Some were calling it ‘Inst v Inst’, ‘3s v 4s’, ‘Colts v Seniors’, or my personal favorite: ‘The Clash at Cranmore’, but what we did know was that this eagerly-awaited encounter brought together two evenly-matched sides, contesting for the 3rd XVCup; an occasion when the School was the winner whatever the outcome!
The Seniors drew first blood with a devastating break from Jamie Kilpatrick that led to pressure inside the Colts 22. After a number of phases Stuart McCaughan crashed over with a snipe from the base of the ruck. Tommy Luke converted to put the seniors 7-0 up.
The Colts fought back and a Rhys O’Donnell penalty narrowed the gap to 4 points. The Seniors continued to make breaks with Jamie Kilpatrick and Jack McComb at the forefront of the attack. After numerous phases the Seniors were awarded a kickable penalty with which Tommy Luke made no mistake, and the Seniors led 10-3.
Just before the half-time break, the Colts were applying pressure in the Seniors red zone. Their efforts were to pay off with Adam Gowdy superbly finishing a creative backline move. The conversion was missed and the Seniors went in to half-time with a deserved 10-8 lead.
With the sun splitting the sky, the second half kicked off. The Colts weathered an early storm and were lucky not to concede when Jake Wood took a quick tap 5 metres from the line only to be held millimetres short. The tide was beginning to turn and the Colts started to see more of the ball in the Seniors’ half. O’Donnell was peppering the narrow side with a series of box kicks and snipes. Ethan Field and Charlie Cloke started to see more of the ball in open spaces. The Colts then took advantage when a number of big carries in the midfield by Corrie Barrett and Harry Gallagher led to Zak Davidson finishing in the corner to give the Colts a 13-10 lead.
The Seniors poured on pressure at the death with some blistering breaks from Jack McComb, only to be thwarted by some last-ditch tackles. However, the Colts held firm to grind out a win in a pulsating match.
The match was played in good spirits and the boys on both sides were a credit to the School.
The winning Colts team
The Colts and Seniors