Reigate Grammar School (RGS) First XV rugby boys have secured the Under-18 NatWest Plate title, winning 20-16 in a nail-biting final against Solihull School at Sixways Stadium in Worcester.
Despite an injury-hit start to the season, a huge squad effort enabled the RGS boys to progress through the early knockout stages of the competition.
The first half of the final saw huge defences from both sides and fierce work at the breakdown taking the score to 6 a piece for the first 30 mins, with Lucas Overtoom (RGS) and Tom Searle (Solihull) landing superb alternate penalties. Total dominance at the line out and possession of the ball from RGS was countered by a brutal defence and excellent kicking from Solihull. However, in the last minutes of the first half, the Solihull defence wilted and the power and pace of Reigate led to Joe Gregory diving over in the corner. The try was converted and RGS entered the break with a slim 13-6 advantage.
The second half began with Solihull winning a kickable penalty to close the gap to 13-9. The momentum then reversed with some fine handling and high tempo play from RGS leading to scrum half, Alexander Skinner, sniping through under the posts.
The try was converted and now the lead had stretched to 20-9. Solihull hammered away at the Reigate defence for the final 10 minutes. It didn’t look like the break would happen until a barrelling run resulted in a try under the posts for the Midlands school. All of a sudden the momentum was with Solihull, who were now within a try of their opponents. With so little time left, it seemed like things could go either way, particularly when RGS missed a penalty chance.
But in the end, Reigate boys won the day.
RGS Head Shaun Fenton said: “This was a brilliant result and a fitting finale to the school playing careers of some of our extremely talented players. Solihull put on a fantastic performance, which makes our triumph all the sweeter.”