The Year 10 side are now in the last 4 schools in their Northern category which feeds into the final 32 of the country in this competition. A ferocious effort from the forward pack put the red and whites on the front foot from the beginning. A dominant front row of Hibbert, Dorman and Ehirobo marched back Stonyhurst at the first scrum and the tempo was set from there. Poulston and Frost made huge hits in midfield to keep Stonyhurst at bay, but their pacey winger was first on the scoresheet.
Audenshaw hit back with two trys of their own after keeping the ball tight to the ruck and with Wilks setting the pace of game from 9. Audenshaw were then able to out muscle Stonyhurst for the next two scores.
With their backs against the wall, Stonyhurst fought hard to hold Audenshaw out; this led to multiple infringements in their own 22 leaving the referee no choice but to send one of the Stonyhurst forwards to the sin bin. This somewhat inspired Stonyhurst who hit back with a try before half time making the contest 14-12 to Audenshaw at the break.
Stonyhurst came out fired for the second half and scored two early tries leaving Audenshaw with much to do. Audenshaw dominated much of the game from here but just couldn't seem to get the ever so needed trys. Ehirobo and Clare were both held up over the line before a raging O'Loughlin bust through 4 would be tackles to cross the line.
In the dying embers, it appeared Audenshaw may have been pipped to the post and dumped out the competition. With only minutes to go Stonyhurst played multiple phases of possession in the Audenshaw half and secured the ball repeatedly. A knock on gave Audenshaw a chance.
Audenshaw drove the scrum with everything they had; unfortunately for them, they pushed early and gave Stonyhurst a free-kick. This was the catalyst for a series of events which won and lost the game. Stonyhurst were penalised by the referee for an incorrect technique when taking the free-kick and the ball was turned over to Audenshaw who unbelievably did the same thing. Stonyhurst incorrectly played the ball again, resulting in Audenshaw taking a scrum.
O'Loughlin and Clare were emphatic while the likes of Duke, Inglis and Akintola ensured Audenshaw retention at the ruck. They edged and edged and in what must have been 5 minutes into last play, Ehirobo crashed over from just yards away. The following kick was successful, and the full-time whistle blew with Audenshaw victorious 28-24.
The young men from Year 10 were everything we ask for in our school values. Resilient to the end, respectful in victory and responsible for their specific job roles on the pitch. We are all extremely proud of the work they consistently put in at training and we're excited for an away trip to the prestigious Merchant Taylors School in Crosby for the next round.
Best of luck boys.
Carpe Diem - Seize the day.
Mr A. Sutherland
Director of Rugby