Wessex and UWE share the spoils in the rain

Seemingly the theme for playing sport in this second semester, Southampton University Men’s 1st XV took to Wide Lane last Wednesday in some of the worst playing conditions possible. In […]


Seemingly the theme for playing sport in this second semester, Southampton University Men’s 1st XV took to Wide Lane last Wednesday in some of the worst playing conditions possible.

In the most pivotal match of the year for us, the weather provided a leveler, so to speak. Conditions dictated that it was to be a match for the forwards. As the match transpired, Wessex certainly rubber stamped their credentials as one of the most, powerful packs in the League. Pouring every ounce of effort in to winning the game, we were desperately unlucky to finish the match on level terms with UWE Bristol. It finished 12-12.

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Flanker: Dave Jordan

Playing in to the wind in the first half, Wessex executed a clever game plan of keeping the ball tight with relentless carrying from the likes of Matt Ward and Tommy Thornton. Although we played the better rugby, a lapse in concentration was capitalized upon by a ruthless UWE side who went 5-0 up, although Wessex had played the better rugby. Our control soon showed however, as Rafa Vaccaro burrowed over after more excellent work from the pack who made all the hard yards. Adam Davies excellent conversion attempt against a powerful gust unfortunately drilled the post. Playing with a disadvantageous wind against us, we were happy come half time. 5-5 with the conditions to suit us, Wessex were in the driving seat.

The second half saw the weather fluctuate to absurd levels, with hail flying down one minute, and the blue skies emerging shortly after. However, we fought hard and did not let the conditions, which were previously so one sided against our favour, demoralize us. Going at one another hammer and tong, both sides made as entertaining a match as the climate allowed. With UWE regaining the lead in the last 15 minutes, and subsequently converting, Wessex had a 7 point gap to chase. With fresh legs adding impetus off the bench, we now had a spring in our step. This spring was epitomized by the dancing feet of Davies who capitalized on gaps in the visitors defence to put Captain Freddie Gleadowe in for a lovely try. With Davies converting, it was all to play for. Wessex continually hammered against the UWE defence, but could not find any purchase as the team second in the league table sought to come away from Southampton without a loss to their name.

A chance arose in the final play of the match however as Wessex won a penalty in the opponents half. On the angle and with a strong wind to take in to consideration, Davies struck the ball perfectly but a late gust pushed the ball agonizingly wide. Wessex deserved victory here and did everything right, yet the rub of the green did not go our way. Such is sport!

Next up for us are Cardiff next Wednesday, in a match where the boys will be looking to getting back to winning ways. Special mention to Tommy Thornton for receiving Man of the Match.

Our best wishes go to flanker Dave Jordan (beautifully pictured above) as he leaves us to go to America for the rest of this academic year. A man who puts his body on the line week-in week-out will be sorely missed by Wessex, the boys are looking forward to his return next year.