ALTRINCHAM Grammar School for Boys survived a late second half onslaught to beat Graveney School 12-10 in the NatWest Schools Cup Under 15 Vase final at Twickenham on Saturday.
Altrincham had the first opportunity of the game within minutes of the kick off when wing Saif Rattoo charged for the line, but he was bundled into touch by Graveney wing Alex Graham-Buck.
After their early nerves had settled, Graveney began to make inroads in the Altrincham defence through powerful centre Jaymyn Pattel-Haddad, and 10 minutes in they were crossing the whitewash through flanker Cam Hyne to make it 5-0.
In perfect conditions, both teams looked to move the ball, but it was Graveney who looked most threatening with fly half Matt Harrison spearheading their attack.
Altrincham could only produce half breaks until five minutes before the whistle, when wing Dan Mahoney was released by Rory Canham. A conversion took them into the lead 7-5.
The try seemed to swing the momentum in Altrincham’s favour, and on the stroke of half time they stuck a hammer blow to the Graveney cause when Rattoo crashed over in the corner to put the Cheshire school 12-5 up at the break.
The second half was a much tenser, claustrophobic affair, with the only break of note coming from Altrincham’s number eight Tom Quealy.
Graveney continued to batter away at the Altrincham line and were eventually rewarded with a try for flyer Alex Graham-Buck.
The conversion was missed by Harrison, and Graveney were still trailing 12-10. They continued to move the ball with panache, but too often, promising attacks came to an abrupt halt with small handling errors.
Altrincham captain Ryan Taylor said: “It’s fantastic, the boys just put in a great performance, I can’t thank them enough. The determination we showed to defend the line in such difficult circumstances was just incredible.
“The experience of playing at Twickenham was just amazing, the noise in the crowd was overwhelming.”
Altrincham Grammar School For Boys 15. Greg Warren 14. Saif Rattoo 13. Tim Palmer 12. Ryan Taylor 11. Dan Mahoney 10. George Hughes 9. Rory Canham 1.Gordon Yong 2. George Williams 3. Mustafa Estwani 4. Mattis Ellaby 5. Nico Nealon 6. Harrison Ward 7. Christos Nikou 8. Tom Quealy. Replacements: 16. Sam Bytheway, 17. Tom Shillito, 18. Joe Haslett, 19. Ross Dunleavy, 20. Tom Burke, 21. Ronan Chambers, 22. Samyak Bansahli.