On Monday night The Lambs rounded off their domestic season with a 41-12 win over Nottingham Rugby Academy at Lady Bay.
After a hard fought battle in difficult conditions last week against Coventry, the fixture was played in relatively good conditions, despite the cold. This allowed The Lambs to throw the ball about a little bit more than they did last week, whilst they also showed far more control in their execution of the Fast and Free philosophy.
The Lambs started at a ferocious pace with the pressure telling in the opening stages as they played wide to wide. Lewis Hyland-Dugbo (Woodhouse Grove) showed some unbelievable speed to finish in the left hand corner and put the boys in pink 5-0 ahead. This was followed up with more high paced rugby and eventually Oundle captain Ben Hampden-Smith got on the end of a Guy Butterworth (Sir John Lawes) break, before interchanging with Jack Seymour (Emmanuel) who was brought down just short of the line. Hampden-Smith then charged over off the next phase to extend the lead to 12-0.
As ever, the Academy sides will never back down and almost immediately they responded with a fantastic 1st phase score off the back of a midfield scrum. They then got an intercept score to bring the scores to 12-12 with some equally quick speed on show. The game was fully on!
A number of replacements during the first half then added some energy back into The Lambs game. Man of the Match Henley College fly-half Luke Talbot, making his debut, was a key part of this and got himself on the score-sheet with his very first touch of the ball.
The energy stayed high and eventually another Talbot break let The Lambs flood the gap and the impressive Callum Hall (King’s Ely) took the inside pass to finish off a length of the field score and take the game to 24-12 at half term.
The second half started at a similar pace to the first, but both teams showed stoic defences and high work rate to keep each other out. As the game came into the final quarter it took some great build up play from Vice-captain Alex Rowe (Mount Kelly) and captain Seb Dickins (Felsted) to put The Lambs in a great position, before some individual brilliance from Seymour (Emmanuel) saw him score in the corner (29-12).
This score picked the team in pink up and the other Vice-captain Callum Hall got his second, carving through the defence on an outward arc. The game then finished with an equally impressive score in the final play as Charlie McHale (Felsted) made a break on the half-way line and fed Bishop Stortford full-back Tom Howell to slide in under the posts, taking the final score to 41-12.
Full Time: Lambs 41-12 Nottingham Rugby Academy
Speaking after the game, Lambs Director of Rugby Alex Laybourne said:
“It was a great performance from the boys against a strong Nottingham side. The players took the lessons we talked about from the previous four games and adapted, as well as playing fast and free, but with control and execution of the basics.”
“I am delighted for those playing their last XVs game of schoolboy rugby to go out on that performance, whilst it is also a great way to set us up for the South Africa tour.”
It was the Lambs’ second game in a row against Academy opposition, having last week lost out 17-7 to Coventry Academy in a rain affected game with lots of mistakes. Coventry had led 12-7 at the break, Tom Howell of Bishop’s Stortford College scoring for the Lambs, but in worsening second half contitions the game stagnated further, Coventry only adding to their tally in the last play with a hack through.
Next up for the Lambs is their Easter tour of South Africa, which is due to depart on Saturday 28th March, though there is still a slim chance of them managing to rearrange their weather affected fixture against Boys Club of Wales.
If that is the end of the domestic season though, the Lambs will head to South Africa with this outstanding effort against Nottingham as the last on field memory. Over the course of the domestic season they have used 45 players, with only Wisbech Grammar School’s George Dady playing a part in all five of their fixtures.
The fast and free spirit has certainly been alive and well, and as ever their tour should be an experience with memories that last a lifetime for those involved!
Lambs XV v Nottingham Rugby Academy
15 Jack Seymour (Emanuel, apps 2)
14 Samuel Marsden (Mount St Mary’s College, 2)
13 Charlie McHale (Felsted, 2)
12 Callum Hall (King’s Ely, vice captain, 3)
11 Lewis Hyland-Dugbo (Woodhouse Grove, 3)
10 Jake Mermagan (Framlingham College, 2)
9 Guy Butterworth (Sir John Lawes, 4)
1 Sebastian Dickens (Felsted, captain, 4)
2 Arun Watkins (Henley College, 3)
3 Joshua Burvill (Clayesmore, 3)
4 George Dady (Wisbech Grammar, 5)
5 Sulayman Aurangzeb (Tettenhall College, 4)
6 Alex Rowe (Mount Kelly, vice captain, 4)
7 Ben Hampden-Smith (Oundle, 4)
8 Alex Connaghton (Trinity, 2)
Replacements: 16 Lachlan Cook (King’s Ely, 1), 17 Jack North (Felsted, 2), 18 Archie Fuller (Milton Abbey, 3), 19 Luke Talbot (Henley College, 1), 20 Thomas Howell (Bishop’s Stortford College, 3).
Lambs 2019/20 Schedule:
Sunday 19th January – Lambs RFC 42-22 Irish Exiles
Sunday 26th January – Lambs RFC 7-52 Bristol Bears Academy
Saturday 8th February – Lambs RFC 12-19 Crawshay’s Welsh XV
Sunday 17th February – Lambs RFC v Boys Club of Wales – Cancelled, Weather
Sunday 23rd February – Lambs RFC 7-17 Coventry Academy
Monday 2nd March – Lambs RFC 41-12 Nottingham Rugby
Saturday 28th March to Friday 10th April (approx.) – Lambs RFC tour of South Africa