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L&Y through to quarters in Vase

PUBLISHED: 09:55 23 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:34 05 July 2010

L&Y progressed to the final eight of the EDF National Junior Vase competition at the expense of fellow EC1 rivals Wisbech in a superbly supported and thoroughly tense encounter at the fenland club.

L&Y progressed to the final eight of the EDF National Junior Vase competition at the expense of fellow EC1 rivals Wisbech in a superbly supported and thoroughly tense encounter at the fenland club. They now have to travel next week for a quarter final at Harbury near Birmingham and stand just two wins away from a trip to Twickenham for the final. Wisbech reached this stage of the competition last season and were desperate to go further this year, and it says much for the state of local rugby if the Eastern Counties can produce teams regularly competing on a national level.

Wisbech hatched a plan to nullify L&Y's power game and then try to spin the ball wide, but in the event they were starved of possession to such an extent that they never looked liked making inroads in the L&Y defence. A magnificent performance by the L&Y tight five with Wayne Nixon, Shaun Woodhouse and Jake Titterington totally dominant in the front row, and Simon Coleman and Russ Wilkinson superb in the lineout, was the ultimate difference in the sides. First phase possession was ruled by L&Y, any Wisbech scrums were either stolen or spoiled at the base, and numerous lineout steals from the soaring Coleman, no.8 Marc Thomas and even Woodhouse at the tail meant Wisbech had no platform from which to mount a serious attack.

Wisbech's only area of parity was with their fast and feisty back row and it was from good work by them and silly errors from L&Y which led to four long range penalty attempts in the first half, two of which were taken by Jack Hoyles giving Wisbech a 6 point lead. With L&Y playing up the hill into the sun and breeze, territory was difficult to gain, but Scott Nelson's boot took them to a 5m lineout where Coleman set up a driving maul, marshalled well by Thomas and Chris Howe, from which Woodhouse charged over the line. Russ Chapman made the difficult conversion, boosting L&Y's confidence and giving them a stranglehold on the game. With first choice centres Myles McAlone and Kris Nelson unavailable, deputies Matt Howell and Matt Jary controlled the defence calmly and with wingers Kristen Taylor Crisp and Daniel Boardley, Wisbech's plan to attack wide had no efffect.

Nelson's accurate boot kept L&Y in the Wisbech half for large chunks of the second period and a couple more scoring chances went begging before Chapman intelligently fired a miss-pass from a mass of bodies 10m out for Taylor Crisp to round the defence and plunge over in the right hand corner. Hoyles missed with a couple more long range penalty attempts before Chapman exended the lead to 9 points with one of his own. As Wisbech desperately tried to chase the game, L&Y soaked up the pressure and continued to play down in the Wisbech half, from where Nelson thumped a massive 40m drop-goal to seal off the result and break the large crowds' hearts.

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