London calling as Holt seal Vase win

HOLT 32, CANTABRIGIANS 12: Holt progressed to the London Area final of the Junior Vase – and a step closer to a Twickenham appearance – with victory over Cantabrigians on Saturday.

From the start Holt were put under pressure by a determined Cantabs side, whose early attacks were rewarded after four minutes, when they scored an unconverted try to lead 5-0.

The home side eventually got into the game and after 20 minutes Young sold a beautiful dummy to score under the posts and with Allen adding the extra points Holt assumed a 7-5 lead.

Four minutes later Holt were reduced to 14 men following a yellow card, which seemed to inspire their play and soon afterwards Allen kicked a penalty to increase the lead to 10-5.

Holt then had to defend for all their worth as Cantabrigians threw everything at them in an attempt to regain the lead. On two occasions the line seemed to be at their mercy, only for Holt to defend desperately to keep their line intact.

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Half-time arrived to Holt's relief with a lead of 10-5, which they knew was not going to be enough.

The second half started with Holt on the attack only to be halted through giving away a penalty. But the rub of the green favoured Holt, when after four minutes Daniel Ilsley fastened on to a loose ball to score a good opportunist unconverted try, following a mix up in the opposition defence, to make it 15-5.

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Three minutes later, Robson finished off a good move following a well controlled driving maul. With Allen adding the points for the conversion the lead had increased to a healthier 22-5.

Cantabs again put Holt under pressure and it was no surprise when they scored a converted try to reduce the deficit to 22-12 after 55 minutes.

This inspired Cantabrigians to again attack the Holt line, but again the defence held firm. Holt then regained the advantage to sweep up field and although Allen was unlucky with a penalty attempt, he was given another chance two minutes later to make the score 25-12 with 12 minutes remaining.

Even with a healthy lead Holt could not relax against lively opponents, who always looked dangerous when in possession. But again Holt cleared their lines and after more pressure were awarded a penalty try for a deliberately collapsed scrum when a try looked a probability. With Allen converting, the lead stood at a very healthy 32-12, which remained as the final score.

Holt now travel to The Honourable Artillery Company, who play in Moorgate, London, next Saturday for the London final.

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