UCS Old Boys climb out of relegation zone after vital victory over basement boys Old Streetonians
- Credit: Archant
UCS Old Boys moved out of the relegation zone after a vital 26-13 home win over basement boys Old Streetonians in London North-West Division Three.
Gareth Watson-Cowen scored an early try and Alex Jayne and Will McWhirter also crossed the line in the first half, giving the hosts a 19-3 lead at the break.
Old Street narrowed the gap to six points at a time when UCS had a man in the sin-bin, but the Old Boys had the final word and a penalty try secured a bonus point.
That takes them level with Wasps in the table but with an extra win, and UCS are therefore just outside the bottom two with three games of the season to go.
The home side exerted early pressure and took the lead after just five minutes. Second row Jayne broke the line and, although he was tap-tackled, support was on hand and prop Watson-Cowen had just enough pace to get over the line.
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Old Street hit back with a penalty kick but UCS’s expansive game was opening up gaps in the visitors’ defence and Jayne broke through again off a flat ball from Dave O’Dwyer, this time making it to the line himself, while Rory Gibson added the extras.
A period of scrappy play followed but, shortly before the half-time whistle, UCS scored the try of the game. Full-back Gibson counter-attacked from a poor clearance kick, outpacing a few defenders and finding McWhirter in a scissors move, with the winger showing a clean pair of heels to go over. Gibson converted to give the hosts a 19-3 half-time lead.
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The break seemed to galvanise Old Streetonians, who started the second period strongly, pushing their way over for a converted try after a lineout. UCS centre Aled Davies was then caught offside and sin-binned for the offence, and the visitors slotted over the penalty to narrow the gap to 19-13.
UCS responded well to going down to 14 men though, winning a penalty – which Gibson missed – and then getting close to the line on a couple of occasions as they pushed for a fourth try and a bonus point.
A five-metre scrum provided that opportunity and an eight-man push drove Old Street over the line. The opposition pack split and the referee headed under the posts to award a penalty try, with Gibson converting to round off a crucial triumph.
UCS Old Boys: Watson-Cowan, Klimov, Ghanem (Dowding), May, Jayne, Zabci, Ribette, Filip (Oulton), O’Dwyer, Duke, Hastings, Jacobs, Davies (Stewart), McWhirter, Gibson