Match Report
Bishop's Stortford High School Boys-U18A vs  Dartford Grammar School
On: Saturday, 15 Nov 2014
Venue: Away

A promising 1st half but a error stricken 2nd half against Campion had made the Bishop’s Stortford High School 1XV determined to put in a good performance against a Dartford Grammar School team that had not lost a game this season. Stortford were hit by several injuries before the match which caused a few players to play out of their normal positions but TBSHS were willing to play nonetheless.

In the first half, Stortford had the kickoff and from the off, put Dartford under immediate pressure for a short period of time. Although territory soon began to be shared, it was clear Stortford were becoming comfortable with their structure and they began to play a good style of rugby, moving the Dartford defence, running hard and exploiting gaps. The set piece was going very well also, and it was from this that Stortford’s first meaningful attack happened. The forwards did a good job of carrying the ball up the middle to gain yards and the ball was then spun to Will Powell who put in a brilliant pass to find Ben Gallop on a great angle about 30m out from the Dartford try line. Gallop broke through one tackle and then showed a great turn of pace to leave the opposition behind and then finished it off by stepping the full back. The conversion was missed but Stortford knew they could match the hosts. The key for TBSHS at the restart of play was to hold strong for 5 minutes and they did that job even with an almost constant stream of Dartford bodies running at the line. Having been camped on their own line for about 10 minutes, working incredibly hard, the Stortford defence was finally broken and Dartford went in under the posts. However, Stortford came back with fury straight from the kick off, forcing a scrum to Dartford. From this scrum, Dartford moved the ball and then tried to clear their lines, but Harry Wright, playing in the centres for the first time, launched himself through the air to charge down the kick. In the ensuing scramble, the Dartford fly half failed to recover the ball and Wright dived on the ball to score a great individual display of determination. The conversion was kicked. And that ended the best half of rugby TBSHS had played for the whole season, with the score at 12-7.

The second half did not go as well as Stortford had planned. Not in a performance way as such, but more in the way of territory and possession. Boys High never seemed to leave their own half as they found it hard to stop the big Dartford pack’s rolling maul. Dartford gained momentum from a missed tackle in the back line which allowed the winger to run to the try line unchallenged. Several penalty decisions against the visitors meant that they constantly had to try and stop the maul from reaching try line, and although Stortford proved they were capable of doing this, the Dartford forwards soon became too powerful and set up an easy try in the corner. This continued for the rest of the second half with the host forwards picking and driving at every opportunity. Stortford still defended at a high intensity and made it very difficult for Dartford to score but quick ball eventually led to an easy run in in the corner. After another period of picks and drives leading to the last play of the game, Dartford managed to finish a backs move under the posts to issue a 24-12 defeat against the High School.

In evaluation, the scoreline does not reflect the games as a whole because every time TBSHS got the ball, they made yards and caused the opposition problems. It just happened to be that they did not receive a lot of the ball in the second half and therefore, could not impose themselves like they did in the first half. But overall, Stortford put in a very promising performance, something which should give them confidence and something that they can build on in future weeks.