ON a wet and windy afternoon, spectators who braved the conditions were treated to an extremely physical encounter between the increasingly dominant Keble and a dogged Hall side, Keble running out 14-7 winners to continue their unbeaten run.
Keble entered the game as league champions and, fielding an unchanged side, were definite favourites to beat a Hall outfit that had just avoided relegation. To make matters worse for the Teddies, they were also without their injured iconic captain Phil Satterthwaite, meaning that they were forced to to concede five points and play with uncontested scrums.
Starting 5-0 down, Hall were eager to get early points. After a scrum on their opponents’ twenty-two, fly half Harold Buchanan fed the all-American Marc Wayshak in midfield who ploughed through two tackles to score under the posts. The try was converted to make it 7-5 and give Teddy Hall an early, morale-boosting lead.
Keble then began to get into the game, playing simple but effective rugby, with good ball retention. The Hall defence held strong, but was eventually forced into conceding two penalties which were duly kicked by fly Half Peter Bolton to regain the lead for the home side, making it 11-7.
Late in the first half, a poor kick from Keble that failed to find touch was seized upon by Tom Theodore, who glided through the home side’s defence and fed Wayshak on the right wing. With the try line at Hall’s mercy, the last pass failed to go to hand and was fly hacked into touch to the sound of the half-time whistle.
The second period was played out in a similar vein to the first. Early Keble pressure led to another penalty, again converted by Bolton, but they were unable to threaten the Hall try line. Hall’s defence was ferocious, with back rowers Patrick Cooper and Dusan Uhrin stopping the Keble forwards on the gain line.
However, the Teddies simply did not take their chances in attack: four clean line breaks were made in the second half which were not turned into points. Keble’s basic but controlled rugby eventually held on, and they emerged deserving winners at 4-7 thanks to Hall’s lack of clinical finishing.
After the game Keble captain Max Cole was happy with the result saying ‘We’ve come away with a win, and that’s all that really matters’. Hall captain Satterthwaite, after having to watch the game from the sidelines, called his side’s performance a ‘defensive masterclass’ and rued Hall’s missed chances.
A solid but unconvincing win by Keble should set them up to win this second league with reasonable ease whilst Hall, having produced their most spirited performance of the year, will know that if they can turn breaks into points they can, and should, finish in the top half of the table, instead of fighting relegation yet again.  

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