UCS Old Boys profit from Bank of England clash
- Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo
Herts/Middlesex One: UCS Old Boys 31 Bank of England 25
UCS Old Boys began the new Herts/Middlesex One season with a 31-25 victory at home to Bank of England.
The Gowers powered off to a supercharged start in the first 20 minutes, scoring three tries with two conversions to the Bank of England’s one in the first 11 minutes.
For the first, George Sewell at prop broke through the middle and fed Nat Breakwell, at fullback, who beat the Bank fullback and scored under the posts.
For the second, Tom Arnold, at inside centre, held the line with a superb dummy run, while Corné Jansen Van Vuure, at fly half, fed Breakwell who moved it wide to Henry Day at outside centre.
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Day crossed the line and ran round to touch down under the posts and the try was converted.
The third try was another smart move along the three-quarter line from the first phase, enabling wing Harry Greenall to score under the posts on the left.
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At the 15-minute mark, Greenall again touched down in the corner on the overlap after a long looping pass from Breakwell.
There followed a jiggle and tap back to Breakwell by Van Vuure after a confrontation with a Bank back. The Bank also scored a converted try during this tempestuous period.
Gower forward play had, meanwhile, been stupendous, with complete scrummaging dominance and consistent drive-backs powered by the tight five, headed by this season’s captain and hooker Chris Bean.
With five points added by Breakwell’s try after 17 minutes, it was 24-7 to UCS Old Boys.
By the 25-minute mark, a Bank breakthrough from a lineout on the UCS22 metre line led to a try between touch and the posts, which was converted, raising their score to 12 points.
The Gowers had begun to lose impetus and, with 32 minutes gone, a penalty goal by the Bank further reduced their lead to 24-17.
This lull in UCS determination continued until half-time and for twenty minutes after, despite repeated controlled and lengthy scrum drives with the ball under-foot.
Two minutes into the second half, UCS’ morale took a dip as the Bank scored a penalty goal taken between the posts, awarded for handling in a ruck.
With the score at 24-20 there followed a sequence of inconsequential play with neither side achieving much in attack, although maintaining solid tough defence, until the 58th minute.
Some onlookers attributed much of this middle-period mediocrity to the second half disadvantage of UCS playing up the slope and into the wind.
However, attacking precision had already seeped away after twenty minutes of the first half.
Just before the hour mark, the Bank’s winger touched down in the corner after fielding a cross-field kick from the fly half and dodging a UCS tackle. This put the Bank tantalisingly into the lead for the first time at 25-24.
But, as if by magic, the UCS mojo returned for the last twenty minutes. A heeled scrum near the opposition five-metre line was driven ahead with the ball under control for what would have been a certain UCS try.
However, the Bank unlawfully wheeled it round by more than 200 degrees ensuring the referee, therefore, awarded the Gowers a penalty-try, taking the score to 31-25. This was to remain the final score, although the last five minutes were full of tension.
These last five minutes saw UCSpressure reach an absolute crescendo.
Henry Day on the wing executed a scintillating steal, followed by a long attacking move, culminating in a just-missed penalty kick at goal before the final whistle sounded.