UCS surge to fourth after win over St Albans

UCS surged to fourth place in London 2 with after a tenacious 33-26 win over St Albans at Ranulph Road.

UCS conceded a penalty in the opening exchanges and trailed 10-8 midway through the first half. But any fears of a repeat of last weekend’s derby loss at Hampstead were quickly dispelled and they added 15 points by halftime to lead 23-13, and were never in danger from that point.

The victory delighted UCS director or rugby Geoff Boxer, whose team could be heading for their highest finish in four seasons in their current division.

“It was an exciting game full of ambition from both sides,” Boxer said. “There were plenty of missed tackles, and gaps from poor defending by both sides, close to the breakdown, and that led to many breaks through midfield.

“But both sides scored some wonderful tries. We are now up to fourth in the table and could be heading for our best finish yet in this grade.”

St Albans drew first blood with a penalty for offside at the ruck.

UCS hit back with a slick try from Nick Skinner on 10 minutes, only for the visitors to wrest back the advantage after poor tackling allowed their outside centre to cross the line for a converted try.

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Casey Mee slotted a penalty to reduce the deficit to two points at 10-8, before Gareth Jones touched down after impressive build up play. Mee missed the conversion to leave them 13-10 ahead.

With their tails up, UCS extended their lead after Stan Bradbrook won a penalty for offside which Rich Bower opted to tap and crashed over to score. The conversion was slotted by Mee who minutes later cancelled out a penalty from St Albans to leave the scoreline 23-13 at half time.

UCS extended their lead early in the second half after second row Tim Sydor was tackled just short of the line and popped the ball up to Bower who went over for his second try.

Mee’s conversion increased the advantage to 30-13, but UCS were forced to endure a tricky last five minutes as the visitors hit back with a converted try and a brace of penalties. But the home side remained resolute and rebuffed their opponent’s late rally, with Mee slotting a late penalty to complete the scoring for UCS.

UCS are away to Harpenden on Saturday.

? IN London 3 North West Haringey Rhinos were beaten 21-14 by London Nigerian at New River. They visit Wasps on Saturday.