This is the winning start that Christ Church would have been hoping for, and although an important victory in its own right, it was all the more important as it demonstrated this was a team still moving forward, despite the loss of some big players last year.
The game started on a very even footing, and when Exeter spent 10 minutes camped inside the Christ Church 22, some of the men in white may have feared a repeat of last year's comprehensive Exeter victory. However a huge clearing kick from fly-half Ashley Gillard, followed by a lineout steal from in-form lock Matt Podger begun a second quarter which Christ Church dominated comprehensively. They scored three tries, all of them converted by Gillard's ever-reliable boot. The stand out gem of these scores was a fantastic individual effort by Jamie Holdoway, running hard from full-back and leaving tacklers in his wake to touch down under the posts.
With the score 21-0 at half time, the House players appeared confident of being able to seal victory, even with a player lost to the sin-bin. This confidence seemed well placed as they scored the first try of the second half to stretch their lead. However Exeter were not yet dead and buried, and they came back into the game with two tries, including a classy run down the blind side by scrum half Quentin Macfarlane. With both of these tries converted, those watching could have been forgiven for thinking that the game was turning around. However Exeter let their concentration lapse and spilled the kick-off. From the resulting scrum, a crisply worked backs move saw debutant outside centre Andy Sprague cutting through the smallest of gaps, and although he was felled by an excellent covering tackle, he managed to offload in contact and see the ball touched down to effectively end the match as a contest.
Captain Christopher Perfect described Christ Church's first half performance as “…the best I've ever seen us play…” and felt that with this kind of solid forward platform combining well with the pace and skill of the backs, the House's chances were strong going into next weeks game against Trinity/LMH. However this Exeter team must try to recover from their performance today, and will need to improve if they are to maintain their place in this division.