UCSOB relegated after titanic struggle with Hendon

Hendon's 29-23 win was enough to relegate UCSOB from Herts Middlesex One.

Hendon's 29-23 win was enough to relegate UCSOB from Herts Middlesex One. - Credit: Archant

A losing bonus point in their final league game against Hendon was not enough to stop UCSOB dropping out of Herts Middlesex One.

The game, if not the result, was a fitting occasion for the old Eve Pavilion which is set to be demolished as part of a multi-million pound renovation.

It swung back and forth and despite Hendon outscoring their host by five tries to two, UCSOB led for a few times, most notably with just minutes remaining.

However, a controversial late try, as the referee allowed what looked like a clear knock-on to go unpunished, saw Hendon take the 29-23 win.

That led to an anxious wait as one losing bonus point would have been enough to save their skins if Wasps FC came away from London French empty handed.

But soon the news filtered through that Wasps had also picked up a losing point and the Old Boys were down.

UCS skipper Tom Arnold was in philosophical mood as he waited for news of their rivals, citing the small margins throughout the year.

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He said: “It’s a tale of our season. We’ve been in good positions quite often but concentration has let us down.

“It definitely was a knock on but that’s the nature of the game. You can’t switch off when things like that happen. You’ve only got yourself to blame if you’re waiting for the referee’s whistle.

“It was a knock-on but it was entirely our fault they scored.

“If you look at the table, we’ve won more games than some of the teams above us but we haven’t picked up enough bonus points. A number of situations where we should of scored another try and picked up a bonus point and we’re in a different situation.

“But that comes down to training and doing the hard work on and off the pitch.”

Hendon, however, will be delighted with their afternoon’s work.

They got off to a great start with Mick Culhane spinning over on three minutes and although Nathaniel Breakwell added a penalty shortly after, Toby Ikwueke barged through for try number two.

Crucially both conversions were missed meaning Matt Jacobs try and Breakwell’s kick levelled the scores.

Both sides came close to further tries before Breakwell added a penalty with two minutes to go to half-time to put UCS in front.

But Hendon came straight back and a pushover try meant they lead 15-13 at the break.

Breakwell kicked a third penalty straight after the restart before a bullocking run to the line by TJ O’Sullivan was converted by Mike Evans-Jones.

But with around seven minutes remaining UCSOB went over on the corner to rapturous applause.

Breakwell added the extras and safety was back in their hands.

But then came the defining moment and as the hosts hesitated, Arwell Roberts raced through for the winning score, which was again converted.