King’s deny RGS hat-trick to regain Modus Challenge Cup

King’s School, Worcester reclaimed the Modus Challenge Cup after a three-year gap with a 22-7 win at a damp Sixways on Wednesday evening.

King’s win denied RGS a hat-trick of wins in the contest which was played for the 13th time under the sponsorship of Modus.

After a heavy defeat 12 months ago King’s were determined to make amends and their ferocious defence proved decisive in a fast and furious affair.

King’s were also more accurate in attack and took a firm grip on the match with two tries in a 12 minutes period either side of half-time.

Left wing Alex Lowe scored the first after he latched onto a deft grubber kick through the RGS defence and dotted down on the stroke of half-time.

King’s were then awarded a penalty try when RGS collapsed a driving maul under pressure.

RGS had their opportunities but were unable to convert periods of pressure into points. The organisation of King’s defence frustrated RGS who also made life difficult for themselves with untidy work at attacking lineouts.

King’s were given an early lead when centre Owen Preston banged over a second minute penalty and his RGS counterpart James Mann missed an opportunity to level when he was off target midway through the half.

That was all that split two evenly-matched sides until the last minute of the half when Lowe, who had tested RGS with a couple of teasing runs, nipped in for the opening try.

After they were awarded the penalty try King’s had to soak up more pressure but their defence held firm close to the line when RGS battered away without reward.

RGS’s persistence eventually paid off when lock Joseph Mourino ploughed over after wing James Aikman had been halted just short of the line.

But King’s were not finished as centre Willem Humphreys put the seal on victory when he went on arcing run which took him through a tired defence in injury time.

As usual the match attracted a large crowd – 3,225 –  who generated a lively atmosphere and an evening to remember for the players and spectators in one of the biggest matches in the English schools rugby calendar.

RGS Worcester | 15 Angus Rees, 14 Harry Brereton, 13 Flynn Vries, 12 James Mann, 11 James Aikman, 10 Ben Hallam, 9 Oliver Witcomb (C), 1 George Caldwell, 2 Jacob Dyson, 3 Myren Madden, 4 Sam Thomson, 5 Joseph Mourino, 6 Timothy Haggitt, 7 Philip Darbyshire, 8 Alex Peake.

Replacements | Sam Chamberlain, Guy Duffy, Thomas Halkon,  Harry Mason, Matthew Meeson, Sam Nock, Jude Rees, Niall Southwick.

King’s School, Worcester | 15 Aston Campbell-Kerr, 14 Archie Parker-Smyth, 13 Willem Humphreys, 12 Owen Preston, 11 Alex Lowe, 10 Ollie Berlet, 9 Tom Otley, 1 Joe Richardson, 2 George Monce, 3 Matt Doughty, 4 Jack Cope, 5 Charlie Francis, 6 Ben Williams, 7 Matt Whiteside, 8 Hamish Stigant (C).

Replacements | Louis Hira, Jack Bullock, Alex Terry, Sam Binnion, Josh Richardson, Joe Amos, Ben Heath.

Timeline
2m | Preston pen 0-3
34m Lowe try 0-8
47m | Penalty try 0-15
68m | Mourino try 5-15
69m | Mann con 7-15
70m | Humphreys try 7-20
70m | Berlet con 7-22