Hild Bede Emerge As League Champions
CONOR HORGAN reports from the Collingwood perspective, as Hild Bede brush aside Collingwood to claim the college rugby title
Rival colleges Hild Bede and Collingwood played yesterday in a repeat of last years Floodlit Final, with Hild Bede deservedly maintaining the upper hand on a under-cooked Collingwood.
Collingwood's poor start from kick-off meant that the opening stages were going to be an Up-Hild battle. Despite a strong defence for fifteen minutes, the pressure finally told with Hild Bede crossing the line after several attempts.
Hild Bede were the better team in the first half, proving no post-Christmas rustiness as they continued to spread the ball effectively and quickly to their wide players, in particular their impressive, yet equally irritating, winger.
The pressure was relentless, as they used the favourable wind to their advantage, pinning Collingwood in their own half time and time again. Collingwood continued to hold their own in defence by holding up the ball over their own line three times, before an impressive break away down the left touchline resulted in Hild Bede's second try of the game.
Whereas Collingwood were struggling to disrupt Hild Bede in open play, they had the upper hand at the set piece. This was in stark contrast to their last meeting in last season's Floodlit Final, but the scrum advantage in particular did not transpire into more scoring opportunities for Collingwood.
With the last play of the first half, the game was effectively taken away from Collingwood thanks to a fortuitous, controversial try. A swift backs move across the width of the pitch, resulted in one of the Hild Bede players appearing to block Hamish Walker, before juggling the ball forward to his team mate to cross over for the third try of the game.
It was a real sucker punch for Collingwood, who although were distinctly second best, had deserved better luck as a result of their 'Big D'.
Collingwood's hope of a second half revival were dashed soon after the break, thanks to a 'flair' try by the increasingly narky Hild Bede 14. His dummy-kick was sold gratis to the impressive Collingwood full back, Luke Stockton, who could only watch from the sky as the winger rounded him score.
Collingwood continued to push for a try, and spent the majority of the second half in Hild Bede's 22. However a combination of good disruption by the bustling Bede back-row and slow support play by the admittedly under-cooked Collingwood forwards, meant that they were shut out for the first time this season.
At the full time whistle, Collingwood admitted that Hild Bede ran out as deserved winners yet there were several positives to take out of the game.
Where next for the teams?
Hild Bede are in their side of the draw in the Floodlit Competition, so it is possible that they will have a chance to avenge this defeat later this term.
More has to be done to disrupt the influential Hild Bede scrum half who epitomises everything good about their play. However, with the set piece a marked improvement on last year, in addition to having the ability to score from anywhere on their day,
Collingwood feel that they could cause an upset if the opportunity arises. The bar has been set for Collingwood and they know they have the capability to reach it.