JCR Rugby Premier League
The reader may be sceptical but Cherwell has been assured that Univ’s crushing 55-8 defeat at the hands of Brasenose this week can be attributed to a five month hangover following that glorious May evening when Keble were sleign in the Cuppers Final by a similar margin. As Brasenose kicked off, the low sun must have dazzled the bloodshot eyes of the Univ team as it was only 15 seconds or so before they were given an early opportunity to address their headaches with some much-needed water after the Brasenose pack had piled through to score.
This set the tone for the 1st half as Brasenose scored 7 tries with only a penalty kick from Univ’s Nick Green in reply.
There had been rumours circulating that success had gone to the heads of the Univ players and it was hard not to agree: The team can not have seen a gym all summer- the goliath of Blues No. 9 Nick Haydon no longer towered over the pitch and appears to have been replaced by the smallest man, let alone captain, in college rugby.
However, the 2nd half brought with it some glimpse of Univ’s former glories. They enjoyed a sustained presence in the Brasenose half (perhaps it was the sun after all) and they were unlucky to come away with only the one try from Thomas Cole. Man of the Match, Doug Sexton, despite what must have been a very tiring Freshers’- I mean Welcome – Week provided a ruthless performance from No. 8 and there were also good tackling performances from Patrick Burns, Matt Beer and Teddy Chad, although Brasenose captain Tricky Wilson may have got the better of everyone at times. The ‘new rugby powerhouse’ may have taking a beating this week but, in the eyes of the team at least, remain the bookies favourite for Cuppers.
JCR Rugby Premier League
Teddy Hall 24
Teddy Hall were fired up for this game after reading Cherwell dismiss their chances in last week’s paper. Despite some pre-match controversy at the presence of Mahony on the wing for Keble, the 2 sides remained evenly matched for a tense first quarter of an hour. However, after some intelligent play from Ader in the centre, the defending champions Keble worked a hole and found themselves 5-0 up.
Some unnecessary backchat soon gifted Keble 3 more points. However, charging back up the hill, Hall quickly earned a penalty 5m, from which they scored to make it 8-7. The game seemed to be back on (almost) level terms before once again the centres opened up, and Keble went in at the whistle 15-7 up.
Keble started the second half with only 14 men, but were helped out significantly when the referee gave a dubious reversal of a decision to make it 18-7. These were, however, the last points Keble would score. With the words of Captain Tom “Gadget” Sanders’ half-time talk still ringing in their ears, the Hall backs found their rhythm. Some neat breaks down the line coupled with fearsome rucking caused panic at the base of the ruck for Keble and this time the change of momentum stuck. The talismanic Roland McFall put in hit after hit and new boy George Inglis began steaming through the middle to disrupt playmaker Ader. A mention also to Charlie Millar, the ever calm Hall number 10, who demonstrated remarkable ‘finesse’ for the first game of the season.
Proving that it really is a game of two halves, Hall finished 24-18 up. After their resounding Cuppers final defeat last year, does this finally spell the end of an era of Keble domination in college rugby? All I know is that Cherwell should never have written off Teddy Hall last week….
JCR Football Premier League
St Catz 0
Following their impressive promotion from the first division last season, Worcester sensed that they were back where they belonged in their opening Premier League fixture this week. Playing against defeated cuppers finalists St Catz was certain to provide a litmus test as to whether Worcester’s break from the elite had hindered their chances to live up to their illustrious tradition in college football – and on this evidence it appears they will be fine.
The game was very tight and scrappy in the first half, and St Catz probably edged the first half an hour with some good possession football. Worcester started to come back into the game towards the end of the half and scored a goal direct from a free kick taken by Oli Gee and converted by Adam Healy. The turning point in the game undoubtedly came just after the second half when Catz were awarded a penalty, despite the offence occurring closer to the corner flag than penalty box. After much controversy I think Catz decided that it was not fair to score under those circumstances and so passed the subsequent penalty at 2mph straight to Worcester keeper Adam Titchen. This whole episode appeared to disrupt the rhythm of St Catz as, just one minute later, Worcester went 2-0 up with another Healy goal. He soon completed his hat-trick with a cross-come-shot that looped over the St Catz keeper.
St Catz then went 4-0 down when their goalkeeper comically fell over while attempting to kick a back pass upfield. If Catz had any hopes of staging an unlikely comeback this unfortunate incident killed them instantly. The result probably flattered Worcester, but is nonetheless a very encouraging start to the season. Catz were a bit unlucky in places however, and I suspect they will once again be towards the top of the Premier Division this season.