Bishop's Wordsworth seal semi-final spot

  • Bishop's Wordsworth beat The Judd School 34-24 in NatWest Schools Cup
  • They will now play Bromsgrove in the semi-final on Saturday, 4 March 

Bishop Wordsworth’s have claimed the final semi-final place in the under-18s section of this season’s NatWest Schools Cup.

A fast and furious match on a new all weather pitch ended in a 34-24 victory for the visitors from Salisbury over the hosts, The Judd School from Tonbridge.

Next stop is a semi-final tie against holders Bromsgrove at Saracens’ Allianz Park on Saturday, 4 March. The other tie pits Warwick against Felsted on the same day.

Emulating the class of '91

For Bishop’s, the victory keeps them in line to emulate the team of 1991 who reached the final of the very first under-18s final, losing 4-3 to King Edward VI of Stratford.

Some 26 years on the Wiltshire school is led by Cadan Murley, whose father played in the losing 91 team alongside 2003 England World Cup winner Richard Hill.

Murley junior, who is in the England under 18 squad, is certainly making his presence felt. He is part of an exciting backline and scored two of his team’s five tries in a match which produced nine tries.

Bishop’s found their stride after The Judd had taken an early 12-3 lead by scoring two tries. However, that advantage did not last long as the visitors powered into a 20-12 lead by the half-time whistle.

'They pushed us right to the end'

Coach Terry Gilmour felt the middle period of the match proved crucial for Bishop’s before The Judd fought back in the final stages to score two more tries.

“It was an excellent game and all credit to The Judd for the way they kept playing. They pushed us right to the end. But we got our noses in front in that middle period and it gave us an advantage.”

Besides two tries from Murley, Bishop’s other scores came from scrum-half Finlay Lloyd-Gilmour, lock Tom Boxer and wing Callum MacTaggart who raced to score in the corner off a move starting near halfway.

After an early penalty from Hastings, The Judd enjoyed their best period helped by some good forward play which brought tries for hooker Tom Barnes and wing Tom Kendrick. Captain Alfie Scopes added a conversion.

“They were well worth their win,” conceded The Judd’s coach Damien O’Reilly. “We had a very young team and we will be back next season,” predicted O’Reilly.

Bromsgrove on course for third title

The other three quarter-finals had been held before Christmas. Holders Bromsgrove remain on course for a third title row following a 28-11 win over Sir Thomas Rich’s of Gloucester.

Bromsgrove face Bishop’s Wordsworth while in the other tie Warwick, who beat QEGS Wakefield, 13-6, meet first-time semi-finalists Felsted who beat Manchester GS 21-16.

Follow the draw for the next stage of the U18s and U15s competition live on England Rugby's Facebook page next Tuesday, 24 January.