Bloxham School reached the final of the U18 Schools Plate with a hard-fought 20-5 win against Old Swinford Hospital in their re-arranged semi final on Tuesday.
The game was switched at the last minute to Stourbridge RFC on their 4G pitch thanks to waterlogging at Old Swinford Hospital, weather that caused 7s tournaments nationwide to be called off.
Bloxham, who were without rising star Alfie Barbeary, who is away on England U20 duty, opened the scoring with captain Toby Staveley Parker kicking a penalty before the home side scored a try to go 5-3 ahead after 6 minutes. Three minutes later, Bloxham centre James Boardman ran in an interception try to retake the lead, with Staveley Parker adding the conversion.
Bloxham reached half time 10-5 ahead, but had to withstand long periods of pressure in the second half before Staveley Parker kicked another penalty on Bloxham’s first incursion of the half into the Old Swinford Hospital 22.
A second long range Boardman try stretched the lead, and the conversion made the final score 20 points to 5.
Old Swinford Hospital had their fair share of the game though, giving Bloxham plenty of work to do in defence, with Bloxham’s Wasps Academy flanker Dan Eckersley earning Man of the Match award for an outstanding defensive performance as well as some great carrying.
Bloxham now head to Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium for the U18 Schools Plate final, where Sherborne will be their opponents. Sherborne beat Christ’s Hospital 24-5 in their semi final last week.
It should make for a superb final, two sides that have shone throughout the tournament. Woodhouse Grove claimed the title last year and reached the semi finals of the higher tiered Cup competition this year, which should give great hope to these two sides about what is possible next year too.
Full Time: Old Swinford Hospital 5-20 Bloxham
Images via Sophie Jones