BOWDON RUFC under-17s Colts have won the Cheshire Cup for the first time, beating Sandbach 22-21 in a tense final.

After a mixed season in the league, the Colts side, many of whom have been playing together since they were six years old, showed their true colours in the cup, defeating strong Wirral and Chester teams on their way to the final, which was held at Caldy RUFC.

And they started well in the final, chasing down their kick off and putting Sandbach under enough pressure to force a mistake from their full-back.

Centres Ted Williams and Dan Haslett showed great intensity to secure the loose ball and a smart kick through and chase from Williams saw him touch down for the first score.

Sandbach rallied well, venturing into the Bowdon half on several occasions, only to be thwarted by stout defence from a team clearly fired up for the occasion and looking to go one better than last season's defeat in the final.

But Sandbach proved why they have made the final on many occasions before, forcing a number of infringements which led to three penalties, all converted by their impressive stand-off, making the score 9-5.

In an otherwise physical but fair encounter Bowdon captain, Rufus James, was ‘dump tackled’ resulting in two players leaving the field – one with a yellow card and the other with a red bloody nose.

In the last minutes of the first half, Bowdon made the most of their one-man advantage and took possession up deep into Sandbach territory.

Phase after phase of controlled play eventually saw Bowdon’s powerhouse flanker Patrick Hetherington drive over the line to make it 10-9 at half time.

The game opened up in the second half with both sides looking to take a grip of the game.

And it was Bowdon who started to get the upper hand, great hands seeing Leo Swarbrick provide a pass on the halfway line to Jack Bradburn who used great footwork and speed to get round his marker and out-sprint the defence to score under the posts.

Bowdon then spilled the ball and allowed Sandbach to run in a try against the run of play.

But they showed great character to brush the error off and a deft kick through from Ned Atkinson was chased up by George Cundick who bulldozed the Sandbach winger, winning the ball back and allowing Atkinson a simple run in to score Bowdon’s fourth try.

Sandbach piled on the pressure in the final 10 minutes, and touched down in the corner, but they narrowly missed the conversion, which proved crucial.

In the last minute, Sandbach looked to have made a break through the middle but captain James put in a thumping tackle which forced the knock on and gave the ball back to Bowdon and they kicked the resulting penalty into touch to seal victory.

The players now take a welcome rest before summer training at the new Bowdon Academy starts in July.

Anyone wishing to join should contact the club on 0161 980 8321.