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First game back for Imperial’s finest, first big challenge of the season as they took on last year’s league winners: Reading. Last year’s outing against this team is remembered as a sore loss to a side that was superior in every way. This week, Imperial was keen to avoid a similar situation and prove to the league that a fresh Imperial side was here to compete.

With the return of many players from injuries, notably Club Captain Toby “the sling” Simpson, our first team looked more than ready to do exactly that. Fortress Harlington was blessed with its ideal playing conditions: slight drizzle and 20 mph winds for the boys. First half with the wind in their faces, Imperial conceded a quick try within 5 minutes of play after sloppy handling and defence. However, the boys quickly regained their cool and worked their way up to field, putting pressure on the Reading defence to finally force a penalty in front of the posts, perfectly converted by small wave surfer James Field. On the ensuing restart however, the 6ft6 Toby tower tumbled onto his spare shoulder and was ruled out of the game. Quick substitution and sloppy hands ensued, eventually leading to another silly try from sneaky Reading. During this time, crystal expert Ali Zed was subjected to a nice knee to the face and was consequently escorted to the bench, leaving Imperial without two of its main starters. However, in similar fashion to the previous time, Imperial gained terrain and once again converted a well-earned penalty right on half time.

With the wind in their backs, the second half looked more promising for the boys. Quick attacks and good play gave the upper hand to Imperial at the start of the half but they struggled to cash in. A potential breakthrough almost occurred when resident gimp Marin Tuleu flew through the air to catch a high ball in the opposing 22. Upon an almost perfect reception, the man decides to drop the ball in front of him as he approached the try line. What could have caused this? Pressure? Marital problems? The mystery remains intact, and Marin remains dick of the day. Luckily, solid big boy carries by every fresher’s idol Ben Jones gave Imperial a chance to put more points on the board after an unfortunate try by Reading. Despite strong winds, Toby “so much better than Allingham” Daniels hit his line out perfectly and the ensuing maul made it past the try line for 5 points (converted by surf soc).

Although the comeback looked promising, Reading eventually ran away with the win scoring 2 tries in quick succession and bringing the game to a close. Final score: 35-13. Despite the loss, a very promising start to the season for an inexperienced squad, still learning to find each other. Notable performances included Ben Jones’ demon carries, Oli Wangchai’s quick pace and Michael “Nice smile” Radigan’s side line intimidation tactics. In Sylvia…

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