UCS Old Boys make a winning start to life in their new league
- Credit: Archant
UCS Old Boys made a winning start to life in Herts/Middlesex Division One following their second successive relegation, earning a 32-24 home win over Verulamians in an entertaining, see-saw encounter.
Elliot Duke, Joe Crossman and Dan Stewart all crossed the line for the hosts, while Stewart added two late penalties to deny the visitors a losing bonus point.
UCS broke the deadlock with a Stewart penalty and, although Verulamians’ Casey Lynch scored the first try – which was converted by Gareth Watters – the Old Boys swiftly regained their lead.
Alexander Klimov intercepted a pass and, while he was hauled down inside the opposition’s 22, Duke crashed through the centre soon afterwards to put UCS 10-7 up.
Verulamians forced their way over the line with a driving maul and, although UCS somehow held the ball up, the visitors’ forwards rumbled over again, with Michael Hollister grounding the ball and Watters adding the extras.
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However, the Old Boys got their noses back in front before the interval, securing an attacking line-out and moving the ball to the right and then back to the left flank, where Crossman went over to give the hosts a 15-14 half-time advantage.
Verulamians landed the next blow with Mike Kinsworth going over for a converted try, and the sides then traded penalties, with one for the visitors and two from Stewart.
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UCS lost Stefan Filip to a broken nose but their pack was bolstered by fresh legs – and they regained the lead when Duke caught a clearance kick, beat five men and off-loaded to Stewart, who touched down to put the Old Boys 26-24 up.
Ill-discipline from Verulamians then helped them to see out the game. Stewart kicked a penalty and UCS were awarded another one in the final seconds.
While an attacking linout could have produced a fourth try and a bonus point, the referee indicated there was no time, so Stewart took the three points that denied Verulamians a bonus point of their own.