springett, George Holmes

Replacements: Ollie Curwen, Charlie Berendji, Thomas Williams, Cosmo Mullen

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