Imperial College 3rd XV 24 - 14 University of Chichester 3rd XV
The 3rd XV have had a rather disappointing year. The apathy of BUCS in doing little or nothing to resolve the issue of South Eastern 7A having only 2 teams left the 3s despondent, and a heavy defeat away in their single match so far was not the start we were looking for. Hungry for a win after the previous match, the 3rd XV hosted Chichester at Harlington, other wise known as ‘The Fortress’. To put the icing on the cake, the referee was none other than Big Bad Bob Coutts, extremely enthusiastic in his correspondence with the captain.
The day started off with an embarrassing entrance, being given our marching orders to ‘Little Harlington’ changing rooms; the luxuries of the big rooms were reserved for the sheer quantity of numbers in the lacrosse squads. After struggling for air in changing rooms being compared to ‘Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs, we arrived on the pitch half an hour before kick off, and an hour and a half after the arrival of our opposition.
The first half was a tight affair, with both teams given scant opportunities. There were, admittedly, some squandered chances down to ‘white line fever’, a syndrome that has known to affect Will Spenceley Jones both on and off the pitch. Some key moments involved Edric getting kneed in the nose, causing a nosebleed lasting 50 minutes, and Vincent ‘Weak Bladder’ Desforges retiring with a fractured elbow. Luckily we had more than one substitute this week, and the replacements proved to be more than capable. It turned out to be a forwards dominated half, unsurprising given the rotund physiques of the opposition. Imperial were unfortunate in conceding in the very last play of the half, down to a huge overlap and a free kick taken quickly.
Half-time: Imperial College 3rd XV 0 - 7 University of Chichester 3rd XV
The second half saw a rejuvenated Imperial side pick up the pressure, in particular the scrums were highly effective. Tom Johnstone and the prodigal son, Merlin Potter-Adams, giving some push, with Will Jackson struggling to maintain his temper in between. After more forwards play, and some decent kicking, Imperial had a scrum on the 5m line. Naturally, the pack dominated, and Tim ‘Specialist Number 8’ Harrington controlled the ball from the back to touch down.
An early highlight was some outstanding linkup play from the residents of Batoum; number 8 Harrington taking it from the back of a scrum, making important yardage before popping it to number 9 Arm, who drew his man and released second row/full back Prichard for a searing run, stopping short of the try line to throw an outrageous sonny-bill to Leonard.
Chichester hit back, with another try due to flustered heads and a couple of unfortunate missed tackles, but the side stayed positive.
10 minutes were spent camped in the opposition half, before ‘old-hat’ Will Jackson reminded his captain and scrum-half that box kicks were a useful tactic. Look Arm took heed, and gave the slippery Chichester full-back some challenges. These gained good territory, and after some intelligent running by man of the match, and self proclaimed BNOC, Ciro Monti, Imperial’s second try was scored. Leonard slotted the conversion and we were back on track. A similar situation gifted Ciro yet another try, proving his worth in any position he may attempt to play. We were 19-14 up, with around 5 minutes to play.
After ‘time where we clench our buttocks’, with Chichester almost running through us, we found ourselves in last play, with our own lineout. This we took, and won, which had been the theme all match. We were left with the decision to take the win, or go for the last try to add insult to injury. The maul was strong, and despite being slapped round the face, prop- come- back row- come- prop Locke Macgregor wriggled through Chichester to score a final try in the corner.
Bring on Varsity!