2 March 2022
KGS U14s Lancashire Cup Final v Stonyhurst
KGS U14s’ travelled the short distance to Preston Grasshoppers RFC on Wednesday afternoon to compete in the final of the Lancashire Cup. With talisman and captain Milligan out injured they knew they would have to pull together against a strong Stonyhurst team.
Kirkham started strongly and dominated possession in the early exchanges with Captain Edwards leading from the front and Crompton and Kelso carrying strongly down the middle. After sustained pressure in the Stonyhurst twenty-two, a quick tap penalty enabled Bray to burst through and score. This was soon followed by Kirkham’s second score when the Kirkham front row of Stott, Blackburn and Prior put a Stonyhurst scrum in mid-field under pressure; Singleton and Chapman then forced the ball to go loose with Kelso on hand to pick up and beat the cover defence and score, to take a ten point lead.
Stonyhurst responded well, with strong running from their back row and centres giving them good field position. Sumner, who had a terrific first half, was strong over the ball and won the turn over, but an interception and score from the Stonyhurst centre brought them back into the game. Stonyhurst were having a purple patch where Kirkham were indebted to some outstanding defensive work, with Gildea, Crompton, Kelso and Bray all making crucial tackles. Kirkham came back strongly with a powerful run down the left from Musson who had excellent support from Sumner, Collinson and Edwards, which released Bray to score his second try just before half time - Bray also converting to give Kirkham a 17-5 half time lead.
The strong Kirkham bench had an instant impact after half time with Shackleton making a big hit. This enabled Simpson to win a turn over which set up the position for Gillett to score, after some neat foot work, and then taking a couple of defenders over with him. Unfortunately, it was his last part in the game after gaining injury in the process. Another Bray conversion opened up a 24-5 lead, but a resilient Stonyhurst side again came back with a converted try.
Kirkham responded well to the pressure, and after a period of sustained pressure, player of the match, Bray, set off on another rampaging run. Edwards and Musson, also running well, punched holes in the Stonyhurst defence to enable Bray to charge over for his hat trick, which he again converted giving Kirkham the win 31-12.
KGS U15s Lancashire Cup Final v Stonyhurst
Kirkham Grammar School U15s made it two Lancashire titles on the day, with a good 31-7 victory over a strong Stonyhurst side. After some early combative exchanges, Kirkham scored first through the powerful Connor Norman, off the back of a scrum to make it 5-0. Not to be outdone, Stonyhurst attacked well with their elusive back line causing some problems, however three magnificent try saving tackles from Taran Mathauda, kept them at bay. Stonyhurst continued to apply some good pressure and eventually took the lead, with their 12 running under the posts and with the conversion to make it 5-7.
From this moment on, playing into the wind, Kirkham decided a more direct approach was needed, with Isaac Burrows, Alfie Gutherie and Jasper Johnson carrying with some real venom, getting them onto the front foot. This resulted in a period of concerted pressure on the Stonyhurst line and some good awareness from Ewan Huck saw him dive in the corner, with Harry Case adding a sublime conversion from the touchline, Kirkham regained the lead (12-7). Just before half time, Kirkham managed to extend their lead with some good phase-play, which saw Ben Firth score, with Case adding the extras again from the touchline to end the half at 19-7.
With the wind now at their back, Kirkham controlled much of the second half, with Firth using his big boot to good effect. That coupled with some good line-speed, led by Charlie Wiltshire, Oliver Kollard and Hugo Loggenberg meant Stonyhurst threatening attack was being nullified well. Some good quick thinking from Harry Ribchester and James Shuttleworth, saw Ewan Huck score his second (26-7) to all but end the game as a contest with 10 minutes to go.
In the dying embers of the match, after dominant scrummaging from Max Carter, Alex Smith and Jensen Stott, a good run from Luke Schmid set up Connor Norman to conclude the scoring in the corner at 31-7 and Kirkham were crowned county champions.
The development of this group has been magnificent and their efforts and improving performances have been a credit to themselves and the KGS family. Well done to all 23 players that represented the school in the final.
1st XI v Stonyhurst College
On Wednesday the 1st XI travelled to Stonyhurst to play a friendly match. It was one-way traffic for much of the first half with KGS peppering the Stonyhurst goal. Attack after attack resulted in the first goal from Amy Merrick.
As the match went on Stonyhurst defended for their lives with KGS dominating all over the pitch. The second half remained much the same resulting in a further three goals being scored to finish the game off.
The 1st team now look forward to their 7's season which starts this Wednesday at the Austin Friars invitational tournament.
Whilst the 1st XI played away, KGS hosted the 2nd XI fixture. Once again, KGS dominated with some excellent play from Ari Milligan and Isabella Harkins resulting in both shots at goal and penalty corners awarded. Unfortunately neither team were able to score leaving the final result at 0-0