Schoolboy heroes

Jubilant Ponteland relax after winning the U16s Northumberland Cup final against Duchess's High School, Alnwick. Photograph by Keith Robertson.
Jubilant Ponteland relax after winning the U16s Northumberland Cup final against Duchess's High School, Alnwick. Photograph by Keith Robertson.
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Ponteland High School 17 Duchess’s High, Alnwick 14 U16s Northumberland Cup

THE final of the U16 Northumberland Schools Rugby Cup final turned out to be a hotly-contested affair between two well-matched schools.

On a perfect evening for rugby at Druid Park, Callerton, it was clear from the start this was going to be a close game. Ponteland gained early possession and quickly got into their rhythm, keeping the ball close to the breakdown and making short yardage.

Resolute defending by Duchess’s caused a turn-over and a fine kick by the number 10 turned the Ponteland defence. From the resulting line-out, Duchess’s secured possession and after two rucks were over the line for the first score of the match, which was duly converted.

Despite a great deal of effort, Ponteland failed to capitalise on their possession and turned around at half-time seven points down.

The second half saw a tactical change from Ponteland which bore immediate rewards.

Moving the ball away from the contact and getting over the gain line created more space and the scores were soon level.

After a period of even play from both teams, it was Ponteland who broke away again. Michael Searle darted through the Duchess’s defensive line, running half the pitch to score under the posts.

Duchess’s rallied immediately and following some good handling from their backs and forwards scored under the posts to level it.

As with so many matches, an infringement virtually from the restart gave Ponteland a penalty 30 metres out, which proved to be the decisive score.

Leading 17-14 going into the final 10 minutes, Ponteland had to sustain an onslaught from Duchess’s – who crossed the line four times but failed to ground the ball.

Winning squad: Adam Collard, Robbie Crowe, Jake Dixon, Harry Eglon, David Fenton, Josh Graham, Scott Graham, Lewis Greenwell, Rowan Horne, Adam Lawson, Phil McAreavey, Matty Nicholson, Dan Pow, Michael Searle, Jack Spells, Jamie Taylor, James Towert-Adams, Jordan Varah, Connor Welsh, Courtney West, Miles Worthington.