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Gutsy Perse suffer NatWest Vase defeat To Trent College

School lost out in national semi-finals

Dreams of Twickenham were brought to an end for The Perse School as they were defeated 29-15 by Trent College in the NatWest Schools’ Under-18 Vase semi-finals.

But they will have left Saracens’ Allianz Park with their heads held high after a stoic performance.

For large swathes of the game they were more than a match for their opponents, with Trent’s greater finishing ability being the telling factor in the end.

The Perse youngsters were resolute in defence and their forwards were winning a number of good turnovers at the breakdown, stifling the ability of Trent to get the ball out to their potent backs.

And it was the backline where the difference between the sides perhaps came to the fore, as Trent were fluid and able to punch holes in the defence, while the Perse were met by a good blitz defence that restricted their ability to get over the gain line.

It was certainly for no lack of trying though, as inside centre Henry Hackett really caught the eye, particularly in the first half, with some good sidesteps to change the direction of running and play.

There were some big ball carries from No 8 Alex Coles, with the pack working tirelessly against opponents that certainly had a sizeable physical advantage.

The Perse were not over powered at the scrum though and showed that they could use the catch and drive to good effect, however that probably was not on quite enough occasions as Trent held the upper hand at the line-out.

Trent had taken the lead after five minutes as scrum-half Ben Goddard produced a typical scrum-half snipe to spot the space and dart over the line, with Ben Dickinson adding the conversion.

There was then a long delay for an injury to a Trent player, but the Nottingham school managed to keep their focus after the restart to create a catch and drive from a line-out to spread play left for Brandon Joss to touch down in the corner, with the extras making it 14-0.

Perse hit back with a penalty from George Laing, but the half finished with another move from a set piece going across the pitch for Trent winger Harvey Dolman to touch down, with Dickinson’s conversion making it 21-3 at half time.

At the start of the second period, George Finney kicked a penalty for Trent and five minutes later, Jack Dickson touched down to increase their lead to 29-3.

But the Perse then showed great character to hit back, and were the dominant side for the rest of the game, although they met some top defending from Trent.

They did get across the line in the 61st minute as a rolling maul saw them eat up the space before moving possession left for Conor Fairhead to ground in the corner.

And three minutes from time, the Perse got to the line again and Sacha Abbasi touched down for a try.

It was a little too late for the Perse though, but they can take great pride in reaching the semi-finals and just came up against a strong Trent team who deserved their win in a game that was played in the true Corinthian spirit of rugby.

Perse School: Tyrell; Arbide, E Laing, Hackett, Fairhead; G Laing, McManus; Featherstone, Lockie, Budenberg, Rusted, Cuthbert, Dix, Whitehead, Coles.

Replacements: Gadsby, Kilcommons, Abbasi, Barker, Thompson.

Trent College: Joss; McDonnell, Dickinson, Livesey, Dolman; Finney, Goddard; Hendry-Briscos, Smith, McCallum, Boddington, Nath, Dickinson, Benstead, Dickson.

Scorers: 5 Goddard try – Dickinson con (0-7), 24 Joss try – Dickinson con (0-14), 28 G Laing pen (3-14), 35 Dolman try – Dickinson con (3-21), 38 Finney pen (3-24), 43 Dickson try (3-29), 61 Fairhead try (8-29), 67 Abbasi try – G Laing con (15-29).


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