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Home > News > Lymm and Brighton College head to Twickenham
Your News Lymm and Brighton College head to Twickenham

ymm High School from Cheshire will face Brighton College in the final of this season's Daily Mail RBS Schools Under 15 Vase competition at Twickenham on March 31, 2010 after their semi-final victories at Broadstreet RFC, Coventry today (Sunday, March 7, 2010)

Lymm completed a hat trick of semi-final wins for Cheshire after Sandbach (Daily Mail RBS Under 18 Cup) and Wilmslow (Daily Mail RBS Under 15 Cup) won their semis to earn a place in the Schools Day jamboree at Twickenham.

The Cheshire school are no strangers to Twickenham, having twice reached the final of the Under 18 Vase in 2000 and 2006 and won the Under 15 Cup in 2007, and they were always in the driving seat in 22-7 semi-final over Harrogate Grammar School.

They established a 10-0 interval lead with a try from replacement Benjamin Benson and a conversion and penalty from full-back Chris Hunt. Wingman Matthew Impey and centre James Kimber then added second-half tries and Hunt one conversion to take the game out of Harrogate's reach at 22-0 before flanker Nick Gilbert crossed for a late try for the Yorkshiremen that fly-half Will Clough converted.

"The lads played very well," said coach Tom Hughes: "They played to the pattern we'd worked so hard on leading into the game after doing some homework on Harrogate. The team showed a huge amount of maturity in playing that game, it proved the right way to go and we won comfortably.

"We dominated the game through our pack and when the time came to release the ball, our fly-half James Mitchell was very good at reading a game and knowing when to kick and when to let the ball go."

A barometer of Lymm's calibre is that they only went out of the Daily Mail RBS Under 15 Cup in Round Three on the 'away side' regulation after drawing 3-3 at home to eventual finalists Wilmslow High.

Despite defeat, Harrogate came away from Broadstreet with plenty of plusses to ease their disappointment.

"The whole Daily Mail RBS has been very positive for us," said Harrogate coach Gordon Tweddle: "They're the first team from the school to get this far in the competition and we're extremely proud of what they've achieved. Each year this team has got better and better and they've responded really well to it.

"Today we came up against a slightly better team and we wish them good luck in the final. There wasn't much in it on the day, but they took their chances well. They had a very good fly-half, who controlled the game."

Brighton College emerged from a seven-try encounter with St Columba's College, St Alban's with a 31-21 victory and their first ever appearance at Twickenham, but they needed a last-minute try to secure the win against tenacious opponents who took them to the wire.

The win was Brighton's 15th consecutive success, but prior to their semi-final victory they had conceded only 15 tries in as many games. That statistic underlines the calibre of the three-try opposition, as coach John Weeks confirmed.

"We struggled to live with their forward power." he said: "Their forwards in the first-half and at the start of the second were absolutely tremendous and certainly they looked strong. If they'd had a bit more ball in the second-half, they'd have put more points on the board.

"We're absolutely delighted with the victory, which is an endorsement of the hard work the chaps have done right the way through since August. This was a gathering of the momentum that has been created and a lot of the foundations that we put in place early on in the season slotted into place today."

There was also praise from the man in charge for the way his team reacted to the pressure of a semi-final situation having never previously moved beyond the quarter-finals.

"The key for us was the preparation and we kept the boys very calm yesterday. To be honest, they are a group that is full of beans and they don't get nervous that easily, so it was quite an easy job for me. We tried to be thorough and the boys reacted fantastically. Nerves weren't a factor today, which is another testament to the players."

Individual honours on the day went to full-back Jack Jones, who grabbed a brace of tries to take his tally for the season to 22 in 21 games. A penalty try and a deciding try by flanker Dougie Glynn-Jones saw Brighton through, with scrum-half Henry Ashcombe converting all four tries and also adding the penalty which kept his side ahead for much of the season-half.

St Columba's College were always playing catch-up, but they stuck tenaciously to the task and with tries by scrum-half Tom Sparks and two from No 8 William Down, all converted by centre Robbie Goddard, they were on level terms at 21-21 five minutes into the second-half.

Ashcombe's penalty then nudged Brighton ahead and Glynn-Jones' late try clinched the win.

St Columba's disappointment combined with a feeling of elation at the way the team had performed and the calibre of the game they had contributed to.

"It was an absolutely fantastic game, the best of the weekend according to some observers," said coach Ben Alway: "Two tremendously committed sides. Their backs were particularly skilful and looked to run the ball. Our forwards were in the ascendancy throughout the game and it produced an incredibly well-fought, open contest between two very good sides.

"Brighton were extremely well organised and didn't over-commit at the breakdown. When we did manage to get some momentum, they organised themselves very well and they didn't miss tackles.

"It was a great game for the neutrals and we were always in it. Our 2004 appearance in the Under 18 Vase final, when we lost to Danny Care's Prince Henry's from Otley, really created the momentum in our rugby programme and this season's run, couple with the success of our prep school teams, will help to keep us moving forward.

"I can't overstate how proud I am of the lads who played today. They showed tremendous heart and spirit and were absolutely gutted at the end, but they'll be a side to watch out for at Under 18 level."

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