University of Chichester 3rd XV 40 - 7 Imperial College 3rd XV
Finding themselves in a league of 2 teams, any form of game time has been a rarity for the IC 3rd XV. With the only match time this season coming from two ten-a-side tournaments, and for some team members the only match time of their lives on a rugby field, it was set to be a big day out for the 3rd XV. With a journey time pushing 2 and a half hours, anticipation and a buzz for the first match of the season were strong on the buses heading down.
A reduced squad of 16 men, many of whom would be playing wildly out of position, meant the risk of injuries was high. Unfortunately, after a hard hitting first few minutes of the season, Christian Mellor suffered an injury to his ankle leaving the 3s with an emptied bench. Whilst upfront aggression in the pack kept spirits up, missed tackles crept in, letting a few easy breakaway tries slip through.
A hard fought try opportunity came and went as the ball was held up and then lost after some brutal efforts following the attacking scrum. With some dominant forward attacking play and lethal kicking from the swinging boot of Charles Prichard, the run of play wouldn’t have suggested the score line, but it was all looking a bit one sided heading into half-time.
Another blow to the 3rds as Lachy Mcgregor took an impact to the head on the run in to half time leaving him fairly out of it, and after consulting with a physio he was advised not to play further.
Half-time: University of Chichester 3rd XV 28 - 0 Imperial College 3rd XV
Despite knowing it was 14 men till the end, some inspirational words from the captain sent us out looking a different team. The backs had gotten their eye in with some terrorising runs coming through from Richard Fish and some slick off-loading play throughout the team. On the attack we were looking dominant with solid yardage being made on the majority of plays. Some white line fever prevented us getting points on the board, and minor errors on our side led to more points being let in.
Morale did not fade and the 14 men still standing fought hard even after Charles got crunched from a debatable hospital pass from Fishy. Making progress through sweetly kicked penalties, shredding back line runs and strong line outs, the ref was forced to give a penalty try after foul play prevented the forwards getting over and claiming a well-deserved try off a mauled lineout. A swift drop goal from Luke Armitage kept pressure on but no further progress was made.
Despite the finishing score line, valiant play from everyone involved left us heading home to the union chins up and a few IC 3rd XV debuts under our belts. Now the focus is on the 25th, the deciding rematch with Chichester. A strong performance at home could give the 3s a perfect run in to Varsity next month!