Deja vu as UCS Old Boys earn dramatic late victory in relegation battle
- Credit: Archant
UCS Old Boys came from behind to win with the final play of the match for the second match in a row, earning a vital 13-10 victory over relegation rivals Finchley in London North-West Division Three.
Dave O’Dwyer had scored a late winning try in a Middlesex Cup triumph over Hackney the previous weekend, and Rory Gibson repeated the feat with a wonderful solo effort on Saturday to take the Old Boys out of the bottom two relegation spots.
UCS were due to be at home but the match was moved to Finchley’s ground, and the Old Boys had the benefit of a light breeze in the first half.
It was they who took the lead as pressure built and Finchley failed to clear their lines, with skipper and half-back O’Dwyer sniping right and popping the ball inside to the charging David Myers, who made the earth rumble with a swan dive over the try-line.
Continuing this dominance with the breeze at their backs was vital, and hardworking forwards like Henry Walton, Alex Klimov and Mert Zabci were up for the challenge, repeatedly smashing the opposition back and making good inroads in attack.
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UCS were also dominant at the scrum, with Ahmed Ghanem constantly getting underneath his opposite number and causing havoc.
While the lineout struggled in the weather, the scrambling defence was good enough to stop any chances Finchley may have had – and Gibson slotted a 40m penalty, giving the Old Boys an 8-0 lead at the break.
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However, they turned into a much stronger wind than the first half and struggled to get out of their own territory.
Multiple attacks were repelled, and UCS eventually enjoyed five minutes at the other end of the pitch, with their forwards attacking the line, resulting in a yellow card for Finchley’s number eight and giving the Old Boys’ pack some breathing room.
However, Finchley drove to the line in the middle of the second half, scoring a converted try which left them just 8-7 down – and, while several penalties were then missed, they managed to land one, taking a 10-8 lead with three minutes to go.
Gibson restarted the game quickly but Finchley had the ball when the 80 minutes elapsed. They only needed to kick the ball out to win the match, but failed to do so.
Instead they cleared downfield and Laurent Stephenson gathered the ball, which went through the hands of Dan Hastings and Dan Stewart to Gibson, who spotted that Finchley’s reserve right winger was sleeping and chipped the ball over him before dotting down in the corner to steal victory at the death.
UCS Old Boys: Ghanem, Klimov (Bean), Myers D, Jovanovich, Jayne( May), Zabci, Walton, Filip, O’Dwyer, Hastings, Stephenson, Arnold, Gibson, Duke (Oulton), Stewart.