School’s Cup Under-16 Final: Strathallan 3-10 St Aloysius’ College

DAVID BARNES @ Murrayfield

A JOURNEY which had already seen St Aloysius’ negotiate their way past Merchiston Castle School, Fettes College, George Watson’s College and Earlston High School on their way to Murrayfield, ended in glory at the national stadium on Wednesday evening.  It was a tense and furiously contested encounter, with both sets of players clearly acutely aware of the full magnitude of what was at stake.


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“It was tight. I think the boys were a bit shell-shocked by the size of the crowd and stadium – they’ve never really experienced anything like it – and the resolve to hold out at the end of the game like that was fantastic,” said Eric Urquart, who helps his son, Jack, coach the St Aloysius’ side.

“We’ve had friendly games before but as one of the boys pointed out on the way through, we’ve never beaten Strathallan in a competitive game. So to get here, and put out three Edinburgh schools plus Earlston on our journey, is absolutely fantastic,” he continued.

“One boy summed it up when he said: If we win this we’ll be legends! And they will be legends in the West, I can assure you of that.”

“We’ve got a squad of 28 boys, and 27 were available today so three of them came as ball boys. We’re not pulling from huge numbers like some of the big schools, and to come and do that, taking into account injuries and the number of games we’ve had, is fantastic.”

Full-back Nick McAllister was named man of the match, a decision Urquart clearly approved of.

“He has been exceptional this year,” said the coach, before identifying a few other players worthy of praise. “Our number nine – Josh Kelly – who played most of the season at seven because we have three scrum-halves and we wanted to give everyone game time, is another player who can turn a game. And our number eight – Louis Campbell – is a converted prop. So we’ve really just had to take good players and mould them into the team, and the boys have bought into that.”

St Aloysius grabbed the lead after 12 minutes when second-row Luke McCutcheon rumbled over from close range and Tom Lonergran added the extras, but it was a tight contest and there was no more scoring until the start of the second half, despite the leaders playing the final ten minutes of the first period with a man less after Tino Mudotti was sent to the sin-bin for a reckless high tackle.

Adam Scott extended St Aloysius’ lead with a long range penalty in the first minutes of the second-half, but Strathallan responded almost immediately with a successful kick at goal from the lively Angus Vipond. The game was threatening to open up at this point, but the real gone kid could not inspire his team to close the gap any further.

Teams –

Strathallan: L Louden; C Carracher, E Nicol, A Vipond, S Milligan; R Bayne, H Lapslie; R Walker, R Joyce, S Cameron, F James, A Kudehinbu, I Galloway, P Elliot, A Marsh. Subs used: J Higginbottom, O Hamzeh, F Cleaver-Smith, H Allen, J Shephard, C Paterson, P Wallwork.

St Aloysius’: N McAllister; L Bardelli, A Hughes, T Lonergan, A Scott; L Jack, J Kelly; L Patrick, P Norris, B Mclennan-Paton, L McCutcheon, T Mudotti, M Duffy, D Lizerri, L Campbell. Subs: D Sharkey, D Reda, J Brawley, Z Keown, E Darroch, I Mitchell, R Ross.

Scorers –

Strathallan: Pen: Vipond.

St Aloysius’: Try: McCutcheon; Con: Lonergran; Pen: Scott.

Scoring Sequence (Strathallan first): 0-5; 0-7 (h-t) 0-10;

Man-of-the-Match: Nick McAllister (St Aloysius’)

ROUND-UP: In the under-16 Shield Final, George Watson’s withstood a rousing late rally from Glanalmond to emerge 31-27 victors; Earlston High School defeated High School of Glasgow 26-12 in the Plate Final; and Hutchesons’ Grammar bounced back from a 19-0 deficit at the break to defeat Lomond & Helensburgh 31-26 in the Bowl Final.

Images: David Gibson – www.fotosportuk.photoshelter.com

About David Barnes 4011 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.