St. Benedict's win 'all saints day' clash

Triumph at Twickenham for school in U-15s final


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St. Benedict's School celebrated a very happy end of term with a win in the Daily Mail national U-15s rugby competition at Twickenham. The team overcame local rivals St. Paul's by 12-7 in a tense final.

With both schools having the day off, a noisy partisan crowd meant that the stadium did not lack atmosphere despite the empty stands on three sides. The match was a true local derby with many of the boys familiar with each other from club rugby. Two, Arthur Ellis of St. Benedict's and William East of St. Paul's, live next door to each other in Woodville Gardens, Ealing. The St. Paul's coach Dom Little had formerly been in charge of the St. Benedict's team.

St. Benedict's, who came to the match with a 5 year unbeaten run, started brightly and completely dominated the opening quarter. A single converted try by Daniel Porter was their only reward but it looked at that stage that an easy victory might be in store. St. Benedict's had clearly recognised that their opponents had a height advantage in the line out and sought to nullify it with a series of unorthodox plays, a strategy that proved to be largely successful.

However, St. Paul's, who had their own 39 match unbeaten run to defend, started to get stronger as the half progressed and, in one of their only ventures into the opposition's 22, a powerful run by captain Christopher Berry was converted by Nicholas Simson leading to the two teams going in level at half time.

St. Benedict's resumed their dominance early in the second half and were unlucky not to score in the corner early on when Aristide Goulain broke through. On two occasions, St. Benedict's passed up the chance of kickable penalties to run the ball, clearly believing that they could break their opponents line with Pierre Cameron in particular always looking dangerous in possession. Pressure evenutally told and St. Benedict's were soon over for their second try scored by centre Adam Cole.

This heralded another resurgence from St. Paul's with handling errors from an increasingly nervous St. Benedict's often giving them possession in key areas. However, with some fearsome tackling a stout defence held out until the final whistle for a deserved win.

March 25, 2005