College Rugby: Downing Dispatch Redboys

Downing record an impressive victory over John’s. Report from ROB HALL and GEORGE CLIFTON-BROWN.

13-0 clifton-brown College division 1 downing george Hall johns redboys rob Rugby st Union

Downing 13-0 St. John’s

The boys in Magenta grind out their third consecutive win against St John’s.

The Redboys had been waiting for this match for a while: the chance to reassert their authority after a tepid Michaelmas. It was the opportunity they needed to return to the glory days of old.

The House of Pain hosted the grudge match; the characteristic gale force winds ensuring that anything the John’s supporters might have found to cheer about couldn’t be heard on the pitch.

Downing played with the wind for the first half, though failed to take advantage of it. Clearance kicks from Downing’s fly-half failed to gain territory and gave away vital possession. They did, however, manage to score the half’s only points, Tombs slotting a penalty after ruck infringements. Only 3 points behind at half time, SJRUFC were relishing the chance to play with the wind in the second half.

John’s did well to battle against the wind in the first half

With the Redboys receiving a plenty of stick from the Downing support, they seemed to lose concentration, and allowed John Walker’s trademark carries to move DCRUFC into the Johns 22. Quick recycling from the Magenta pack got the ball through the hands for Ollie ‘Four-minute-phaal’ Lewis to touch down in the corner.

An increasingly desperate John’s team began to get on the wrong side of the referee as they saw their title ambitions fading. A moment of madness from a John’s winger saw a quickly taken throw-in intercepted by Luke Thompson, who ran 50 metres to collapse over the try line just before his fitness got the better of him.

John’s looked dangerous, but in truth, Downing’s solid back line never really looked like it would let the lead slip. Crawford’s pace was wrapped up by Arnold and Thompson in the centres. Gutsy defence from the home team managed to quell the rage of the Redboys and after holding out for what seemed like an eternity, the final whistle blew.

Celebrations continued long into the night

Photos by Graham Bates.