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Imperial 12 – 15 Brunel, 24/01/18

Last Wednesday marked the return of ICURFC 1st XV to rugby after Christmas, in which they took on Brunel University. Following a close loss to Brunel in November, last time these teams met, Imperial were determined not to let history repeat itself. The cold, windy and wet conditions at Harlington couldn’t dampen our spirits. We started strongly, and our forwards were able to truck the ball up into Brunel’s 22. Quick hands from flyhalf Harry Allingham allowed Alex Amato to run over for an easy try. With James Field’s conversion we were 7-0 up early in the game.

Dropped balls and poor discipline prevented us from gaining attacking momentum for the rest of the first half. Brunel kept us busy in defence and made effective use of the strong winds when kicking for touch. A dangerous Brunel attack was stopped by fresher Nick Ustaran-Anderegg, who quickly got up and turned over the ball after making a tackle. Brunel’s talkative inside centre was also soon introduced to the ground when he tried to run through Isaac Bailey and was, less than politely, made to sit down. Unfortunately, our eager defence gave away a penalty for being offside and Brunel made the score 7-3 from the tee.

The second half started exactly how the first half hadn’t. The team had switched off. Holes in defence started to appear and IC failed to keep possession of the ball. This allowed Brunel to score two tries in quick succession, making the score 7-15.

However, all hope was not yet lost. Line breaks and Big Carries from Big T, Big Nate and Big Shuz inspired the team to turn the game around. Connor Gilligan came off the bench and made an immediate impact by picking up one of Brunel’s players and dangling him off the floor like a child, legs flailing and all. After many, many phases of play, five metres from Brunel’s try line, Toby was finally able to penetrate Brunel and score a try. The score was now 12-15 with five minutes left to play.

Momentum started to build for us and Brunel were tiring, but ultimately, we had left it too late. The final whistle blew, and a tired Imperial team left Harlington knowing they could have done more. Fortunately, the weather cleared up in evening, and the entirety of ICURFC was able to tee off for a round of pub golf in some of London’s finest drinking holes. By the time we reached The Slug, the afternoon’s bad memories had almost been forgotten.

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