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Home > News > Lymm High School now mixing with the elite
Your News Lymm High School now mixing with the elite

Lymm High School's love affair with the Daily Mail Schools Cup started not with a fairy-tale Twickenham success, but with a 16-9 defeat by Wallington Grammar School in the final of the Under 18 Vase in 2000.

There was disappointment on that occasion that the prize was denied them, but more importantly for the Cheshire school, the thrill of the chase and the experience of a shared journey lit a flame that burns more brightly than ever.

Lymm are now just two victories away from a return to Twickenham, their immediate challenge being a home Quarter-final against Truro College next week, weather permitting, which is a fairly big 'if' at this stage.

Coach Len Davies, of course, has been this far, and further, on the Twickenham trail three times before, but this season is special for him and his team.

"We have reached the final of the Under 18 Vase twice and won it once when we beat London Leisure College in 2006," he says: "We've also won the Under 15 Cup, beating St Paul's, Barnes in 2007.

"But this year is special because this is the furthest we've ever got in the Under 18 Cup and it's a fantastic achievement. To get this far in the main competition is well beyond our expectations. We're just a bog standard state school as such and it's fantastic to even think about getting to the higher echelons of schoolboy rugby."

Davies's modesty, however, camouflages a wealth of sporting investment within the organisation. Of the 22 players expected to be in the Quarter-final squad, 21 will have come through the school from Year 7, a testament to the calibre of sporting infrastructure and the vision of the people in charge. A single defeat in over 20 games underlines the quality of the squad.

"The previous head invested in ensuring that whatever sport we were offering, people were properly qualified to coach." says Davies. "He insisted that people went on coaching courses and got qualifications, so what we have now is youngsters coming through from Year 7 who have been taught the game properly.

"As a result, there is no plateau effect as the lads come through - every year group is being stretched and moved on. When they reach the senior end, there is no big catch-up situation. You're simply adding value to youngsters who are already knowledgeable and thirsty for more. From our point of view, it means that you can't just throw a bog-standard session at them - they are accustomed to good coaching and expect it. It's great to see."

Close links with Lymm Rugby Club has provided an added dimension to the development process, while the current team is boosted by the squad of players who were Under 15 Cup winners a couple of years ago.

Daily Cup results underline the balanced approach of the side. With 175 points scored in six matches, the fire-power of the team is clear enough - less predictable is the fact that Vice-captain and prop Elliott Johnson is the leading try-scorer with a double-figure haul to date.

Even more impressive, however, are the defensive statistics, which show only19 points conceded, with only a single try being leaked. Coach Chris Kinsey, who directs operations at Lymm and has a Rugby League pedigree, gets the credit for that, although the team ethos in a bunch of lads who clearly punch well above their weight and are smart beyond their years also plays a part.

All of which will count for nought if the team does not deliver on the day and as everyone becomes more tense, keeping feet on the ground and heads out of the clouds is the challenge for Davies.

"It all a bit twitchy now and everyone is getting very excited," he says. "We're only 2 hours 20 minutes away from Twickenham, but we're a long, long way away. We've got to get out there and work hard and make sure we're as well prepared as we can be. That's all we can do.

"We don't want to be in the position of 'If only'. If our players play on song, we can take most people on."

At this stage Davies diverts the conversation to the exceptional Under 12 team that is on the conveyor belt. A Daily Mail success story for another day it seems.

Quarter-final pairings (scheduled for Wednesday, February 11)

Under 15 Cup: St Ambrose Coll v Northampton School for Boys, Wellington Coll v Judd School, Bedford School v Millfield, Hampton School v Barnard Castle.

Under 15 Vase: Leys School v Kirkham GS, Newquay Tretheras v Kings Coll, Wimbledon, Cooper Company & Coburn v Norwich, King's Macclesfield v Reading Blue Coats.

Under 18 Cup: Lymm HS v Truro Coll, Moulton Coll v John Fisher, St Benedict's, Ealing v St Peter's, York, St Peter's HS v Worcester 6th FC.

Under 18 Vase: King Edward VI, Stratford v Gosforth HS, Hampton School v St Thomas Rich's School, North Devon Coll v John Cleveland, Giggleswick v Caterham.

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