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Home > News > London edge Divisional thriller
Your News London edge Divisional thriller

LONDON & South East snatched a dramatic 34-28 win over the Midlands in the opening match of this season Under 18 Divisional Festival at Broadstreet RFC near Coventry this afternoon.

London were behind until six minutes from time but two tries in as many minutes from replacement back-row forward Seb Nagle-Taylor (Eastbourne College and Sussex) and lock Luke Paynter (Twyford School, London Wasps AASE, Ealing Trailfinders and Middlesex), the first of them converted by Harry Thorogood (Watford GS, Harrow and Hertfordshire) clinched victory.

It was a free-flowing contest between two well-matched sides but London were the more clinical finishers and punished the Midlands for failing to finish off some of their sustained attacking moves.

The Midlands were 14 points up in as many minutes with full-back Will Simmonds (Aylesbury GS, Leighton Buzzard and East Midlands) scoring both tries.

The first stemmed from confident handling by fly-half Louis Grimoldby (Stamford School and East Midlands) and centre Charles Jones (Worcester Sixth Form College and North Midlands).

Jones featured prominently in the build-up to Simmonds second try and Grimoldby converted both from far out on the left.

But London reduced the deficit to four points by the half hour when they Midlandss line-out defence was twice found wanting.

Left wing Chris Livesey (Highlands College, Jersey and Hampshire) came off his wing and cut through for a clever individual try followed by London captain and openside flanker Gabriel Carroll (St Josephs College Ipswich, Sudbury and Eastern Counties) who drove over from close range.

The Midlands rallied with Jones setting up right wing Julian Hensman (Bedford Modern School and East Midlands) with a well-placed crossfield kick after a darting run had carved open Londons defence.

Grimoldby again converted from an acute angle but London proved tenacious opponents and were swift to counter when Midlands attacks broke down.

Scrum-half Jordan Burns (Epsom College, Cobham and Surrey) galloped over from 60 metres out after a ponderous Midlands attack broke down on Londons 22 and fly-half Joe Tarrant (St Josephs College Ipswich, Colchester and Eastern Counties) landed his only successful kick of the afternoon.

The Midlands looked safe when scrum-half Sam Waltier (Bromsgrove School, Worcester and North Midlands), crossed from close range and Grimoldby converted but their challenge faded in the final quarter.

A superb London counter-attack down the left wing produced a try for replacement wing Chris Lord (St Josephs College Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Eastern Counties) reduced the deficit to six points and Londons direct approach unsettled the Midlands again as Nagle-Taylor and Paynter clinched victory.

The Divisional Festival continues at Broadstreet on Sunday February 19 when the Midlands play the North at 11am followed by London & SE v South West at 1pm.

Preparations will then intensify for the England Under-18 Clubs and Schools international against Ireland Under 18 Clubs in Northwood on April 14.

The England squad will play warm-up matches against Northampton Saints Aacdemy at Surrey Sports Park on March 11 and Leicester Tigers Academy at Oval Park in Wigston on April 8.

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