Cuppers Rugby: Jesus Ease Past Queens’
Jesus overcame Division 2 Champions Queens’ to advance into the semi-finals of Cuppers Rugby. Read more here
Jesus 22 – 5 Queens’
In a riveting game, marred by off-the-ball incidents, a much-improved Jesus comfortably saw off Cuppers success story Queens’.
Pumped up after a surprise victory over St Edmund’s, Queens’ outplayed Jesus in the opening exchanges of the match and after a period of pressure in the Jesus half earned themselves a penalty. Blues utility back Will Balfour skewed the shot at goal wide and the 3 points went begging.
This proved the wake up call Jesus needed. The forwards stepped it up a gear and began to dominate at the breakdown, presenting the ball on a plate to Jesus back line who used it to good effect.
Pick and drives sucked in defenders and when the ball was spun wide, winger Blenkharn turned on the after-burners and made for the line, only to be hauled into touch by a Balfour tackle in the corner.
Jesus were not be denied though. The line-out was won against the head and the ball was shifted to the other wing where Charlie James beat his man to score the first points of the game. The conversion was missed.
Queens’ did attempt to respond to this and their centres ran with intent. But the Jesus forwards proved adept at turning over ruck ball at crucial phases and the supply of quick ball provided to the backs ensured the Queens’ defensive line was always on the back foot in the first forty minutes.
The home side’s second try came on the stroke of half-time and was a direct result of good work at the breakdown by the forwards. After a solo break from Rob “Uni Socks” Stevens, the ball was recycled quickly with scrum-half Oli Jones taking an inside ball to score. The conversion was missed again, giving Jesus a 10-0 lead going into the break.
Jesus’ Howell lives up to his ‘Ginger Ninja’ billing with another pacy break.
Photos: Katrina Hewitt.
Jones grabbed his second soon into the second half with a display of attacking flair. A set move at the base of a fiercely un-contested scrum set Jones off down the blind side. A combination of dummies and gas ensured Jones made his way to the line to score. Yet again the conversion was missed.
The second half was certainly a more hot tempered and closely contested affair than the first. Scuffles were commonplace and some spectators reported that punches were being thrown.
Things could have got out of hand, if it hadn’t been for the intervention of Jesus prop Oli “The Enforcer” Adey whose frank words of advice, “Oi, Calm Down,” to the rather lairy Queens’ scrum-half seemed to restore some sort of calm. However the referee, who was “ignorant of college rules”, did not see any of these incidents.
As Jesus’ attention switched to off-the-ball matters Queens’ sought to take advantage. The Queens’ forwards forced their way back into the game and began providing their backs with a good platform to build on. After several phases of play the Queens’ boys made use of an overlap to put their winger in the corner, for what was to be their only score.
Despite a period of sustained pressure and winning penalties only metres away from the Jesus line the visitors could not convert territory into points.
Salt was rubbed into Queens’ wounds by the Jesus substitute winger, Francis Wragg, who skinned his opposite number and made light work of the Queens full back, who was sporting Blues socks. Amid cries of “get some new socks” the Jesuan flyer crossed the line to secure the win and Jesus’ place in the semi-finals.
All in all the match was settled in the first half. Despite a late rally the Queens’ boys lacked the ability to break their opponents’ defensive line and, given the Jesus forwards supremacy at the breakdown, they were always going to struggle.
Jesus will face League of Shame outfit Churchill in the semis, who overcame Division 1 side Trinity 10-7 in their quarter-final, marking one of the biggest upsets in Cuppers history.
For The Tab’s photos from this encounter click here.