Defending champions Dulwich College advance to the seventh round after a weather-affected 22-7 victory at Judd's School in Tonbridge
Dulwich College’s 1st XV journeyed to Tonbridge on Dec 18 for their sixth round Schools Cup fixture against the Judd School. With Kentish oast houses providing an idyllic backdrop, the garden of England pitch was anything but perfect. Resembling the aftermath of a spillage at a glue factory, the match promised to be a clash of the forwards.
With a strong cross pitch wind, Dulwich started playing down hill in the match that was to be characterised by dropped balls, missed kicks and handling errors. The only sure hands were those of Mother Earth, who grabbed the ball at every opportunity and proved unwilling to yield.
Seven minutes after the start Dulwich thought they had opened the scoring but winger Anthony Nzegwe’s effort was judged to have been held up. However, the visitors exploited the territory advantage and their persistent attack was rewarded a short while later when they kicked a penalty to the corner and mauled from the lineout to give captain Felix Maddison one of his trademark No8 tries.
With the prospect of playing uphill in the second half, Dulwich, by now playing in brown, would have been happier with a lead of more than the 5-0 showing on the scoreboard. Judd School, also now playing in brown, failed to take advantage of the slope, however, and the Dulwich forwards maintained their domination.
Three times Judd's drove over the line but three times the ball was deemed held up. Dulwich in their desperation to make their endeavours visible to the referee shipped the ball to the scrum-half Pierre Thompson for an individual run at the line. Ed Berry’s conversion of that try put the visitors fleetingly in command at 12-0.
If Dulwich felt they could now relax, their hopes were short lived when Seb Petit scored for Judd School only two minutes later. Adding the conversion meant that Judd's were only a score behind.
Not to be outdone, Dulwich hit straight back with Berry running in a 20-metre dash, which was the longest carry of the match in conditions which dictated that the pack were the heroes on the day.
To hammer home their victory, in the closing minutes, Dulwich’s tactic of kicking for territory and then using their pack’s dominance to force their way to the line paid off when left winger Dan Britt took the blind side pass from the ruck and made it 22-7, the score on the final whistle.
On the day Dulwich broke up for the Christmas holidays, the passage to the seventh round of their defence of the NatWest Schools Cup and the promise of a local derby against rivals Trinity School was a welcomed early present.
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