Queens’ Fail To Dethrone Jesus
Jesus alone at the top of Division One after grinding out win against Queens’. Downing’s defeat to Magdalene leaves them in real danger of shock relegation.
Jesus 29 – 18 Queens’
Jesus have strengthened their title hopes after grinding out a tough home win in their top-of-the-table clash against Queens’.
While Jesus displayed their superior class on occasion, the match was far closer than the score line suggests. Indeed, JCRUFC’s next opponent, Division 1 dark horses Magdalene, may have cause to fancy their chances when the two sides clash next Tuesday.
Queens’ were dominant in the opening exchanges of the match and their tenacity was rewarded with a try. A speculative kick from the away side into the Jesus 22 turned into 5 points after full-back Russell Rammage was undone by the bounce of the ball. The Queens’ chasers hacked the ball on and Rob Blencowe won the foot race to score in the corner.
Jesus supporters weren’t silenced, however. Many questioned whether the Ref had missed a knock-on in the build up to the Queens’ try. Incompetence replaced bias as the explanation for the Ref’s decision after he overruled the Queen’s touch judge who had incorrectly signalled for a successful conversion.
The team in red and black were quick to respond. Captain Jamie Miller made a buccaneering run off the back of a lineout before offloading to the Jesus fly-half. While Queens’ managed to slow the ball, Jesus were awarded a scrum on the 5 m line. After a scrum-half pick-up, Jesus’ fresher centre, Fowey Harvey, received the ball and barrelled over.
Jesus kept up the pressure. Queens’ indiscretions were punished by the home side’s lairy Asian fly-half, Kouj Tambara, who made up for his missed conversion by slotting two penalties. The Jesuans also notched up another 5 points when Chris Blucke dashed in from close range after a good line from the Jesuan centre had shattered the Queens’ defence.
The visitors had their opportunities too – a try scoring chance went to waste as the ball was knocked on over the line. Jesus’ indiscipline allowed Queens’ to keep the pressure up though. QCRUFC had to settle for a three but with a half-time score of 16-8 they were by no means out the contest.
Jesus continued the second half in a similar vein to the first; spending long periods on the back foot only to break out of their torpor with bouts of brilliance. For instance, a converted try scored under the posts was followed by a long stretch in their own half.
The Jesuans were not helped by a very high penalty count against them. While indiscipline may have been involved, there were disagreements on the sidelines about the referee’s inconsistency at the breakdown. Credit to Queen’s who made the most of these decisions; Andy ‘Coach’ Kirk turned a penalty tap on the Jesus 5 metre into seven points.
Queens’ fly half, ‘Irish Mike’ Griffith, added 3 points from another penalty and, with the score at 23-18, a nervy period ensued.
Jesus looked to have relieved the pressure when Miller appeared to score in the corner. However, the try was disallowed. Miller would later describe this decision as “a dead set shocker”.
While Queens’ continued to threaten they were finally shut out by two Tambara penalties that left the final score at 29-18.
Speaking after the match Queens’ captain, Matt Jones, noted that “the match was closer than the scoreline suggested, and with ten minutes to go either team could have won it”. Although Jesus “showed why they are probably the best college team around”, his side were without 8 first team players.
Pleased with another win Miller looked ahead to the fixture with Magdalene. For him “the competition has been much, much more evenly-balanced than in previous years. You need to be switched on every week.”
The victory leaves Miller’s team three points clear of Queens’ at the top of the division, with Downing now firmly in the relegation zone after their 25-10 defeat to Magdalene yesterday.
Full report and photos of the Magdalene v Downing game to follow, along with the updated league table.