Spalding RFC talent James Thomas scored a memorable try as he helped guide the Welsh Exiles to glory at an under-15 provincial tournament on Saturday.
Thomas, who is from nearby Morton and attends Bourne Grammar School, was among a squad of 22 players from clubs all over England (and one from Jersey) to travel to Colwyn Bay for the event.
The expectancy was for the Exiles to compete and put in good performance, as they don’t play a lot of games together. But they more than raised the bar and put in exceptional performances to walk away as champions.
The other teams in the competition were strong provinces of North Wales.
Matches were filmed by the WRU, and watched by Wales under-16, Ospreys and Scarlets scouts.
On the field, Thomas produced quick ball for the backs and was a threat all day. But his stand-out moment will live long in the memory.
He produced a moment of magic with a dummy from a ruck to split the defence and run in for a try from the halfway line to score under the posts – much to the delight of his travelling parents.
In the final the Exiles played the strongest team – Gogledd East – who had four under-16 Welsh academy squad members. However, showing true never-say-die spirit, they overcame the odds to win 25-15 and lift the cup, going through the entire tournament unbeaten for the first time.
The Welsh Exiles were set up to find Welsh qualified players that live and play in England that can progress to international honours.
Famous former Exiles are Alex Cuthburt, Tom Shanklin, Colin Charvis and Huw Bennett, who all came through the system to represent Wales and the British Lions.
Thomas, who is a member of the Leicester Tigers development squad, is now looking forward to a positive 2014/15 campaign and continuing his development.