Match Report
The Manchester Grammar School U16 vs  Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby
On: Saturday, 21 Sep 2019
Venue: at Home

A bright, warm September morning saw us play a Merchants side that this age group has often run close, but never beaten. With George Arnold playing for the 1st XV and several players missing due to injury, it was always going to be a testing contest. Having lost the toss, we had to play into the wind and into the low autumnal sun in the first half, with Merchants taking full advantage of the elements and keeping us penned in our own half. Nevertheless once MGS got some possession we quickly stretched the Merchants defence, with Ben Motammed breaking the line for the opener and Mo Qasim converting: 7-0. Unfortunately two costly lineout errors saw us loose about 50 metres of territory and concede an equaliser. Ben’s inch perfect kick off saw us regain possession and catch Merchants on the break, with Isaac Ogunyemi’s elusive footwork getting him over and Mo adding 2 more: 14-7. The game very even, with fierce tackling and tough competition at the break down meaning neither side was able to break through. In the second half, with the sun and wind at our backs, however, things got much easier. Ben’s expert kicking enabled us to pin Merchants back and make them play from their own half, with outstanding discipline and defence never letting them break our lines. Mo Qasim effected a number of strong turnovers, and eventually a well worked lineout move saw James O’Hara cross for our third with Mo adding the honours. At 21-7 we just looked to close the game out, but Merchant’s failure to deal with our kicking game and an excellent chase and tackle from Josh Osibodu resulted in a well-deserved try for Tom Connell; his tireless support paying off in the end. With a rare miss from Mo, the game ended 26-7, which belies what a tough physical contest this was. All played in great spirit by both teams. MoM Mo Qasim.