IC 1st XV arrived at an incredibly windy Harlington, the flat surroundings doing nothing to shield the boys from the gales. The warm up went smoothly, with not one ball dropped and everyone seeming ready for a fight against the League’s leaders.
IC’s Charles Price-Smith started the game with a short, high kick-off not retrieved by the forwards. A strong run from Kent’s hooker and two fall-off tackles later, Kent were bearing down in IC’s 22. The IC defence looked tight but a quick few phases from Kent’s forwards and a quick ball out to the backs saw Kent score a try not even 5 minutes into the game. A look around revealed shocked, disappointed and angry faces. No doubt a few of the boys were wondering, ‘how on Earth are we ever going to impress the RVC Netball girls tonight if we don’t win?’ Whether it was this thought or the Captain’s inspirational words, we will never know, but IC instantly stepped up and into gear.
A strong restart from our fly-half positioned the forwards deep in opposition territory. A penalty was given right in front of the posts so Inside Center, Sam Moorby, stepped up to slot it, somehow managing to send it right of the posts with a kick as pitiful as his hairline.
The lineouts were going brilliantly despite the gale-force winds. Strong phase play from the forwards and pod organisation from Openside Flanker and banter factory, Alex Clayton, saw Second Row Toby Simpson crash over the whitewash for IC’s first try. Moorby made up for his atrocious first attempt, slotting the conversion.
Another bit of brilliant play from IC resulted in IC crashing back up the pitch, leaving their boots inches away from Kent’s private parts. Ali Zaboronsky lashed out at ref’s ankle, seeking to remove any competition with the ladies that evening.
Scrum half, Matthew Blackett, organised well and questioned the Kent defence with lots of darting runs. The forwards were carrying really well in tight pods with author of this article Clayton leading the charge, as if he were a man of average height. Kent struggled with his silky smooth footwork, dashing good looks and straight arm, denying their tackles and crossing the try line but unfortunately being held up.
Quick ball from the 5 metre scrum and some more great ruck clearing resulted in Simpson’s second try. The backs were starting to look really dangerous and Moorby soon got a try of his own. Both conversion attempts were successful, bringing the score to 21-5. Toby Simpson seemed eager to score another 5 points, putting his head down and steaming towards the try line only to blow his lode prematurely, dropping the ball over the line. No try and punishment for hatrick avoidance made this an upsetting moment for him.
It was evident throughout the game that Kent’s forward pack had a much more effective winter bulk program, shoving and turning the IC scrum. Kent used this to their advantage, crossing over the line to score their second and last try of the game. If only Martin Head’s legs were as big as his arms, they may have been able to hold on. Final score was 21-12 and Man of the match was deservedly awarded to Alex Clayton for an outstanding, nay astonishing performance.