UCL thrash King’s to win varsity
UCL Rugby first XV banished the ghosts of last season as they avenged their heart breaking last minute 19-17 loss, thrashing the strand poly 24-7 in a game that was marred by crowd trouble and pitch invasions.
UCL Rugby first XV banished the ghosts of last season, as they avenged their heart breaking last minute 19-17 loss, thrashing the strand poly 24-7 in a game that was marred by crowd trouble and pitch invasions.
A pulsating game was overshadowed by the actions of fans from both sides who caused the game to be temporarily abandoned and required extra police be called at the final whistle.
The game started scrappily, both sides obviously nervous, unused to playing in a stadium of such stature and with such large vocal support. Both sides committed unforced errors, with few nice phases of play being strung together.
This all changed as Kings no. 7 Dan Kenny was sent to the sin bin as repetitive King's cheating culminated in giving the referee no choice after countless warnings.
UCL capitalized on their numerical superiority only seconds later. Tidy forward play sucked in King’s defenders, enabling Will Green to aim an audacious cross field kick towards full back Andrew Doctor-Smith. The bounce favoured the UCL player who gratefully collected to score in the corner. Green adding to his good work by converting a difficult penalty.
King’s looked visibly shaken, with fly half Robin Cumming putting his kick straight into touch at the restart. UCL smelt blood and it was only 5 minutes later that they scored their second. Again King’s players were sucked in, as UCL took advantage of the extra man, Will East throwing out a long pass to winger Haris Ismail, who sprinted into the corner.
The opposition did not learn their lesson, and only minutes after being restored to a full 15 found themselves down to 14 men for the second time in the half. UCL were in a ruthless mood, Will East again at the heart of a move that put in Oscar Dodd, who ploughed over several King's defenders to score under the posts. Will Green converted to put UCL up 19-0.
UCL scored just before half time, stemming from a comedy of errors from the King’s defense. A speculative drop goal by Tom Brocket from 40 yards flew miles wide seemingly to safety. A King’s defender, however, had other ideas – failing to catch it and instead letting it fail through his hands and ricochet off his leg into the path of flanker Brad Jarvis, who still had some work to do before managing to shake off Kings' desperate defense to just place the ball over the line. UCL went in at half time utterly dominant, at 24-0 up.
The second half of the match was marred by crowd trouble. Approximately 20 minutes in, a fight broke out amongst two UCL fans which resulted in one being arrested. The raucous fan behaviour has called into question the future of the Varsity Rugby Match being played at Twickenham Stadium.
The second half lacked the intensity of the first, with King’s offering a more even opposition and defenses winning out. Elliot Mills was sin binned with time running out, allowing King’s to score a consolation try to make it 24-7, but in truth a UCL victory was never in doubt from 30 minutes in. This was a side that had learnt from throwing away last years winning position and looked determined to right that wrong.
Jack Tradrea, UCL captain, spoke exclusively to The Buzz after the game saying it was an 'excellent team performance combined with great individual performances. A fantastic, fantastic day for UCL rugby. A big thanks to all the fans for watching.'
At the final whistle, pandemonium broke out as UCL supporters flooded the pitch to mob their heroes and celebrate this historic thrashing of our greatest rivals. King’s fans followed and tempers flared, with stewards desperately attempting to clear the pitch. Reggie the lion, the King’s mascot, was expelled by security for his role in the trouble.
Regardless of the issues surrounding the game and the inevitable repercussions, UCL and the rugby team can hold their heads high this evening having reestablished UCL's superiority over the Srand Poly. Well done boys, have a drink on The Buzz.