IN a thrilling game against their main division two rivals, played with plenty of aggression and no small measure of skill, the Christ Church XV emerged resoundingly victorious. This win means that they have secured promotion for the third successive season.
The match was electric from the start, with a powerful run from the kick off by Christ Church prop Chris Hughes setting the tone for a solid forward display from his side. At the beginning of the game the Worcester fringe defence was tested to the limit by the strength and dynamic running of the Christ Church pack. However, despite this period of dominance, points were hard to come by as Worcester tackled hard, with plenty of committment. Their first real scare came when the Worcester wing dealt poorly with fly half Ashley Gillard’s kick, allowing his opposite number Chris Cole to steal the ball and make nearly 70 metres before being hauled down. Cole continued to look dangerous, and it was his menacing running that brought the first breakthrough, a score touched down by full-back Jamie Holdoway on the left touchline after an excellent break. When this was converted by sure-footed Gillard, Christ Church felt they had gained just reward for their dominance.
Worcester came back strongly however, exerting pressure on the Christ Church line, but some excellent tackling right on the line by open-side Ian Horn denied them a try. The importance of this missed opportunity was heightened when Christ Church captain Christopher Perfect finished off a period of sustained pressure to bring the scoreline to 12-0. However, the effort being put in by the Christ Church side was starting to tell, and when a couple of sloppy penalties were conceded, Blues footballer Lucian Weston stepped up to show off the full range of his skills. He converted both, and suddenly the game was right back in the balance. The Christ Church try-line was under siege, and when Worcester scrum-half Ben Battcock finally burrowed over on the stroke of half time, the successfully struck conversion gave them a lead of a single point. The momentum seemed to have swung Worcester’s way, and when Ian Horn was sent to the sin-bin for persistent infringement the game looked to be Worcester’s for the taking.
However, the Christ Church forwards dug in for a supreme effort, and when Dan Barnes went over for his team’s third try while they were still down to 14 men, it seemed to change the complexion of the game. It was at this point a Christ Church victory was secured. Despite the loss of inside-centre Duncan Chiah to a nasty head wound, the controlled rugby that they played during the last twenty minutes allowed them two more tries, including a second for Dan Barnes, securing their victory.Captain Chris Perfect was pleased with his side’s performance, telling reporters "It was a good win against a good side, and we will look forward to playing them again next season" He appeared enthusiastic about his side’s prospects for the next season, and looks forward to testing his side against the very best in college rugby. The disappointed Worcester side will be looking for a solid performance next week in order to secure their own promotion hopes, however Christ Church can start to plan their assault on the top flight of college rugby.