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Bromsgrove Crowned NatWest Champions

Bromsgrove School 30 - 18 Dulwich College

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2015 07:03pm
St. Johns, Bromsgrove
By Paul Bolton
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A commanding finish powered Bromsgrove to victory in a memorable NatWest Schools Under-18s Cup final which ended Dulwich’s hopes of a fourth successive title in English school’s premier knock-out competition.

Two tries in five minutes from wing Cooper Bent and substitute back Blake Edwards overturned Dulwich’s hard earned advantage of 18-13 in the showpiece final on NatWest Schools Day at Twickenham.

Bromsgrove, who were given a pre-match pep talk from old boy in England prop Matt Mullan, deservedly gained their first title at this level after starting quickly in building a 10-0 lead before champions Dulwich found their stride.

Dulwich played their best in the middle period of the match when taking that 18-13 lead through the all-round play of fly half Jon Waugh who contributed 13 points, including a first-half try, and second-half score from lock Luke Bliss.

Bromsgrove, who won by three tries to two, also had an able fly half in Luke White, who was voted man of the match, for his 15 points and pinpoint cross kick which brought the crucial try for Bent 10 minutes from time.

Once the teams overcame those early nerves the final developed into a riveting watch. Bromsgrove dominated the first 15 minutes and deservedly led 10-0, White adding a penalty to the conversion of a try by lock Beck Cutting.

Cutting had forced his way over after an excellent spell of concerted Bromsgrove pressure had Dulwich defending grimly before giving way in the 10th minute when the lock plunged over.

White converted the try and then added that penalty which put Bromsgrove 10-0 up before Dulwich had enjoyed any period of dominance.

Dulwich needed a pick up and that was delivered by the way flanker Tom Watling tore into the re-start following the penalty by White.

His charge won possession and gave Dulwich their first chance to set up shop in the Bromsgrove 22 and the pressure led to Waugh, running a good line of attack, breaking through.

The fly half added the conversion to cut Bromsgrove’s lead to 10-7 as Dulwich looked to take command.

Bromsgrove had other ideas and gained another penalty which White failed to land before Waugh succeeded with his next kick to level the match at 10-10.

An excellent first half ended in Bromsgrove again forcing Dulwich into an error and this time White landed the penalty for a 13-10 lead at the break.

Dulwich upped the pace at the start of the second half by trying to introduce their strong runners in Omar Malik and Reece Pinnock.

The ploy put them on the attack and brought a second penalty from Waugh before Dulwich gained a second try. It was not the wings who brought the score but the team’s driving maul off a line-out.

Bliss emerged from a pile of bodies as the scorer which gave Dulwich a lead of 18-13, Waugh striking the upright from the conversion.

The game became more and more nervous as Bromsgrove fought back helped by the accurate kicking of White.

The Bromsgrove fly half kicked a third penalty before catching out the Dulwich defence through a cross kick which landed in the arms of Bent.

To complete White’s purple patch he added the conversion from near the touchline to put his team 23-18 ahead.

Dulwich tried to mount a comeback but each time they were rebuffed by Bromsgrove’s good defence and counter-attacking panache which brought the final try for Edwards.

The substitute back left the Dulwich defence trailing as he raced 20 metres to score. White converted to complete a match haul of 15 points.

 

What they said:

Paul Mullan (Bromsgrove director of sport):

“We did have this decision last summer about whether or not to enter and I advised not to. I think on reflection it was probably the right decision.

“Tony Windo was trying to get two terms rugby. The main aim was for it to be a development tool and this has come out of that.

“This has been a surprise because it is such a young squad plus the draw we had. We had Warwick and Solihull and then we got through those rounds and then we had Stamford and Daunstey’s and then Oundle in the semi-final so we have done it the hard way.”

 

Tony Windo (Bromsgrove director of rugby):

“I think the boys have got their rewards for the tremendous amount of afferot they have put in all season.

“They are credit to the school first and foremost but they are a credit to themselves as a group, they work exceptionally hard during the week and they have been a pleasure to coach.

“I think that is a life lesson for them. You get out of life what you put into it. They have worked exceptionally hard through the course of the season and I think today they got their just rewards.”

 

Matt Mullan (England and Wasps prop and former Bromsgrove player):

“As an Under 15 I got the quarter-final but I never got this close to Twickenham.

“I doen a little bit this week to make the last few days special for the boys because it is a big thing. To play at Twickenham as a 16, 17 or 18 year old boy is the stuff that dreams are made of. You savour it as a professional rugby player let alone to be able to do it as a schoolboy.

“I think it’s amazing achievement for my father and everyone involved in the team.

“To come away winners today is testament to the hard work that has gone in.

“I spoke to the players in the changing rooms before and said that first and foremost they should enjoy it. You don’t get many occasions like this.

“In big games simple things are done well. They didn’t have to do anything out of the ordinary, just to stick to what got them here.”

 

Sam Howard (Dulwich director of rugby):

“Obviously it hurts a lot. The boys are absolutely devastated but Bromsgrove were the better team and they deserved to win.

“We made too many errors and maybe tried to play too much rugby when we should have played more tactically and tried to play in the right areas and that hurt us.

“The boys have been outstanding this season. They are devastated now but they have been an absolute credit to the school.

“They are devastated now but they have still been an absolute credit to the school. We had to lose at some stage but it’s tough to lose in a final. At least they have been at Twickenham.”

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