Rugby: USC Old Boys 21 Bank of England 24
- Credit: Archant
UCS Old Boys began the new season with a 24-21 loss to Bank Of England at their temporary base in Finchley’s Lyndhurst Gardens.
Playing in a gold-hued strip to honour Dave Bromley, who is recovering from a cardiac arrest in St Mary’s Hospital, they put up a fight against their rivals.
The Old Gowers began well and, after a maul in Bank’s 22, the ball was swung wide by James Boxer to an overlap which included full-back Nat Breakwell who scored in the corner.
Boxer converted but Bank hit back with a try of their own from a quick tap penalty.
After a particularly intense period of play, in which the Old Gower forwards won much possession from the lineout and tight, Charlie Esdon barrelled over from another James pass to help the hosts into a 14-10 lead at the interval.
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The second half saw the weather change to balmy sunshine, with intermittent showers of varying strength, and Chris Pope was replaced by Tim Sydor in the second row as prop George Sewell gave way to Ethan Summers.
But some mishandling on the hour led to a sustained spell of Bank pressure and the visitors eventually scored a try from a maul under the posts, which was converted, taking them into the lead.
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UCS missed a penalty to level on 65 minutes, but debutant flanker Liam Clarke put in some spirited runs to take the pack near to the five-yard line and prop Christian Henk charged over for a converted try that put UCS in front.
But Bank scored a winning try in the last five minutes, which was also converted, and UCS director of rugby Nick Gourlay said: “We had a very strong first half with promising signs in attack and strong discipline in defence. This gave way to panic in the second half, where we lost our composure, which resulted in some poor decision-making.”
Captain Tom Arnold added: “There was chaos in parts of the second half and we lost our composure, but overall I am absolutely delighted that rugby is back.”
UCSOB: Sewell (Summers), Turton A, Henk, Pope (Sydor), Fillip, Bean, Sanders, Zabci, Clarke, Coates, Boxer, Ruzzon, Arnold, Edwards, Esdon, Breakwell.