Semi-Final Win for Bloxham's First XV
Bloxham’s 1st XV booked their place in the final of the National Schools Plate and earned a chance of retaining the trophy with a hard-fought home win over the Grammar School at Leeds last Tuesday.
The ground staff had worked wonders to ensure the game could go ahead, but the game was played in changeable conditions which ranged from blue skies to driving rain, and in the first half Bloxham had to play into a strong wind which mostly died away after the interval. In light of this, they would have probably settled for reaching half-time trailing by only two points, 12-10, with two tries apiece. The Bloxham scores came from Harry F. and James B., the latter from one of his trademark long-range runs.
Following the interval the hope of most of the large crowd was that Bloxham would now be able to get on top, and this turned out to be the case, as they dominated possession and field position for the opening twenty minutes of the half, though excellent Leeds defence limited the home side to one try, from Harvey J., in the corner. Bloxham now led 15-12 and looked to score again to land a knockout blow. However, a late run of penalties enabled Leeds to mount a strong fightback which threatened to break Bloxham hearts. In the end, though, Bloxham were able to control the dying minutes of the game and get the ball off the field at the final whistle.
Conditions prevented this from being a spectacular game, but it was an extremely exciting one, and for this the crowd, including many Old Bloxhamists and a sizeable contingent from Yorkshire must take much of the credit. The tackling on both sides was outstanding, with Man of the Match Harry F. especially prominent. Sean B., who dominated the lineout, and Bloxham captain Dan E. were others to have exceptional games, while for Leeds Josh G. and Finlay B. were impressive.
Unfortunately, due to the impact of Coronavirus, the final has been indefinitely postponed. However, last year’s trophy still remains in Bloxham’s trophy cabinet!
With thanks to Sophie Jones for photographs in this article. For more photos of the semi-final, visit our Flickr page.