Imperial College 1st XV 24 - 0 Brighton 1st XV
On a windy Wednesday in west London, Imperial 1st XV hosted Brighton at Harlington for their third match of the season. Off the back of a 24 - 0 win against their inferior university colleagues, IC were brimming with confidence going into this game having a very strong team on paper, only missing centre Mike Floyd, suffering from a bruised shoulder, and albino winger Fred White, busy scouting next year’s fresher intake while modelling vests in Korea.
In the first half Imperial were playing against the elements, having to stick to a very reserved and mature game plan to prevent Brighton from utilising the conditions. Brighton did apply the pressure, but were let down by ill-discipline which allowed IC to work their way into the Brighton half. Following a strong maul from the forwards, led well by Irish skipper Mickey O’Connell (from the Gaelic ‘Ó Conaill’ meaning “bravery of the wolf”), Brighton gave away another penalty allowing James Cox to put the first 3 points on the board with a tough kick.
For the majority of the first half Imperial defended well, with big hits and strong rucking from all members of the team. As Imperial easily absorbed the visitor’s pressure it was Brighton who made the first mistake. Cox grabbed another 3 points from the tee. The first half ended at a strong 6 - 0, Imperial happy with their position considering the conditions.
Half-time: Imperial College 1st XV 6 - 0 Brighton 1st XV
The second half kicked off with IC keen to make use of the great winds of Harlington, and that they did. Half backs Fraser and Cox kept Brighton pinned down, and strong chases from both wingers (Freshers John ‘the man’ Mann and Tom ‘catch me if you can’ Catchpole) gave Brighton’s back 3 little chance to return kicks. Following a blatant breach of rucking rules, Imperial 1st XV was awarded another penalty which Cox put between the uprights. Forced onto the back foot, Brighton suffered a constant barrage of strong runs from both IC centres, Jack Flanagan and Fresher Joe. It was Jack who was first to break through the back line, opting to run through rather than round the Brighton full back before slogging his way over the line with half of the Brighton team hanging on. Cox added the extras.
Imperial continued to dominate as both wingers came up just short of the line, driven on by the loud cheers from the cider fuelled 3rd XV, spectators after a late cancellation to their fixture. The pack grafted all over the pitch, Tom ‘little Lion Man’ Hedley and Fresher ‘Vinegar Dave’ both making large contributions to the tackle count. The ferocious hits got the better of the timid pier-dwellers, and with shaking hands Brighton dropped the egg, (Lesson 1: Don’t drop the egg!). Cox seized the opportunity and ran in for another 5 points. Normality was finally restored as his conversion went nowhere near the posts to keep the score 21 - 0.
With the clock running out Imperial gave a last push and ground their way to within 10 metres of the Brighton line. With pressure telling the referee awarded a final penalty in the last play of the game which duly sailed home to leave the score line at 24 - 0. Congratulations to the 1st XV for a mature and organised game and a solid victory.