Hat-trick hero O’flaherty proves too much for St Joe’s as Dulwich crop of 2011/12 seek to emulate Sheridans invisibles.
Dulwich college took another step forward in their quest to emulate the Dulwich Invinsibles (although preffering the title of Unbreakables instead)that featured none other than Andrew Sheridan, by beating St Josephs College 22-16 in a sintilating semi final. Both teams have had their battles coming into this semi final at Broadstreet RFC. St Joes squeaking past St Benedicts and Skinners as well as coming from behind to win 18-17 against Sir Thomas Rich school in their cup quarter final. Dulwich had battled past the much fancied Hampton School and then snuk a semi final from a determined Abingdon school. This tee’d up a billing of one hell of a semi final.
It was Dulwich who started the brighter with scrum half and live wire Tom O’Flaherty darting over to give them a 5-0 lead. However, it was St Joes led at the break after two Dobinson Penalties made it 5-6. They extended this lead after half time with England wing Wacokecoke crossing shortly after the break. Dulwich again hit back in a tense affair with O’Flaherty again crossing to bring them to within a point, but St Josephs captain and hard man Gabriel Carroll dotted down as the Suffolk side pulled away. Dulwich have had a certain steel to them all season and it was this steel which lead to a catch and drive score from forward Ibuanpoke, converted by Whiteford. 17-16. Que hat rick hero Tom O’flaherty, whose snipe down the blindside in the dying minutes gave Dulwich the breathing space they needed to fend off St Joes final wave of attack to secure themselves a place at Twickenham on April 4th. This was a match which could easily have fit the bill of a Final and many will feel that a better draw would have provided such a battle.
The other semi final saw Old Swinford Hospital cruise to claim the other final spot with a 20-3 victory over Kings School, Worcester. The Stourbridge based school boasted a defence that very would be able to crack, containing their opponents, whilst centre Max Steling’s two tries were a result of a player that the Kings School just could not handle.
Meanwhile in the Vase competition, Ravens Wood won a close battle with Reading Blue Coats running out 20-15 winners to secure themselves a return to Twickenham and a second chance at glory following their last minute defeat to St Georges, Weybridge last season. They will face The Leys School, Cambridge whom demonstrated their class by blasting past Wirral Grammar School 40-3 in a one sided affair.
The cup final will have rugby fans licking their lips in anticipation as two schools seek to engrave their names on the Trophy for the first time. Dulwich have shown a determination and ability to win all season and the Unbreakables will be looking to prove their quality and round off a fantastic season. Old Swinford Hospital also look a class outfit with a very professional win in the semi’s. They will need to be firing in attack to not become another victim of the Dulwich strangle hold. However, we at In-at-the-Side feel that this Dulwich side have shown they have that winning habit and will be eventual winners in a low scoring affair.
Dulwich to win by less than 5.
In the plate I can’t help but feel that Ravens Wood will again experience heart break at Twickenham as they face a Ley School spearheaded by England and Northampton Fly Half, Will Hooley. They will have to seek to losen the game up and prevent The Ley School from imposing their game plan and structure onto the game, and even if this happens, it will be a tough ask.
The Ley School by more than 15.