Downing Too Good For Girton
Downing march on after victory over Girton
Girton 10 – 33 Downing
On a cold Tuesday afternoon a ragged Girton were comfortably brushed aside by high fliers Downing.
Girton were wracked with injuries with Captain Freddie Strachan commenting before the game “this is not at all the team we smashed Trinity with last week”.
Downing’s dominance over their relegation-threatened rivals was clearly visible from the outset. They used their kicking game to full effect with the Downing half backs pinning their opponents deep into their own territory.
The only way Girton could escape their own half was by aimlessly kicking out of hand, but this tactic was nullified by Downing’s ability to run from deep through their backs.
Girton’s injury crisis appeared to take its toll, as they conceded two fairly weak scores in the first 20 minutes, scoring just a lone try in reply. The score stood at 14-5 in Downing’s favour.
The uncontested scrums called as a result of Girton’s injury crisis allowed Downing’s pack to expend their energy elsewhere on the pitch.
The deficit between the two teams in terms of kicking meant that Downing had the lion’s share of possession towards the end of the half and were often penetrative in the midfield.
However their play was plagued with handling errors. This is a trait they will have to rid themselves of if they are to contend with Jesus in the coming weeks.
Five minutes before the half their third knock on in as many minutes prevented the away team from sealing the game before the break.
In the second half Girton had the advantage of playing downhill and, with the wind behind them, started well. Girton’s industrious scrum half Sam Hunt sniped around the fringes and took a quick tap within Downing’s 22 showing a new lease of life in the trailing side.
One onlooker described Hunt as “a cross between Gareth Edwards and Brian Moore” citing his hair for Edwards and the fact that he was then throwing in at the line-outs for Moore.
Despite Hunt’s best efforts, Downing’s more mobile pack managed to steal the ball and they resorted again to the boot to kick themselves out of trouble.
The momentum of the match changed when Strachan, Girton’s injured captain, was forced to come on as a replacement and it was not long before Downing capitalised on their constant overlaps sending hooker James Dibble over the line.
With their tails up Downing dominated in both bossed the possession and territory for the remainder of the game. Girton were valiant in defence, with strong tackling from Andy Russell and Sam Hunt in particular.
Whilst the Girton forwards floundered around a ruck, Downing Captain Matt Halford completed a barnstorming run through hole in the centre to touch down under the posts with ten minutes to go.
The resulting conversion put the score to 26-10 and the game all but out of sight for the home side.
Girton scored a consolation try as Steve Antill finished a mesmerising move in the corner; only his second try in four years of college rugby.
Downing’s talismanic centre Rhemayo Brooks ensured victory with an outrageous sidestep that left Girton defence for dead.
With a match against rivals Jesus on the horizon this was not enough of a message for Brooks. When asked to respond to Jesus captain Miles Daly’s taunts last week he said “I enjoyed reading his wimpish apology on facebook but I’ll make him apologize again on the pitch”.
Downing now look forward to encounters with Jesus home and away to decide who earns the second place spot.
After this loss Girton have been cast back into the relegation battle. Trinity are set to face Jesus and John’s in the coming weeks, so it is set to go down to the wire as to who goes down to Division 2.
Elsewhere in Division 1 Jesus’ match with Trinity was postponed until the weekend.