Hackney gain revenge over UCS Old Boys at Saracens’ Allianz Park
PUBLISHED: 19:03 23 February 2015 | UPDATED: 19:03 23 February 2015
UCS Old Boys were unable to engineer a repeat of their recent cup victory over Hackney and remain in the bottom two of London North-West Division Three after a 53-14 defeat on Saracens’ artificial pitch at Allianz Park.
The Old Boys triumphed 8-5 over their opponents in the Middlesex Cup at the end of January, Rory Gibson’s 14-point haul meant they were just three points behind at half-time on Saturday – but the game got away from them in the second period as Hackney ran out convincing winners.
The conditions were perfect for running rugby and there was an eagerness from both sides to stage a game worthy of their surroundings and throw the ball around.
UCS also exhibited the same aggressive defence that has been a trademark of recent performances, highlighted by a crunching tackle from Gareth Watson-Cowan.
The two sides exchanged penalty kicks, with Gibson doing the honours for UCS, but Hackney got the first try from a strong rolling roll and then repeated the feat to rumble over the line again.
The Old Boys suffered another blow when prop Ahmad Ghanem was sin-binned for a late shoulder charge, but Gibson’s boot kept the scoreboard ticking over and they nearly ran the ball the length of the pitch after a Damir Jovanovic break, with players off-loading at great pace.
A fine try did follow as Chris Oulton took a high ball under pressure on the 50m mark and offloaded to the supporting Gibson, who took advantage of the broken field to use his explosive acceleration, skip round numerous Hackney defenders and score in the corner.
That closed the deficit to 17-14 at half-time, leaving both sets of supporters looking forward to an exciting second half.
However, things went downhill for UCS as gaps started to appear and missed tackles allowed Hackney’s pacy players – who had been well marshalled in the first half – to break through and scor4e freely.
The Old Boys’ penalty count also did them few favours as isolated players were penalised for holding onto the ball, killing their opponents’ momentum.
Despite the game heading out of their reach, UCS fought on bravely, with Alex Klimov making an impressive cameo with some line breaks while also getting turnovers and hitting tackles with ferocity.
In the end, though, Hackney extended the winning margin to a flattering 39 points, leaving the Old Boys to move their focus to Saturday’s trip to face seventh-placed Stevenage Town.