UEL’s title ambitions were put back on track after an impressive 37-5 away win over the University of Hertfordshire.
After 2 back-to-back losses, UEL put in a great performance to secure their biggest win of the season. The win was a good reason to be cheerful, but it was the clinical manner in which UEL went about their business that was the most pleasing aspect of the day. One of UEL’s strongest attacking assets was removed before the game even kicked off as Hert’s were unable to field a full front row and had to play the entire game with uncontested scrums.
Despite this UEL opened the scoring through Captain Lewis Davy after 5 minutes. A jinking run was too much for the Herts defence as he skipped through their line from the half way line to dot down under the posts, converted by Rahul.
It wasn’t long before UEL were further in front when Jonathan Dapson made a surging long-range run down the left-wing to touch down in the corner. A superb conversion attempt put UEL 14-0 in front.
Hert’s were lucky not to be reduced to 14 men as their winger deliberately tripped Jonathan in the act of scoring. This resulted in UEL having a penalty to restart the game which Connor nudged right into the corner for a line-out. UEL went through the phases and a good defensive effort from Hert’s reduced UEL’s efforts to a finely taken drop-goal from Connor. 17-0. Unfortunately Brice injured his ankle in the play that led to the score and had to be replaced by Olie Harrington
Five minutes before half-time Kier Williams, a Hertfordshire native, playing in front of his family, scored the first of his brace after a strong run down the wing beating a number of defenders. 22-0 at the half-time whistle.
Three further changes were made at half time, Alli Dodds replacing Luke (still suffering from a bout of swine flu), Christian Alexander on for Mo and Mike Smith on for Oliver.
Hert’s started the second half brightly and spent a considerable amount of time camped on the UEL 22. But for some superb defending from every man on the park in UEL colours they would have opened their account.
On a heavy pitch the injuries began to mount and Herts were reduced to 14 fit players whilst UEL had to make replacements themselves, Dwain McGuinness replaced by Luke and Connor by Oliver, both due to shoulder injuries, with Lewis moving to 10 and Oliver to 12.
UEL got their scoring back on track after a great break out of the 22 by Lawrence, showing pace that most wingers would be proud of. An offload to Christian on the half-way line sent him in unopposed in the corner. 27-0.
It was UEL’s turn to spend time in the opposition 22 and after pressure from a well-drilled line-out operation, Vice-Captain, Eoin Smaill drove over to the left of the posts. 32-0.
At this point Herts were down to 11 fit players, but showed a lot of courage and decided to play on with 3 injured players on the pitch which earned the respect of the UEL squad.
The scoring wasn’t finished yet as Kier made a great run down the right-wing beating 2 tacklers and not being held in a further 2 to force his way over in the corner for the try of the match. 37-0. He took a knock in the following play and was replaced by Mo before he could complete his hat-trick.
In the final play of the game, Herts got a try that their bravery deserved, despite a good defensive effort by Jonathan. 37-5 and full-time.
After the disjointed and ill-disciplined display of last week, it was refreshing to have a clinical and calm performance from UEL with no bickering and everyone supporting each other when the odd mistake was made. UEL have a free week next week before they play their biggest game of the season against Anglia Ruskin who they share first place in the league with. This game also has the added spice of the Anglia Ruskin coach being good friends with UEL coach Deano.
Man of the Match: Eoin Smaill
Try of the Match: Kier Williams
Tackle of the Match: Jonathan Dapson
Muppet of the day: Lawrence Springate, for hooking the ball to the opposition in an uncontested scrum
1. Luke Staples-Preston, 2. Lawrence Springate, 3. Liam Twomey, 4. Dwain McGuinness, 5. Nathan Hubbard, 6. Brice Dempster, 7. Ajit Balasingham, 8. Eoin Smaill, 9. Oliver Kelly, 10. Connor Cathrall, 11. Jonathan Dapson, 12. Lewis Davy, 13. Rahul Gurang, 14. Kier Williams, 15. Mo Akbar.
16. Alli Dodds, 17. Olie Harrington, 18. Mike Smith, 19. Christian Alexander.
To find out more about rugby at UEL, visit: uel.ac.uk/sports/clubs/students.htm