Rugby round-up: UCS Old Boys fade against high-flying Hemel
UCS were unable to hold onto the lead against Hemel Hempstead on Saturday as their visitors came from behind in the final 20 minutes to triumph.
The Old Boys led 17-12 on the hour-mark, but second-placed Hemel then ran in five tries to win by 24 points.
The defeat left UCS four points off the bottom after basement boys Fullerians surprisingly beat Harpenden at the weekend.
UCS director of rugby Geoff Boxer said: “As with our game against Harpenden, we played well for 60 minutes and matched Hemel in every department – but we have to accept that other sides are currently stronger in the last quarter of games.
“I can only put that down to fitness, and some of our players are making physical and mental mistakes as tiredness sets in. We have to do more for longer in games if we want to close out the wins we need to stay up.”
UCS started brightly with Aled Davies pulling the strings at fly-half, and they nearly took the lead as No8 James Boyde was held up just short of the line – but inside centre Matt Jacobs was then sin-binned and Hemel took advantage with a converted try under the posts.
UCS fought back, and hooker Christian Henk played a clever one-two with Dave Myers at the front of a lineout before freeing scrum-half Dave O’Dwyer, who dived over the line, and Mark Forth converted before putting his side ahead with a penalty kick.
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The lead changed hands before the interval as the visitors created an overlap and touched down, but Boyde pushed his way over in the 50th minute and Forth added the extras to give the Old Boys a 17-12 advantage.
They held that lead for 10 minutes, but the wheels then fell off in spectacular style as Hemel scored three tries in 10 minutes.
UCS’s plight worsened as James Boxer was harshly yellow-carded for a high tackle, and the visitors scored twice more to strengthen their hold on second place.
That was bad news for Hampstead, who lie third – and they lost 62-28 at Hammersmith & Fulham to drop 11 points behind Hemel in the fight for the play-off spot.
Meanwhile, in London Division Three North-West, bottom side Haringey Rhinos suffered their 15th defeat in 17 league games, losing 48-17 at home against second-placed Twickenham.
Tom Armer, Cameron Howson and captain Andy Swainson scored tries for Haringey, and Daniel Thompson and Dominique Dalglish impressed, but the Rhinos were unable to keep Twickenham out.
Hendon also conceded 48 points in Herts/Middlesex Division One, losing their basement battle with West London 48-12.
Hendon found themselves 38-0 down at half-time and, although they won the second period after two tries from John McCarthy and a conversion from Steve Brady, they have now dropped to the bottom of the league.
Belsize Park lost 16-5 at Old Actonians, but they sit 20 points above West London.