A Friday night game under the floodlights is always going to bring excitement and trepidation. As the Occies arrived shaking off the cloak of tube travel and the working week, eyes started twinkling and wearable heart rate monitors started peaking. After usual banter and chat the boys came out to the floodlit pitch to warm up. Conditions were warm but quite a wind was blowing, discussion on how to play the advantage and deal with the wind head on.
The Occies started against the wind on the 7.15 kick off. Immediately UCS started to use their considerable weight advantage against our much more svelte and quicker pack. Not getting out of our 22 for the first twenty minutes put our defence under huge pressure which eventually resulted in UCS scoring a forwards try on the 25th minute. No conversion and we were still in the game with a strong restart. Keeping the ball in their half was problematic as they continued too take advantage of the prevailing wind. Not helped by Seb our scrappy south American pushing the letter of the law since too often and he see a yellow card.
UCS not only have a big pack but what must be the largest flyhallf to ever wear the ten shirt. in fact he was so big he had a 5 on his back. their strength and size unfortunately get the better of us just before Seb was due back on and they score again at the 35th minute, but still fail to convert. The strength and character of the Occies comes through just two minutes later as after a two phase play by the forwards and clean pass though the hands of Devo and Daws the lightening feet of the glossy maned Callixte puts five points on the board for Wasps.
10 - 5 down at half time after a brutal first half and this is when the Occies have to look for fresh legs and strong spirits. The second half begins and their is a titanic battle on the half way with possession going back and forth between lost rucks and dropped balls by both sides. Then at minute 51 Devo has had enough and decides to take the ball for a proper run straight through the middle. he finds pace and swerve enough to avoid capture and scores right between the UCS posts. and easy conversion for Bully and we are up 12 points to 10.
The Occies collectively get their heads up and now decide to camp in the UCS twenty two. In spite of protestations from the sidelines Sean takes the UCS front row on and miraculously breaks the gain line to put the ball down decisively over the line. 17 - 10 and 18 minutes left on the clock. Unfortunately UCS hadn't read our playbook and two minutes later they respond immediately with another try. Trying to convert this was always tricky for the best of boots and they remain at 17 - 15. Both teams sense their is all to play for and a reckless/accidental trip (delete as appropriate) results in the Wasps second yellow for workhorse Paul. With ten minutes left on the clock the UCS take advantage of our depleted numbers again and slot in two more tries. Whistle goes and final score 17 - 27 to UCS.
The Occies spirit is strong, never did the heads go down and they kept fighting till the end. Plenty of learning as always, but be sure, this is one team never to be underestimated. The bigger team (literally) may have won but they had to fight hard for their win. Well done gents!
Updated 11:53 - 1 Nov 2018 by Kate Hallett