Heroic Bloxham Performance at NatWest Semi-Final
On Saturday 27th February, Bloxham’s 1st XV bowed out of the NatWest Vase one step from a Twickenham final in the cruellest of circumstances, but the boys could console themselves with the fact that they had gone unbeaten throughout the tournament.
A tense game at the Saracens’ ground, Allianz Park, ended in a 20-20 draw with Northampton School for Boys. However, it was the 2013 Cup finalists rather than Bloxham who went through because they had scored the first try of the game, both sides having scored the same number of tries and conversions – there was no provision for extra time. Bloxham showed great heart to come from behind twice. From 12-3 down at half time the team scored tries through Toby and Jack, the latter from a superbly weighted kick by Jake. This saw the boys go 15-12 ahead only for NSB, whose pack did well throughout with driving mauls from the lineout, to score a try and penalty to take a 20-15 lead. Once more Bloxham, playing the more fluent attacking rugby, came back to score a superb try out wide from George in the dying seconds, only for the difficult conversion to go a few inches wide. The final whistle blew immediately and the Bloxham boys’ hearts were broken. What made a lasting impression on most of those present was the dignity in defeat shown by Andy Goldsmith’s players, who were great ambassadors for Bloxham School throughout their run to the semi-final.
George could take some consolation in being selected as part of the Fifteen Rugby website's "Team of the Day”, which was based on the eight teams who were involved in the NatWest semi-finals that day. This is a considerable accolade given that the majority of the fifteen players chosen were from the Cup holders, Bromsgrove, who were in ominous form, scoring 50 points against Whitgift. According to Fifteen Rugby, George’s performance was “...rounded off by a brilliant try at the end of the game to level the scores at 20-20, only for NSB to go though as the first try scorers. He deserved better luck.”
The team were grateful to all the many parents, friends, pupils and Old Bloxhamists who made the journey to Allianz Park to support, and to their coaches Andy Goldsmith and Simon Batten, and team doctor Stephen Haynes for their hard work.
You can watch the RFU's official recording of the match by clicking this link - we're the first ones on!
Thank you to our photograpers on the day. Main story image provided by Katrina Edmunds, and featured image by Simon Grieve. To view a complete album of photos taken at the match, please click here.