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UCS Old Boys climb off the bottom after beating Wasps in crucial relegation showdown

PUBLISHED: 15:49 30 January 2017

Chris Bean scored UCS Old Boys' try. Picture: Nick Cook

Chris Bean scored UCS Old Boys' try. Picture: Nick Cook

Archant

UCS Old Boys have moved off the bottom and out of the drop zone in Herts/Middlesex Division One after beating Wasps 22-16 and leapfrogging their relegation rivals in a crucial clash on Saturday.

Chris Bean’s try was followed by a conversion and five penalties from Dan Stewart as Geoff Boxer’s home side threw their vanquished visitors into the solitary relegation place at the foot of the table.

UCS dominated the opening exchanges, making good yards through the forwards, and although turnovers at crucial moments relived the pressure, Bean eventually stepped inside off the flank and crashed through a number of tackles to score, while Stewart added the extras.

The sides traded penalty kicks after that, but Wasps then scored two unanswered tries – both of them unconverted – and went 13-10 up.

Yet Stewart continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over, with two more penalties leaving the teams all square at 16-16 heading into the interval – and his cool head and accuracy proved pivotal in the second half as two more kicks at goal decided an increasingly nervy encounter.

Meanwhile, Hendon were unable to undermine Verulamians’ promotion bid in the same division as they suffered a 36-16 home defeat against the second-placed side.

The Dons suffered an early blow as Dave Francis, who had scored a hat-trick in their previous match, limped off with a leg injury, and they soon found themselves 10-0 down.

The hosts fought back, with two Cian Hynes penalties narrowing the gap to 10-6 at the break – and, although Verulamians then drove over the whitewash from a 5m lineout, Donal O’Sullivan also touched down to bring Hendon back into the game at 15-11.

However, Verulamians scored three converted pushover tries in the following 10 minutes, and while TJ O’Sullivan got over the line at the end, it was merely a consolation.

Elsewhere, Haringey Rhinos have finished the first phase of their Herts/Middlesex Division Two campaign in fifth place after a 59-24 loss at Bank of England.

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