Tuesday saw the Continental Tyres Schools Cup finals take place in the Plate and Bowl competitions at both U18 and U15 level, with Saracens’ StoneX Stadium the host venue.
It was an epic day of action crowned by an absolute classic in the U18 Plate final between two legends of the Continental Tyres Schools Cup, RGS High Wycombe and Barnard Castle. The lead went this way and that throughout the game before a frenetic final 10 minutes.
The two teams were locked at 17-17 but two scores from RGS High Wycombe, whose driving maul was a near unstoppable weapon, gave them a 27-17 lead. Barnard Castle refused to limp away though, with England hooker Jacob Oliver scoring his second and Rory Forster converting to close to 27-24 with under 4 minutes left.
RGS claimed the restart though, and kept a hold of possession to seal an incredible victory in a final worthy of the tame. Barnard Castle’s wait for a national title goes on a little longer, but they were magnificent. RGS though put in a final performance to remember in front of a huge throng of supporters, and with their immense driving maul the spearhead, to claim the 2023 Continental Tyres U18 Schools Plate.
Over in the U18 Bowl there was another final worthy of the name as Harrogate Grammar and St Peter’s Gloucester went head to head in another cracker. It was a tight old game but Harrogate always just held the upper hand as they claimed their first ever national title with a 31-20 victory.
Under the guidance of Tom Ryder, this Yorkshire outfit is becoming a real force on the scene, with strong performances across the age-groups and now this era-defining title for the school that could have such an impact on the younger players.
It was double disappointment for St Peter’s Gloucester, who had a side in each of the U18 and U15 Vase finals but came unstuck in both despite brave performances. It was another Yorkshire side that did the damage at U15 level too, Prince Henry’s Grammar School putting in an absolutely stellar display for a brilliant 45-14 victory that will live long in the memory of the 2004 U18 Vase champions.
In the U15 Plate two brilliant sides went up against each other. Both King’s Worcester and Abingdon have impressed throughout the season but on Tuesday afternoon it was King’s Worcester that held the upper hand. Their front row were a menace in the loose and with that level of go-forward, Abingdon were having to work incredibly hard and King’s Worcester made that count in an excellent 36-12 victory to claim the Continental Tyres U15 Schools Plate.
U18 Plate Final
RGS High Wycombe 27-24 Barnard Castle
U18 Bowl Final
Harrogate Grammar 31-20 St Peter’s, Gloucester
U15 Plate Final
King’s Worcester 36-12 Abingdon
U15 Bowl Final
Prince Henry’s Grammar 45-14 St Peter’s, Gloucester
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