UCS Old Boys battle back to beat basement boys and secure second successive victory
PUBLISHED: 12:28 23 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:28 23 February 2016
UCS Old Boys secured their second successive victory on Saturday but had to overcome an early scare and fight back from behind to beat basement boys Old Millhillians 17-6 in Herts/Middlesex Division One.
The hosts, who had lost 15 of their previous 16 league games, scored an early converted try, but Mert Zabci and Chris Oulton then went over for the Old Boys while Alex Lowe kicked two penalties to avoid an upset.
UCS were missing captain Matt Jacobs and vice-captain Chris Henk and, although Tom Arnold deputised effectively, they made an unsteady start, rushing clearances and kicking the ball back into the arms of their opponents.
Their sloppiness was punished just a few minutes into the game as Old Millhillians won a penalty and kicked for touch before winning the lineout and crashing over the line with a driving maul to take a 7-0 lead.
UCS could have found themselves further behind but their hosts knocked the ball on just outside the 22, and the visitors promptly found a spark. Rather than kick the ball away, they used the scrum as a platform to attack off first-phase ball and fly-half Lowe found Arnold, who burst between the opposition’s centres.
There was no score but that lifted the Old Boys and gave them confidence – they adapted to the conditions, cut out the handling errors and missed tackles and went on to dominate the rest of the half.
The pressure told as UCS charged down a clearance kick, with Zabci pouncing on the loose ball to cross the line – and Oulton then came inside off his wing looking for work and was rewarded for his efforts by a try after slick handling from the backs, while Lowe finished the half with a successful penalty kick to give his side a 13-7 lead at the interval.
The second half was even more attritional than the first, with Old Millhillians determined to regain the lead and grab a rare victory.
They dominated territory and possession but UCS had the upper hand at the set piece, while they remained organised in defence – and Lowe capitalised on a rare foray into the home side’s half by slotting over another penalty to put the visitors out of sight.
Meanwhile, Hampstead’s clash with league leaders Fullerians in London North-West Division Two was postponed – and Hendon’s showdown with Haringey Rhinos in Herts/Middlesex Division Two was also called off, with the Dons being awarded a home win.
Hendon are now just two points behind second-placed Watford, who lost to leaders Saracens Amateurs on Saturday, as the pair battle it out for the second promotion spot – and, after a weekend off, they go head to head in a potentially season-defining clash on March 5.