Henk scores late winning try as UCS Old Boys triumph in see-saw contest

Man of the match Christian Henk scored a decisive 75th-minute try for UCS Old Boys. Pic: Paolo Minol

Man of the match Christian Henk scored a decisive 75th-minute try for UCS Old Boys. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

Christian Henk scored a late winning try as UCS Old Boys came from behind to beat London French 25-21 in a see-saw contest and move up to seventh place in Herts/Middlesex Division One.

Despite scores from Tom Arnold and Dave O’Dwyer, UCS trailed 21-18 with five minutes left – but man of the match Henk crashed over and the lead changed hands for the seventh time as the Old Boys emerged victorious, moving within three points of the top five spots.

Alex Lowe kicked the hosts into the lead with a penalty and, although London French scored the first try, Arnold crossed the whitewash on the half-hour mark and Lowe converted before adding another penalty to leave the Old Boys 13-7 up at the break.

The visitors hit back after the interval, taking a one-point lead - and, while it seemed UCS had then scored themselves at the other end, Richard Driver displayed a fine show of sportsmanship by admitting he had lost control of the ball, allowing French to retain their advantage with 20 minutes left.

He may have momentarily regretted that decision as Henk saw a try ruled out because the referee was unable to see the ball under a pile of bodies, but a yellow card reduced the visitors to 14 men and O’Dwyer touched down from the resulting scrum.

Unfortunately Lowe’s conversion attempt hit the post and, with 10 minutes left, French regained the lead in controversial circumstances. The away team knocked the ball on before UCS number eight Mert Zabci lost it himself in contact, but the referee failed to penalise the initial offence and the visitors took full advantage of the confusion by racing away and going 21-18 up.

There was one final twist, though. Captain Matt Jacobs found a gap and, when the ball was recycled from the ruck, Henk crashed through three would-be tacklers to touch down, while Lowe added the extras to put the seal on a thrilling victory.

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UCS coach Carl Bradshaw said: “It was a hard-earned and ultimately well-deserved win. Eventually our scrummage started to give us the edge, and quicker ruck ball in the second half allowed us to attack the space with more penetration.

“This win, with a more experienced first XV squad now - coupled with the promising next generation on show in the second XV match on Saturday - gives the club plenty of hope for the future.”