The U15’s faced a significant challenge at the start of this season if they were to match the achievements of last season’s squad. The fact that they will now be competing in the Natwest Cup after the Christmas break means that they have equalled our 2015 achievement of reaching the last 16 teams in the country.
The squad began their journey in this knock-out competition, which started this year with 512 schools, by winning games against Marling and Cleeve. These early games gave the opportunity to expose a significant number of Fourth Formers to the increased level of contest. The victories set up a clash away from home against an unbeaten Clifton College side. Viewing their fixture list, comfortable victories against Monmouth, Marlborough, Bryanston and Colston’s suggested Dean Close would be seen as the underdogs. The start of the game seemed to endorse this, as Clifton scored two tries to go 10–0 up in as many minutes. However, those were the last points Clifton were to score, as Dean Close cut loose to accumulate three converted tries during the rest of a frantic first half. The second half saw Dean Close complete victory with a spirited defensive effort that was full of character and grit.
The Clifton win earned the boys the right to finish the regional rounds with a home tie and local derby against Chosen Hill School. Playing with the conditions in their favour, Dean Close failed to execute a number of opportunities but still managed to go into half time with a 5–0 lead. A strong attacking surge by the Chosen Hill back row and midfield put Dean Close under significant pressure but the defensive line held firm. The effort seemed to give the home side an even greater intensity as they scored two further tries to win 17–0. This victory earns them a home quarter final against eight time finalists and three time winners, Wellington College or RGS High Wycombe.