1st XV Lancashire Plate Winners
Match report by Mr King:
The 1st XV were scheduled to play the final of their Lancashire Plate competition on Wednesday 2nd March at Liverpool St Helens Rugby Club but this was postponed due to waterlogged pitches and the match had to be arranged for Wednesday 23rd March. A coin toss was made and Bolton were the winners meaning that the final would now be played at Bolton School. The squad went into the final having not played a competitive fixture in 6 weeks but confidence and motivation was high as 11 of the squad would be playing their final fixture in a Merchant Taylors’ shirt.
The lack of match practice was clear to see in the first half, silly mistakes, a lack of discipline and inaccuracy resulted in Bolton having the majority of possession in the opening 20 minutes. Luckily for Merchants, the Bolton side could only turn this possession into one penalty kick resulting in a 3-0 lead with only 10 season. Merchants finally started to enjoy more possession towards the end of the first half which resulted in Head Boy, Tom Cope running a fantastic line off Max Hodkinson and he ran straight through the defence to score the side’s first try which was converted by Charlie Harrocks allowing Merchants to have a slender 7 points to 3 at half-time.
Accuracy, discipline and speeding up the tempo of the game were the half-time instructions and the boys took these on board almost immediately when the game resumed. Bolton secured a penalty from the kick off and were successful to bring the scores to 7-6 but it was clear to see that Merchants were now controlling the tempo of the game and were gaining a lot more possession. From a penalty the side kicked to the corner were they set up a driving lineout which resulted in captain Will Gilby controlling the ball at the back of the maul to touch down for the sides 2nd try which was once again converted by Harrocks and gave the side a more comfortable 14-6 lead. Another well created and well deserved score by Charlie Harrocks gave the team a 19-6 lead and the game started to look a lot more comfortable for the team which allowed the side to make a few substitutions to give Year 12 and Year 11 boys experience of playing on this type of stage.
Tom Barker-Weinberger, one of the Year 11 boys side stepped his way to the try line which was also converted to give the team a 26-6 lead moving into the final 5 minutes of the game. All credit to the Bolton side who battled the whole way to the final whistle and deservedly scored a consolation try right on the final whistle which was celebrated by the large number of home supporters who were out to support their team. This left the final score of the game 26-13 in favour of Merchant Taylors who were crowned Lancashire Plate Winners 2015-2016. It was a great way to end the season and to end school rugby for 11 of the senior boys who will all leave for university in the summer. Mr King would like to thank the school leavers for their services to rugby and wish them every success in the future. For the Year 11 and 12 boys, training starts immediately after the Easter holidays in preparation for their upcoming tour to Hong Kong and Australia in July 2016.
Squad – R.Behl, J.Gorman, T.Shorrock, M.Millen, B.Kelly, T.Cope, H.May, W.Gilby, M.Hodkinson, J.Owen, C.Leece, C.Harrocks, L.Jones, J.Rawlinson, B.Aitchison, J.Boyce, M.Fletcher, M.Zaki, C.Millen, T.Barker-Weinberger, G.Poli
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