8 March 2022

Image of Historic win sees 1st XV reach Twickenham National Cup Final for first time in 25 years

Kirkham Grammar School 1st XV travelled to Kendal Rugby Club to play Barnard Castle School in the semi-final of the National Schools Cup, the winners having the opportunity to play at Twickenham. As a large crowd gathered, both teams looked nervous in their warm up routines. Both teams were very physical from the start. After a powerful drive from their forwards, KGS almost scored first. Shortly after a powerful scrum, Barnard Castle made a mistake and flanker, Wills Austin, capitalised for the first score of the game and a 5-0 lead. Barnard Castle soon responded with KGS giving away numerous penalties; the Durham County School gained good territory, scored wide out, and converted from the touchline for 7-5 lead. Kirkham, well-led by Captain, Aaron Pope, were not phased and came back with another try, after a fine run by centre, Josh Lynch finished off by prop, Patreece Bell. Aaron Pope added the conversion for a 12-7 half time lead.

Both teams were determined not to lose this opportunity to visit Twickenham and came out furiously as the second half began. Barnard Castle seemed to start better and forced Kirkham into silly mistakes that cost them points. Going 13-12 with 20 minutes left was worrying for the KGS crowd but second row, Huw Davies and flanker, Yande Nkonge dragged KGS up a gear with some powerful carries. Eventually, the KGS pack got on top and forced Barnard Castle to give away 2 penalties in quick succession which Aaron Pope converted for a 18-13 lead with 5 minutes to go. With arguably the longest 5 minutes for this KGS team, Barnard Castle gave everything forcing KGS to defend near their on line for the whole of this period. Eventually and dramatically, a mistake was made by Barnard Castle that was tidied up by KGS winger, Archie Dowds. Calmly, Captain, Aaron Pope, kicked the ball off the pitch for a famous win. The crowd went wild with appreciation of both teams’ efforts. Kirkham now travel to Twickenham on Wednesday 16 March to face Trinity School from Croydon, 25 years after their last visit when current Sale Sharks Director of Rugby was in their side.

The photographs from the National Schools Cup Semi-Final can be viewed on our KGS Flickr page at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kgsphotos/albums/72177720297128114



Tags: Sports 2021-2022