Emphatic Robinson Victory Asks Serious Questions Of The Boys In Red

On Tuesday afternoon, Robinson recorded their first victory over St. John’s in an emphatic 15-0 win. HENRY PRITCH has the details.

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Robinson 15-0 St John’s

On Tuesday afternoon The Red Boys, St John’s, played Robinson in the second game each of their respective campaigns. With two victories in last year’s fixtures, each by more than twenty points, the Johnians must have fancied a win to bring them back after a galling defeat at Jesus last week.

However, Robinson were buoyed by the news of the John’s fly-half having been suspended after that match, due to an apparently blatant red card offence.

Robinson started off positively, with no. 10 Pollock kicking for territory and bringing his team into the opponents’ half, from which they would rarely stray for the 80 minutes. The John’s forwards put in some strong rucking to disrupt the break-down and pull in blue forwards to the middle of the pitch, while Red Boys no. 10 ‘Fritz’ looked dangerous when organising his back line.

Photo: Andrew Shipley

However, when the ball got to the fringes, the Binson backs were able to break the line pretty consistently, with some good sweeping tackles from John’s to clear up. On one of these line-breaks, with good pressure from the Binson forwards Baines and Royall, captain Mackie put Bokkerink through for a good try in the left-hand corner. The subsequent kick from Pollock drifted lazily through the air, to land a good ten metres short of the posts, a miss that luckily did not prove fatal for the Pegasus.

John’s rallied after the kick-off, with Captain Paddy putting in some powerful runs in the loose but two stolen lineouts and a penalty for handling in the ruck allowed Pollock to clear his lines. Soon afterwards Mackie managed to break the line again and put Binson no. 12 Commin through to score just to the right of the posts. A slightly dazed John’s could at least be thankful that Pollock again came up with a lackadaisical strike to keep the score at 10-0.

Photo: Bethan Macdonald

Another break in midfield from Binson 14 Sparkhall was cut short as his offload went awry, but a subsequent Binson chip was knocked on by the John’s full-back, putting RCRUFC back in the Red 22.

After a slightly breathless and excited half time talk in the Robinson camp, John’s came right back in the game, galvanised to overcome the two-try deficit. A strong early rolling maul seemed to slightly nip at Binson confidence, but a probing kick from the Red 10 was answered by a slick run from the blue 15 Bokkerink, offloading to Sharman, who was called back from the line, pinged by the impressive referee for a forward pass.

With Binson prop Sandow off with cramp, the match went to uncontested scrums, and soon after Blue prop Wang was unexpectedly through the line, and the passage of play was only halted by a fairly vocal injury to the Red scrum-half, who had to go off.  With only two unconverted tries, Binson nerves were tested by some rollicking runs from the Red no.8 and others, only to be allayed by more assured kicking from Pollock.

Apparently the least intimidating college rugby captain on the circuit...

Apparently the least intimidating college rugby captain on the circuit… Photo: Martijn Bokkerink

After a rash of penalties in favour of Robinson as the John’s forwards fought for possession, Sparkhall managed an individual try from half-way, steaming up the right wing before cutting in and wrong-footing the Red 15. Despite another missed penalty from Pollock, this one resembling a footballer’s penalty more so than rugby, Robinson were in command of the last minutes, even as John’s put up a stern defence and continued to punch at the fringes with the match at 15-0.

In the end the game was an emphatic victory for a Robinson side against a John’s team who have seen better days. Indeed, in Robinson’s 40-odd-year history, this was their first victory over John’s, a point over which they were justly pleased, as John’s had put in a good shift.