Downing Steal Jesus’ Victory
In a battle as much with the elements as the other team, Downing snatch victory from the hands of Jesus
Downing 31- Jesus 20
Downing staged a remarkable comeback in the last quarter to beat Jesus 31-20 in a match plagued with injuries.
As a contest between two teams finishing level in the league last year, this fixture was always set to be a close encounter. The elements were going to play a large part; Jesus starting play with the strong wind on their side.
From the off Jesus were on top thanks to a combination of poor discipline from the home side and remarkable lineout work from Nick Roope. Some well-worked phase-play from the Jesus pack produced a 3-on-1 overlap, which Downing was powerless to stop. Jesus converted to put them 7 points ahead.
A few minutes later and Downing’s ill-discipline cost them a penalty within kicking distance. The Jesus fly-half showed his prowess with the boot to take the score to 10 in the visitors’ favour.
Knowing they needed to widen their winning margin while the wind was still with them, the Jesus backs ran the ball out wide. This was rewarded by a missed tackle from Downing, gifting Jesus a score in the corner, making it 0-15 with Jesus very much on top.
With 15 minutes of the first half to go, Downing changed tactics, opting for forward carries instead of wide plays, which hadn’t been coming off for them. A quickly taken penalty allowed the ball to reach Thompson, who offloaded to Rees to get DCRUFC on the scoreboard.
Further Downing pressure lead to the ball being held up over the line, and being knocked on. However, the late try for the home team had just about put them back in the battle, leaving the score at 5-15 going into the break.
The change of ends gave the meteorological advantage to the home side, but an early error from the Downing forwards cost them. A quick tap penalty allowed Tom Hudson to coast in just to the right of the posts, which went unconverted.
Jesus looked to be in control of the match with only twenty minutes left to play. Unfortunately a serious neck injury stopped play for ten minutes and as medical help was sought, the match was moved to the adjacent pitch.
Downing immediately had a scrum five yards out, and their pack drove the Jesus scrum back to launch a Number 8 carry, swiftly converted by Tombs. Excellent handling from Sam Arnold straight after the restart allowed Thompson to display his pace out wide, scoring under the posts and Tombs again converted.
Two tries in as many minutes, making it 19-20, had given the Magenta boys a smell of victory. A combined effort from Hooker Clifton-Brown and Tom ‘The Tank Engine’ Rees ploughed through the JCRUFC defence to put Downing ahead. Tombs again got the conversion; 26-20 to Downing.
Sadly, though Downing’s faithful scrum-half limped from the pitch, missing his only five minutes of college rugby in three years, there was still time for a great bit of solo work, with a magenta run down the wing for a final try.
Though understandably disappointed with Downing’s late revival, certain Jesus players showed it is possible to lose with less grace than the Red Boys. Quite some achievement.