UCS Old Boys lose the lead as Finchley inflict second successive loss

Damir Jovanovic in action for UCS Old Boys. Pic: Nick Cook/UCS Old Boys RFC

Damir Jovanovic in action for UCS Old Boys. Pic: Nick Cook/UCS Old Boys RFC - Credit: Archant

UCS Old Boys lost a second-half lead as they went down 20-13 at Finchley, suffering their second successive defeat – and their third from the opening five league games in London North-West Division Three.

After a penalty and a try from Rory Gibson, Damir Jovanovic touched down to give UCS a 13-10 advantage, but the hosts hit back with a penalty and a try of their own to leave their visitors eighth in the table.

The game started frenetically with neither team able to string more than a few phases together before turning the ball over, and there were few scoring opportunities.

Finchley were given a yellow card after 20 minutes after an infringement at the breakdown, and Gibson put the first points on the board with a penalty.

But the Old Boys played poorly from the restart, trying to run the ball out of their half and then failing to clear, giving the hosts’ full-back the chance to run in under the posts unopposed.

UCS responded with a sustained period of terrirtory and they eventually got their reward as full-back Sam Sherlaw beat three tackles and released Gibson, who scored in the corner, but Finchley led 10-8 at the interval.

The away team started the second half well and, when they earned a five-metre line-out, an eight-man rolling maul rumbled its way over the line, with Jovanovic emerging at the bottom of the pile.

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However, Gibson was unable to add the extras and Finchley quickly hit back, catching their visitors napping with a quick penalty and then running in a converted try which put them 20-13 ahead with half an hour left.

UCS did some damage in the scrum, with Ahmed Ghanem making an impact off the bench and winning the ball against the head, but a lack of quality and structure, characterised by chaotic scrambling with and without the ball, meant the Old Boys were unable to build up enough momentum to salvage the game.