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Home > News > Cheshire wheatsheaf prominent at Twickenham
Your News Cheshire wheatsheaf prominent at Twickenham

THE WHEATSHEAF of Cheshire will be prominently displayed at Twickenham for Daily Mail RBS Schools Day on Wednesday, March 31, when three schools teams from the county will be represented in the four-match finals programme.

Wilmslow High School, Sandbach School and Lymm High School were be representing Cheshire in the showpiece, a statistic which underlines the high calibre of schools rugby in the North West county.

Adding to the strong Cheshire theme will be the fact that the other Northern representatives on Finals Day, RGS Newcastle, will be coached by Andy Watt, a man with strong connections with two of the North West trio.

"In my last year at Alsager I was employed at Simon Robertson at Sandbach and coached his forwards. It was my first real coaching position, but I also did some teacher placement at Lymm High and did some coaching there, so it will be nice to get together again. Tuesday night should be good fun.

"We're all fine and fit and going into the game on the back of a good County Cup win over Gosforth High School. Everyone came through that game OK, which was the main thing, with our fly-half Joel Hodgson scoring one try and making another couple before we took him off.

"He missed the semi-final, but he's fit again and with England Under 18s this weekend.

"As you would expect, there's a lot of excitement in the school and we're expecting a lot of support. There's been keen interest from the old boys who are London based and we could have around 1,500 to cheer us.

"We haven't done anything special in terms of preparation and we're just treating it as a normal game. Most of our games since November have been away, Whitgift seem to be the favourites and we're just keeping our heads under the radar and looking forward to the day. If we can put in a good performance we might be OK."

In the Under 15 Cup, Wilmslow High School will be making their second appearance in the showpiece and aiming to make amends for a 3-0 reverse in the Under 18 Vase final against Ermysted's Grammar School from Skipton in 2007.

Their opponents Wellington College from Crawthorne are more seasoned Twickenham campaigners. They won the Under 18 Cup in 2008 when they beat St Benedict's, Ealing 7-3 and were finalists in the inaugural Under 15 Cup in 1988 when they were beaten by RGS Guildford.

A 3-3 draw with Bedford School in the 1994 Under 15 final was followed by a brace of defeats by RGS High Wycombe and Whitgift in 1996 and 1999 respectively before wins over Bramhall HS and Millfield in 2000 and 2008 redressed the balance.

Sandbach School are making their debut at Twickenham and hoping to extend a winning run of 11 successive win when they tackle Norwich School in their first final appearance in the Under 18 Vase competition.

Their place at Twickenham comes in as season which started with a string of injuries and a run of defeats, while their opponents Norwich are also in uncharted territory. Even they are bringing a measure of Cheshire influence to proceedings in that their coach, Iain Grisewood, is a former Chester College team-mate of Robertson.

Completing the Cheshire trio are Lymm High School who will be making their fourth final appearance since they made their breakthrough with a defeat in the 2000 Under 18 Vase final against Wallington Grammar School.

Since then they have won the Under18 Vase in 2006 and the Under 15 Cup in 2007, so they are well briefed in what is required to win at Twickenham.

Their opponents Brighton College have a run of 15 successive wins to underpin their hopes and a testament from their vanquished semi-final opposition as to the calibre of their well-organised defence.

With England Under 18 half-back Joel Hodgson an absentee from the semi-final win over Stowe School, RGS Newcastle will be hoping to add a real cutting edge to their Under 18 Cup challenge against Whitgift.

The North East school were in the 1994 Under 18 Cup final against Mount St Mary's, who beat them 17-13, but have not appeared at this stage since, whereas their opponents were Under 15 Cup winners in 1999 and 2003 and finalists in 1997, so they have a handle on how to approach their pressures of appearing on the big stage.

That said, the tension of the big occasion can unhinge the most accomplished set of youngsters and the likelihood is that the teams that cope with the pressure on the day deliver their best form will come away with the honours.


11.00am: Daily Mail RBS Under 15 Vase - Brighton College v Lymm High School

12.30pm: Daily Mail RBS Under 15 Cup - Wilmslow High School v Wellington College

14.00pm: Daily Mail RBS Under 18 Vase - Norwich School v Sandbach School

15.30pm: Daily Mail RBS Under 18 Cup - Whitgift v RGS Newcastle

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