EURL Bow Out of BUCS
Gloucester proceed to semi-finals despite a brave campaign from the Exeter 1st team.
On a gloriously sunny Wednesday afternoon down at Duckes Meadow, Exeter University Rugby League 1s suffered their first defeat of the season, as the University of Gloucester 1s beat them 18-36.
Exeter had gone unbeaten in the league stage of the tournament for the second year running, and there was a good crowd hoping for this form to continue, predominantly rugby league members suavely dressed in "ones".
Gloucester were the first to score after some dubious counting from the Exeter back line. However, Craig O'Donnell was quick to reply – despite a series of big hits in the build-up, the ball was spun out wide to the curly-haired Scotsman who touched down in the corner.
Things started to look up for Exeter as they took the lead 8-6 through a Cormac Healy breakaway try. Missed kicks and a Gloucester surge soon doused EURL spirits though, as the cheese rollers led 18-8 at the interval.
Gloucester continued the second half in similar form, putting another three tries past Exeter before Nico Flanagan inspired a comeback with a controversial try – the Gloucester players were incensed as he ran the ball home from an arguably forward pass.
O'Donnell again charged over soon after, injecting the dour Exeter fans with a shot of optimism. Matt Laventure converted to bring the score to 24-18.
Gloucester though weathered this onslaught and were back on the score sheet within minutes – a series of high tackles that the official somehow found it in his heart to deem legal and a conversion that was ruled between the posts to the bewilderment of all present handed the visitors a 36-18 victory and a place in the semi-final against Leeds Metropolitan University.
Though not fully reflected in the result, the passion and commitment shown by the 1s would be the envy of any team; needless to say, every player gave their all in the final game of another memorable season for EURL.
Man of the match: Craig O'Donnell – two well-taken tries and defensively solid all game. An exemplary final showing from a long-term servant of the club.
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