NSB taste Twickenham glory with Vase win
Northampton School for Boys tasted Twickenham glory as they beat St Ambrose College 17-12 in the NatWest Schools Cup Under 18 Vase final on Wednesday afternoon.
NSB, coached by Mark Lee and Saints legend Paul Grayson, showed a huge amount of grit and determination to twice fight back from behind to claim the silverware.
Tries from Callum Inwood and Josh Arimoro helped to get the job done, with Tom Holliday and Jake Johnson landing conversions and Connor Tupai adding an excellent drop goal.
Tupai, son of former Saints forward Paul, whose chargedown was crucial to Arimoro’s score, was named man of the match on a great afternoon for the Northampton school.
It hadn’t started too well though as St Ambrose College scored first from a dominant lineout drive.
NSB had a chance to respond from a penalty, but Holliday fired his kick against the left post.
The Northampton side had been outmuscled in the formative stages of the match, but a couple of changes on the 20-minute mark helped to turn the tide.
Prop Dougie Scoles was particularly influential and he helped push his team over the line, with flanker Inwood popping up with the try.
Holliday converted to ensure the scores were level at 7-7 at half-time, but St Ambrose struck first in the second period.
A powerful surge from centre Connor Docherty earned the try and his team held a 12-7 lead.
But NSB refused to be disheartened, pouring forward in pursuit of a second score.
Holliday missed a penalty, but just a couple of minutes later, scrum-half Tupai charged down an attempted clearance and centre Arimoro picked up to fly in for the score.
Johnson took over kicking duties, converting to put his team in front for the first time, before the centre saw a drop goal attempt rebound off the post.
However, Tupai managed to execute one to perfection soon after, earning his team a five-point lead.
St Ambrose College pushed on in the closing stages and should have scored when the ball went wide, but the final pass flew out of play.
NSB then stood tall in the closing moments and jumped for joy when the final whistle was blown.
The victory was a fitting tribute to former NSB student Zac Forskitt, who had played in the previous Twickenham final appearance, in 2013.
Forskitt, whose fight against cancer inspired the BacZac campaign, sadly passed away last Sunday.
NSB team: Henry Timm; Christian Morgan, Josh Arimoro, Jake Johnson, Christian Barry; Tom Holliday, Connor Tupai; Jake Diggin, Mattias Farmer (c), Alex Pittaway; Toby Stanton, Tom Rowlatt; William Salt, Callum Inwood, Joe Britton.
Replacements: Alex Barlow-Doran, Tom Robinson, Oliver Clarke, Dougie Scoles, Henry Dunn, Sam Pinnock-Attfield, Conor McCabe