Vagabonds’ under-15s side travelled to England recently to play Sandbach in the quarter-finals of the Cheshire Plate.
After two failed attempts the previous week, they successfully made it across the water and faced their hosts in typical January-like conditions.
Vagas, playing up the hill in their new strip kindly sponsored by Ramsey Crookall, started well, dominating the contact area with strong carries from Toby Hemuss and Christian Meyer who was making his debut.
Unfortunately, strong defence from Sandbach restricted Vagabonds and they were unable to convert the strong carries into field position and points.
The home side took the lead midway through the first half with some powerful runs from their outside backs.
Vagabonds responded well with a driven line-out taken by Toby Horsey which resulted in a try for Tristan Ariola just before the half-time whistle.
A strong start to the second half set a solid platform for the team to build on. Ryder Spencer and Jack Cutts took advantage of the slope, playing in the right areas and ensuring the forwards could take advantage of their superior strength and physicality.
There were some barnstorming runs from skipper Sam Cowin who picked up a brace of tries from the base as well as in open play, along with Jake Hulme who also dotted over the line.
The pack continued to dominate but some strong carrying from Ollie Howard and Henry Dawson in midfield ensured the pressure remained on the hosts.
Jackson Bowers and Ethan Ripton continued to apply pressure in the scrum and any hint of a counter-attack from Sandbach was quashed by Nathan Wylie at full back as well as William Allix, Toby Thompson and Antoni Prez on the wings.
Territory and possession continued in Vagabonds’ favour and, even after a late resurgence from the hosts, further tries from Ariola and Cutts via some silky hands from Cowin resulted in a 44-26 win to Vagabonds who now march on to the semi-finals in March.
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