UCS Old Boys will bounce back from relegation, says director of rugby Boxer
PUBLISHED: 12:37 25 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:42 25 March 2014
UCS Old Boys’ director of rugby has backed the first-team squad to bounce straight back next season following their relegation on Saturday.
UCS endured a tough start to the season in London North-West Division Two, losing their first 13 games and also having 10 points deducted for accidentally fielding an unregistered player in two matches.
That left them 18 points from safety, but they launched a spirited late bid for survival at the start of 2014, winning four out of six games and cutting the gap to eight points earlier this month.
Unfortunately, any remaining hope was extinguished on Saturday with a 46-26 defeat away at Hammersmith & Fulham, which condemned UCS to a place in the bottom two with two games still to play.
However, director of rugby Geoff Boxer insists the future is bright.
“We put in another strong performance on Saturday, scoring four tries and securing a bonus point against a Hammersmith & Fulham team who are flying high in fourth place in the division,” he said.
“The upsurge in our results has not quite been enough to save us from relegation, on the back of a poor start and a run of losing games.
“But that recent form is testament to our ability at this level, and we have no doubt that we have the players with the right mix of work ethic and talent to get us back up to Level 7 next year.
“Outside the club, we will be judged us by our first XV results and our relegation. Inside the club, though, we are delighted with our own progress and, with the average age of the first XV being around 25 years of age, the best is yet to come.
“That is backed up by the fact that we are running three adult sides every week, with all of them containing a great number of UCS former pupils.
“The club remains very strong, with committed and talented coaches, and we look forward to next season and the challenge that it presents to us.”
UCS started poorly against Hammersmith & Fulham, conceding a try inside the opening minute – and that was followed by another touchdown due to some slack tackling.
They rallied though, hitting back through an interception from Dom Rollo-Walker – and they went on to score another try as Chris Oulton and Tom Bamford combined to put Will McWhirter over in the corner.
Things went downhill fast though as the Old Boys leaked several tries, and when McWhirter touched down from a Bamford grubber kick at the other end, it was harshly disallowed.
But UCS looked dangerous when they kept the ball in hand, and Mert Zabci scored next to the posts while substitute Dan Sleath made good inroads but was unable to finish.
Bamford was also denied as the ball was knocked out of his hand as he attempted to finish off a move, but he made amends by putting McWhirter in for his second try down the wing. This time it counted as the Old Boys finished strongly – but the defeat still signalled their relegation.
Elsewhere in the division, Hampstead suffered a 40-29 defeat at home against Hemel Hempstead and consequently dropped from ninth to 10 place.