Castle Rushen High School’s year 10 rugby team were drawn against Bramhall High School in round two of the Under-15s NatWest National Vase last week.
After more than six hours of travelling, the CRHS team made it to Stockport in time for a two-minute warm-up before kickoff.
Unsurprisingly, it was a tough start to the game but the Isle of Man side found their groove quickly and caught the hosts on their heels with a Kyle Corrin try after some strong phases. No conversion was added.
This seemed to upset the opposition who came out firing with a number of huge hits leading to a turnover and a converted try to take a two-point lead into half-time at 7-5.
From the restart, the Bramhall pressure was mounting and it took a massive effort for the Manx side to keep them at bay.
The boys dug deep and repeatedly made crucial tackles, one of which led to a penalty in their own 22.
Scrum-half Kyle Davies got hold of the ball quickly and fed Django Kinley who ran hard at an unorganized defence.
No-one could stop him scoring under the posts to give the lead back to CRHS. The conversion was scored and a 7-12 lead was kept for around five minutes.
Bramhall responded again with a well-taken try in the corner to level the match at 12-12 and ensure a tense finish.
The boys’ long day was starting to show but the fresh substitutes all injected energy and gave a much-needed boost.
More Bramhall attacks were being repelled and if the Manx line was momentarily broken at any point, full-back Jake Plant ensured the try line wasn’t breached.
The constant defensive pressure from the Castletown schoolboys caused the opposition to make mistakes and a midfield turnover led to the best passage of play in the game.
Seven quick phases of clean ball culminated with Juan Kneen getting over the line and under the posts with what turned out to be the winning score.
Jack Camarda converted the try to make it 12-19 to Castle Rushen with around eight minutes to go.
It took some more excellent defence to close the game out but the boys stuck to the task and finished the job to record an impressive win.