Match Report
Crossley Heath School 1st XV vs  St Joseph's College, Stoke
On: Wednesday, 23 Mar 2005
Venue: Away

Venue: Twickenham

DEFENCE WINS VASE FOR CROSSLEY HEATH

Crossley Heath School 10 St Joseph's College, Stoke 3

Crossley Heath School from Halifax were indebted to their watertight defence for helping them to lift the Daily Mail Under-18 Schools Vase in a tense final at Twickenham today.

The School that produced British Lions Phil Horrocks-Taylor and Brian Moore scored the only try of the match through fly-half Luke Gray but they had to absorb long periods of pressure before they secured victory.

Crossley Heath's defence also held firm against the odds in their semi-final victory over St Olave's from Orpington last month and coach Steve Donlan was once again a relieved man.

'The last couple of games have been very hard work but our defence was superb again today,' said Donlan who combines his rugby duties with his day job as Head of History at the school.

'We won the first half but we eased off in the second and St Joseph's won that period. We haven't lost a game since Christmas and to win the Vase rounds off an excellent second half of the season.

'It's been a wonderful experience and a day that everyone involved will remember. The boys will have some fantastic memories which they will treasure for the rest of their lives and the Vase is a superb competition because it allows schools like ours the chance to enjoy a day at Twickenham.'

Gray, who is on the books of the Leeds Tykes Academy, emerged as Crossley Heath's hero with an individual flash of
illiance, a shimmy and smooth acceleration that carved open St Joseph's defence after 16 minutes.

Centre Thomas Best, who is on the books of Bradford Bulls rugby league club, added the conversion followed by a 24th minute penalty but the second half was almost all St Joseph's.

Cheered on by a noisy contingent of 800 supporters St Joseph's worked themselves into good positions but they could not apply the final touch or
each Crossley Heath's miserly defence.

Skipper Chris Rowley gave them hope when he landed a 53rd minute penalty and centre Edward Howe made Crossley Heath work hard for their victory but the trophy went to Yorkshire.

'It's been a great experience getting to Twickenham, a great day out for the school and we had fantastic support,' said St Jospeh's coach Rick Christopherson.

'We let them play a bit in the first half but the second half was ours and if one or two chances had gone our way it might have been a different story. I said before the game that we were winners by getting to Twickenham but it's still disappointing to lose having got here.'

Crossley Heath School: Ben Mitchell (captain); Thomas Anthony, Luke Sherrard, Thomas Best, Lewis Sharpe; Luke Gray, James Mallard; Jonathan Beaumont, Robert Oliver, Thomas Ward, Ramonjot Sembi, Oliver Coyne, Joshua Anstee, Neil Sowden, Gavin Jones. Replacements used: Kyle Wild, James Wise.

St Jospeh's College, Stoke: Matthew Joy; Daniel Butler, Luke Butler, Edward Howe, Daniel Townson; Steven Talbot, Christopher Rowley (captain); David Horne, Robert Cheadle, Michael Colley, Phillip Edwards, James Cordall, James Dickinson, James Sherratt, Peter Wilshaw. Replacements used: Christopher Hill, Edward Rowley, Rory Donnelly, Alex Lukasiewicz, Matthew Harrison.

Referee: Paul Dickens (RFU)

Paul Bolton

RFU Regional Press Officer

07966 102 495