Rugby: Wymondham U17s move into Bowl final
Wymondham U17 8, Ruislip U17 5
Wymondham entertained Ruislip in the Bowl semi-final of the London & South East National U17 competition on Sunday at a wet and windy Tuttles Lane.
With the elements at their backs Wymondham pressed hard from the outset ,but Ruislip steadied themselves and worked their way into the Wymondham half.
The usually reliable Wymondham scrum creaked and the outstanding Ruislip No8 seized the turnover ball and, taking the Wymondham defence by surprise, scampered in from 40 metres out. The conversion was missed.
Wymondham responded well and used the conditions well, forcing Ruislip back into their 22 for much of the rest of the half without exerting any sustained pressure on the Ruislip line as a succession of penalties enabled the visitors to clear their lines.
However, Wymondham were next to score when a lineout from Cox found Softley at the very apex of his jump and the Wymondham eight drove the bigger Ruislip pack over the line with the captain, Miller coming up with the ball.
Wymondham too missed the conversion and despite a couple of penalty attempts, at half-time the score remained 5-5.
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The second half was just as tight as the first as both sides cancelled one another out.
With 20 minutes to go, the referee lost patience with Wymondham for persistent infringements and flourished the yellow card.
With a man advantage, Ruislip pressed hard but great defence from Petch, Conway, Nicholson, Lloyd and Stace prevented the visitors adding to their score.
A missed penalty kick from the visitors saw the home supporters breath a sign of relief as they went back to full strength for the last 10 minutes.
Pressure and nerves began to tell on both sides, but Wymondham's better fitness began to tell and two great rolling mauls from the forwards drove them into the Ruislip 22.
But this time the Ruislip defence held firm until they too conceded a yellow card, for a high tackle, to leave them a man short for the remaining minutes.
Wymondham pressed again and again, but Ruislip defended bravely knowing that a draw would see them through as the away team and then with seconds remaining conceded a penalty for offside at the ruck.
From 20 metres out, against the wind and rain and with slippery conditions underfoot, it was left to Lyle to try and send Wymondham through.
The roar of the crowd and his team-mates and the whistle of the referee testified to his success.