Rugby: Young Blues seal cup triumph at the death
CALLUM Vick bagged a late winning try as Grimsby RUFC Under-17s ended their season lifting silverware.
The young Blues beat Mansfield 13-6 at Sleaford to win the Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire RFU Plate final.
With the scores locked at 6-6 with four minutes remaining, Vick touched down to score the game's only try.
Brad Watson added the conversion and the Blues hung on to lift the trophy.
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And the teenagers celebrated their triumph with a trip to Twickenham to watch the World Sevens final.
The stakes were high going into the match – it was the last game of the season, the cup was at stake, and it was potentially a final game of junior rugby for some of the players.
Grimsby were on the front foot for the first 20 minutes, with their forwards dominating the contact area.
The Mansfield pack held their own but Grimsby forwards Mike Van Kampen, Gareth Roberts and Richard Watson constantly knocked on the door of their defence.
Hard yards were gained, but the Blues were unable to penetrate the whitewash.
Quick recycling of the ball sparked good runs from backs Austin-Thomas and Brad Treacher, but a combination of stout Mansfield defending and handling errors kept Grimsby at bay.
The Blues moved 3-0 in front from a Watson penalty when under-pressure Mansfield defenders strayed offside.
Mansfield hit back. Kieron Moore and Callum Russell were among those that had to deliver tough tackling for the Blues' cause.
A midfield battle ended with another Grimsby penalty, when Mansfield held onto the ball in the tackle, and Watson was on target to put the Blues 6-0 up.
But ten minutes into the second half, the momentum began to shift.
Mansfield's captain kicked a penalty after a Grimsby infringement to half the deficit.
From the restart, Mansfield unleashed a wave of attacks to earn another penalty, which they converted to level the score.
As the tension increased, Grimsby were penalised again – but Mansfield's penalty kick fell just short.
The young Blues found another gear in the closing stages, though.
The ball was fed through the hands of Robbie Gray, Austin Thomas and Treacher before reaching Vick.
And he beat his defender and raced into the corner for the winning try, which Watson converted.