Royal Grammar School retained the Modus Challenge Cup thanks to a burst of three tries in ten minutes either side of half-time which decided a frenetic contest in front of a lively Sixways crowd on Wednesday evening.
There was little to choose between the sides for the opening half hour but RGS made the most of their scoring opportunities and helped former Warriors breakdown coach Simon Cross, who is now head of rugby at the school, to enjoy a winning return to Sixways.
King’s responded with a superb individual try from Charles Clark, their full-back and vice-captain, but the damage had been done and RGS secured their biggest win since the Modus Challenge Cup was introduced in 2007.
As usual this match, which regular attracts one of the biggest crowds for a schools’ fixture in England, was played at a furious pace and there were errors aplenty in the opening exchanges.
King’s broke the stalemate when fly-half Ethan Summer landed a 23rd minute penalty after RGS centre Thomas Matthews had intercepted and appeared to be galloping clear. But RGS were penalised for off-side and Summer gratefully accepted the three points.
RGS centre James Mann was narrowly off target with a penalty kick four minutes later but he soon made amends when he rounded off a period of sustained pressure for the opening try and converted it himself.
Mann’s centre partner Thomas Matthews then rounded off a barnstorming run from loosehead prop Myren Madden to extend RGS’s lead on the stroke of half-time.
RGS tightened their grip when wing Sam Chamberlain supported a lovely handling move and Mann added the extras to open up a 16 points lead.
Clark’s try reduced the deficit but RGS responded with their fourth try, scored by fly-half Benn Llewellyn after a patient build-up.
Mann’s accurate place-kicking pushed the game beyond the reach of King’s although they did manage to score another try when right wing George Hale crossed on the overlap for another unconverted score.
But RGS had the last word with blindside flanker Joe Neale emphasising their superiority when he powered over for the fifth try a minute from time.
Warriors full-back Chris Pennell presented the Modus Challenge Cup to RGS captain and number eight Thomas Berry.
King’s School 15 Charles Clark, 14 George Hale, 13 Willem Humphreys, 12 Dan Humphrey, 11 Alex Lowe, 10 Ethan Summerwill, 9 Joe Pritchard, 1 Josh Moorhouse, 2 Joe Richardson, 3 Will Revill, 4 Will Bishop, 5 Joe Connor, 6 Sam Martyn-Smith, 7 Tom Hale, 8 Max Richardson (C).
Replacements: 16 Fletcher Overfield, 17 Hamish Stigant, 18 George Monce, 19 Tom Otley, 20 Kit Coleman, 21 Owen Preston, 22 Henry Tunnicliffe, 23 Harry Flockhart.
RGS Worcester 15 Seth Lewis, 14 James Alkman, 13 Thomas Matthews, 12 James Mann, 11 Sam Chamberlain, 10 Benn Llewellyn, 9 Oliver Witcomb, 1 Myren Madden, 2 Oliver Guest, 3 Reuben Ledger, 4 Jacob Murray, 5 James Dipple, 6 Joe Neale, 7 Jacob Dyson, 8 Thomas Berry (C).
Replacements: Paddy Lawton, John Dennis, George Lloyd Jones, Tristan O’Neill, Benjamin Lee, Joe Corlett, Harvey Munro, Drew Dixon, Will Saunders.
Referee: Mr Will Hemming (North Midlands)
23m | Summerwill pen 3-0
30m | Mann try 3-5
31m | Mann con 3-7
35m | Matthews try 3-12
40m | Chamberlain try 3-17
41m | Mann con 3-19
44m | Clark try 8-19
52m | Llewellyn try 8-24
53m | Mann con 8-26
54m | Hale try 13-26
70m | Neale try 13-31