Students may have been much maligned in the media over the past few weeks following unruly riots and demonstrations, but a cracking fixture between two high quality university sides was well worth the tuition fee alone!
It was always going to be a highly tense affair – 1st versus 2nd in the league and a healthy number of Premiership Academy players on both sides, ensuring high skill levels and a cracking contest. And so it proved.
In front of a huge crowd for a Wednesday, both teams started at a ferocious pace, with no quarter given or asked. Some quick thinking from the home side allowed them to score a fantastic try, against the run of play, to take an early lead. However, with the contest at the ruck becoming more intense, both sides began going to ground to the point where they appeared to be trying to submerge under the turf!
As the first half drew to a close there were two daft, but identical, pieces of cynical play when the opposition seemed likely to score within a minute of each other that saw two Yellow Cards – one a piece – with a penalty kick a piece to show for the sacrificial lambs contributions.
The second half continued with both teams showing searing pace and hard tackling that was always going to leave its toll – and so it proved. Two players needed a trip to A&E – one for a suspected broken leg – the other for being a bit to committed to the tackle and his attempt left him unconscious for a couple of minutes!
As the match entered the final quarter, and with a sliver of a lead, the home team began to gain greater advantage over the opposition who had played themselves to a standstill. Two quick tries from short range left the travelling dispondent and their team with only pride to play for…
..which they took with aplomb. With time up on the watch the ball was recycled for over 3 minutes as the losing team were determined to trouble the scorers for more than just a mere penalty. And so it proved, phase after phase, travelling inexorably up the pitch for over 60 meters, saw the away captain crash over for a well deserved try under the posts. The conversion was inexplicable missed and full time signalled wild celebrations.
A joy to referee and a much higher quality match than most of the senior Saturday fixtures. The future is bright with this lot…!