Cuppers Rugby: Jesus Scrape Past John’s 2nds

Jesus end John’s 2nds Cuppers campaign, winning 12-8 in a tight battle. Read more here.

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Jesus narrowly scraped past John’s 2nd XV, winning 12-8 in a tense second round game.

Affectionately known as the ‘San Juan Invitational XV’, the John’s 2nd XV fought hard on bitterly cold Saturday afternoon to give Jesus one of their toughest games of the season.

An absent referee meant that the teams had to wait for over an hour to start in the freezing conditions as rumours circulated among the gathered supporters about the quality of Jesus skipper Miles Daly’s administrative skills.

It was Jesus who opened the scoring, Rob ‘Uni Socks’ Stevens collecting a grubber kick and running home. The Jesus try-machine, who made his debut for the Blues last week, made no mistake with the conversion to give the home side a 7-0 lead. Strong running from Miles ‘Depth’ Daly and Stevens saw John’s put under sustained pressure; further tries would have resulted were it not for the dogged defensive efforts put in by captain Adam T. Rimmer and Suroosh Madanipour (sic).

Jesus lock Andrew Gilbert scored next, plucking the ball out of thin air before grounding it for the score in the corner. The resulting conversion was missed and these were to be the last points conceded by John’s in the match.

Galvanised by a raucous troupe of away supporters (and their often controversial chanting), St John’s then struck back through their back row, who consistently deprived their Division 1 opponents of possession.

John’s made good, honest yards with concerted phase play and incisive running from Aussie import Rich Spense proved that you don’t have to give the ball away to gain territory, providing a refreshing antidote to the malaise of the modern game.

A lapse in Jesus tackling then allowed full-back and Blueprint superstar Oli Hunt to run in an unconverted try, which took the score to 12-5 and brought John’s right back into the game.

Aaron Sonenfeld soon made up for his missed conversion, deftly dispatching a penalty which came about from Jesus’ indiscipline at the break-down. The score at the break was 12-8 in favour of the home side.

The second half was a predictably tense affair, the two sides being within a try of each other. Jesus held onto their lead with strong defence, just as John’s prevented their opponents from cementing their advantage through a further score.

The wintry conditions and driving snow saw injuries and mistakes from both sides and the quality of the Rugby suffered greatly in the second half. Some dubious decisions from the man in yellow did little to help the situation and the game petered out to a close with the scores still at 12-8 in favour of the home side.

The result leaves SJCRUFC in pole position to achieve an unprecedented treble of League, Cup and Plate. According to Rimmer, “the only potential stumbling block are the logistical problems that may arise as to where we will be able to put the extra silverware in the trophy cabinet”.

Jesus, meanwhile, are likely to face St Edmund’s in the quarter-finals of the Cup.