Champs march towards title

Catz 3 – 51 Keble THE  reigning champions Keble virtually secured their crown for the third successive season, touching down seven tries on their way to a comprehensive victory over St. Catherine’s, who went into the game with genuine hopes of causing an upset. After the previous week’s defeat of Teddy Hall, Keble have only the misfiring St. Peter’s and Magdalen left to play – games that should be a walk in the park after this performance.
Catz entered the game on the back of a hard-earned win over Hall on Saturday, but the effects of playing three games in a week were clear for all to see after half-time as the home side made hay while the sun shone in the second period. Time and again Catz’s efforts would see them penetrate the Keble defences, only for an error to allow the champions to switch play to the other end of the field.
Chief scourge of St. Catz was Keble wing Alex Fox, who exploited the visitors’ sometime lack of defensive organisation to score four tries, one of which was the culmination of a breathtaking solo run.
The game began an even affair, with Catz backs and forwards alike unafraid of taking the game to their more esteemed opponents. With what would become a familiar pattern, however, the visitors lost possession allowing Keble to claim first a Peter Bolton penalty kick, and five minutes later a try in the corner from a driven lineout.
Despite losing fly-half Henry Haslam to injury, Catz then had their best period of the game, with fast forward play allowing the backs plenty of space to run with the ball. Keble looked rattled but managed to survive with only a penalty goal against them, winning a penalty of their own on the try line to escape relatively unscathed from their opponents’ spell of pressure.
Keble immediately showed why they hold such a grip on college rugby by striking back with two quick tries from Fox, exploiting a Catz backline that had been rearranged due to injuries. Coupled with their dominance at the lineout, the home side’s advantage out wide would be a constant threat as Catz threw caution to the wind and attempted to run everything in the second half.
The Manor Road outfit kept trying to break Keble down, and could not be faulted for lack of effort; but the more expansive game they tried to play, the easier it was for the Cuppers champions to hit back on the break.
Fox completed his hat-trick before adding a fourth score for himself. Two more tries completed the rout, leaving a result for the record books that doesn’t reflect the tough time Catz gave Keble throughout the game.