Dulwich College 11 Hampton School 5
Venue – Broad Street, Coventry
The 1st XV travelled to Coventry for the 2nd year in a row full of confidence and with high expectations. The team’s preparation for the game had been as thorough and professional as time allowed. The squad trained every day during half term and the players showed great commitment by attending daily practice sessions afterschool in the run up to the semi final. Every possible angle and scenario had been explored. The game plan was set.
From the kick off Dulwich looked imperious. The first passage of play saw Dulwich move the ball steadily through 10 phases, exploring both wings and giving all the major ball carriers a first and settling touch of the ball. The Hampton players defended resolutely and their supporters cheered every vital tackle made. If this was to be the pattern for the entire game a comfortable Dulwich victory was assured. It was not to be.
Dulwich resisted the opportunity to secure an early lead and opted to kick for the corner. Both kicks made good ground but the normally reliable Dulwich lineout misfired on both occasions and the Hampton forwards began to disrupt and deny possession.
The Dulwich team then enjoyed their most fluent spell, A Fraser penalty established the lead, which was never surrendered, and an extraordinary passage of play eventually broke the Hampton defence and Ali Neden ran in untouched for a magnificent try. The game then stagnated and was punctuated by midfield penalties and poor decision making from both teams. Defence dominated and the pace of the game began to take its toll. Dulwich spent most of the second half camped on the edge of their own 22, and Hampton were able to force a catch and drive score as Dulwich had been reduced to 13 men following two technical infringements that brought the yellow card from the young referee’s pocket.
Nervously the Dulwich team held on the secure a second visit to Twickenham. The team remains unbeaten in the 15 a-side season. The Dream Team of ‘97 must surely be looking over their shoulders proudly. The final is to be played at Twickenham on Saturday 23rd March. Details of how to obtain tickets will be posted in the next few days. Mr Jamie King
Director of Sport