Nottingham Corsairs U17’s celebrated a remarkable season on Sunday as they took the trip to the AJ Bell Stadium in Manchester for the biggest game of their rugby careers. The National U17 Cup Final offers the two best U17 teams within England fighting it out to be crowned National Champions.
The road to the final was not an easy one as they came up against some of the best U17 sides in the country. Beating local rivals Newark to be crowned Midlands Champions at the end of March was a fantastic achievement in itself.
Attentions then turned to the National Semi Final where they faced the Champions of the North, Caldy RFC. Here the Nottinghamshire side really showed their class, emerging winners by a convincing margin of 34-10 on 19th April. It was this game that booked them a clash with Sevenoaks RFC in the final, who as Champions of the South East had won their Semi Final in similar imperious fashion, setting up a mouth-watering contest.
The squad, with an army of supporters, made the trip to Manchester on Sunday and it was a match that couldn’t have been imagined.
Sevenoaks proved formidable opposition, leading the way for most of the game. One could be forgiven for thinking with the scores standing at 20-7 with just 6 minutes left on the clock the fairy tale had reached its end for Corsairs. A converted try put the pressure back on Sevenoaks with the score standing 20-14, then in the final play of the game Skipper Jack Dickinson exploited an overlap to take the scores to 20-19. The game would finish with the conversion and the honour went to Corsairs’ No 10 Gabriel Calland. Arguably the biggest kick of his career to hand his team the National title.
The conversion was kicked, Calland securing the two points that handed Corsairs the victory and crowned them National U17 Cup Champions, the first NLD team to ever achieve this feat.
NLD Honorary President Phil Cass said ‘We are delighted for all of the Corsairs players & coaching team. This is a fantastic achievement that shouldn’t be underestimated, they have faced the best teams within England and fully deserve the title of National Champions.’