Imperial 1st XV 31 - 45 UWE (Hartpury) 2nd XV
A crisp sunny day at fortress Harlington surprisingly saw none of the legendary gusts of wind. With the ground firm and the mercury approaching a lofty double digits, the scene was set for a challenging contest against UWE Hartpury 2nd XV. With Cap’n Jack side-lined, or perhaps an unwilling to play against his former teammates, outside centre Mike Floyd admirably stepped up to captaincy.
Imperial started well and whilst each team earnestly traded blows, a series of good phases of play saw Imperial camped in the opponents 22 looking poised to score. Alas, it was not be as an errant pass from fly half George Lane was plucked from the air by the opposition’s winger to run the length of the pitch for a converted try.
Quick to retaliate, Imperial seized upon the opportunity provided by a poor kick-off return. A mauled lineout on the 5m led to a pop from the scrum half to the two flankers, with Olisa Ufodiama rolling off the tackle to wriggle through and score a try.
The fast paced game saw 2 more tries a-piece before the half came to a close, a lack of conversions leaving the home side trailing 17 - 19.
Half-time: Imperial 1st XV 17 - 19 UWE (Hartpury) 2nd XV
The second half began in much the same manner as the first, before a turnover by Hartpury led to them being camped in the 22. After a good period of defence Imperial finally succumbed and Hartpury opened the scoring again. Two tries in reply including a collected kick chase and storming run under the posts from Mike Floyd, and a further try from an excellent display of footwork from the Hartpury winger had the score tied at 31 all with only ten minutes left to go.
With Hartpury pressing hard, a patch of poor concentration lead to another converted try for the opposition. Rallying around their captain, Imperial surged forward once more but they couldn’t convert pressure into points and Hartpury sneaked for the last try in this high scoring affair.
The whistle blew shortly after; bringing an end to this thrilling encounter. Imperial gave a great showing of themselves as an ever improving side, however mistakes proved too costly this time round. The final score Imperial 31 - UWE 45.
Man of the Match went to Olisa Ufodiama returning from injury, whilst notable mentions should also go to fresher Tom Hobson for stepping up as hooker, some quality runs by centre Mike Floyd and thundering tackles from winger Nathan ‘Brucey’ Fitzpatrick and lock Tom Chavas.