UCLU Men’s Rugby 1st and 3rd XV remain undefeated
UCLU Men’s Rugby has started its current season with blistering pace – the club has notched up 12 victories in 14 matches and both the 1st XV and 3rd XV remain undefeated with a combined goal difference of over 200 points.
Last Wednesday both sides played Canterbury Christ Church University to compete for the top spot in their respective leagues. The scores were very different but the results were the same: two more wins for UCL.
UCLU Men’s Rugby 1st XV 13 – 10 CCCU 1st XV
In a truly nail-biting encounter the 1s overcame a strong CCCU side in what was surely the match of the season so far.
The game started intensely with UCL winning a penalty on the CCCU 10m line but James Dyer was only able to kick the ball dead. CCCU sought to use their 6’5 centre to put pressure on the UCL defence with a series of up and unders but their efforts achieved precious little. The first half continued in a gritty fashion with the UCL forwards dominating the scrum. It was CCCU, however who struck first when they scored out wide after a missed tackle. The teams went into half time with the score at 5-0.
With the wind and sun now at their backs, UCL knew that the game was ripe for the taking. Shortly after half-time James Dyer went over for UCL to level the scores. Andrew Smith-Doctor narrowly missed a tricky conversion before making amends with a sweetly taken penalty (using a tee sportingly provided by CCCU after the UCL one broke) to put UCL up 8-5 with 20 minutes left in the match.
UCL defended stalwartly in their 22 for 10 minutes before a 22 drop-out allowed the team to move downfield and secure a scrum on the CCCU 22. With 4 minutes to go UCL knew that they just had to grind the result out but a mishap at the scrum allowed CCCU to move upfield and score in the corner. With the conversion missed and the score at 8-10 UCL had just 2 minutes to save the match.
A knock-on by CCCU gave UCL a scrum on the opposition 10m line which was to be the last play of the game. Ferg Taylor crashed the ball upfield before Joe Heagerty found Zach Stamp in space. With two defenders in front of him and no time left on the clock Zach charged forwards. Tom Carr expertly sold one CCCU defender with a dummy line allowing Stamp to show his pace and charge over the try line.
With no time left on the clock UCL snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and Burlington Bertie once again rang round Shenley.
UCLU Men’s Rugby 3rd XV 34 – 0 CCCU 4th XV
The 3s once again reiterated their dominance of their league by controlling the match from start to finish with CCCU unable to trouble the UCL defence.
An early penalty returned three points for Sean O’ Doherty before powerful running yielded converted tries for Elliot Davis and Kevin Hollis.
The first half was played almost entirely in the CCCU 22 with UCL dominating possession and forcing turnovers at the breakdown. CCCU were unable to put their powerful forwards to good use and UCL were able to cling onto possession at the scrum. The lineout functioned excellently with UCL stealing plenty of CCCU possession, providing the backs with ample ball.
Rhodri Sennitt was denied what was certain to be the try of the season by a forward pass after he had caught his own kick and delivered an inch perfect out-the-back pass to his fellow centre. The first half ended with UCL firmly in the ascendency and determined to turn the screw in the next 40 minutes.
Playing down the hill in the second half, UCL’s free flowing rugby came into its own. Despite the windy conditions, fly-half Henry Day continued to spread the ball wide and two more converted tries were added to the UCL total.
The highlight of the second half came when prop and captain Septimus Knox scored a try for the first time in his 4 years at UCL off the back of a ruck.
With the score at 31-0 UCL lost focus towards the end of the game and a series of unforced errors meant the 3s had to defend on their try line. After repelling several phases of attack, full-back Kevin Hollis turned the ball over on the try line to end the danger.
With game almost at an end, UCL camped themselves in the CCCU 22 and Jimmy Warburton kicked a drop goal to make the score 34-0.