St Paul's School 27 pts Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School 7 A HEREFORDSHIRE school's dream of playing in a cup final at Twickenham has been quashed after losing out at the semi-final stage.

Cheered on by more than 200 supporters, the Bishop of Hereford Bluecoat School's Under-15 side went down 27-7 to St Paul's School, London in the semi-finals of the Daily Mail Under-15 Schools Cup at Castlecroft, Wolverhampton.

Having kept the scoreline down to a 5-0 deficit at half-time, the city side - one of two state schools competing in the semi-finals - were disappointed not to have made their possession count in the first period.

"The players were angry at the break that they had not made the most of the many chances they had," said coach Steve Bradley, head of PE at the Hereford school.

"We missed two kicks at the end of the first half which would have sent us in at the break with a great deal of confidence. We also had the majority of possession in that first period but just did not take our chances when they came around," he said.

Despite the two missed kicks from John Morris, Bishop's were still confident of turning the game around at the restart. But hope was soon flattened when St Paul's scored in the opening minute of the second half.

This signalled a wave of attacks from the London public school side which resulted in three more tries being scored with reply.

But with the many Bishop's followers cheering them on from the sidelines, they restored some pride late on with a fine try when Richard Pritchard retrieved his own chip and sent Will Gallagher over with Morris converting.

"It was a beautiful try and one that we deserved," said Bradley.

"Although the result was not what we were hoping for, it was a great achievement for the players to get this far. It has also been a fantastic achievement for two state schools to make the last four and compete well with public schools."

Bradley added that the profile of Bishop's had been raised thanks to the exploits of the rugby team and he hoped that future sides could repeat the success of this year's Under 15's.

St Paul's will meet Lymm High School from Cheshire in the final after the latter saw off Wellington College 19-6.