Imperial 1st XV 41 - 22 Kent 1st XV
After a slow start to the season as the 1st XV get used to a new league, their opening cup fixture against last seasons opposition Kent was an ideal way to get back to winning ways. After a rushed warm up, and with Imperial have to don a somewhat village playing jersey to avoid a kit clash, the game got underway. Imperial kicked off proceedings, quickly leading to a turn over and good possession in the opposing 22. It didn’t take long before the first points of the game, and after an inch perfect pass from fly-half “Big” George Lane – who admits himself fly-half is not his natural position – Oli Benton crossed the line for a 5 - 0 lead. Soon after the restart, the pressure was back on Kent. The ball was charged down by the face of Jon Hardisty (some say his most useful contribution to the game) resulting in a lineout in opposition territory. This again produced an Imperial try, with good hands by the backline finished off well by Nathan “Brucey” Fitzpatrick in the corner.
After the initial burst of tries by Imperial, the game started to get tighter. With the exchanging of tries, Kent started to get back into the game – due mainly to Lack of Imperial discipline and unforced errors. A big blow to Imperial came in the form of skipper Jack Flanagan having to leave the field with a suspected broken ankle, although fans will be relieved to here he has since been given the all clear. A further try from Fitzpatrick, and a penalty try awarded for a high tackle in the act of Jack Judd scoring, lead to an Imperial lead of 22 - 12 at half time.
Half-time: Imperial 1st XV 22 - 12 Kent 1st XV
Playing into the wind second half Imperial knew the game was not over, this was quickly demonstrated as straight after the restart Kent went over for their 3rd try of the game, closing the lead to just 3 points. This pressure brought out the best in both the senior players, and newcomers to the Imperial team and appeared to be the turning point of the match. Great breaks from man of the match Rob “Coach” Kyle and Jon Hardisty helped gain useful yards, as the Imperial pattern started to shine through. With Mike O’Connell and Tom Hansen proving the catalysts for forward momentum and possession, territory started to show, leading to another try for Oli Benton and Syarif Hertog. As Kent started a slight revival, an interception by Robbie Cowan lead to a 60m score to close out the game. Big hits in the final play coming from Mike Floyd and Tom Hobson sealed the deal, resulting in a final score of 41 - 22. Next weeks fixture sees Imperial take on Hartpury seconds in the league at Harlington – all spectators are welcome.