A late resurgence from the Imperial Medicals was not enough to prevent a victory for the Imperial College team in the first ever Varsity fixture held at The Stoop for women’s rugby. It was a low scoring game of ten-a-side rugby that was decided on a few beautiful breakaway tries. For long periods of the game it looked as though the College could score at any moment. But, having gone two tries down before half time, the Medics rallied after the break, and a last gasp try ended the game at a close 15-12. However, the Medics could point to a couple of dubious decisions in the lead up to two of the tries that College scored.
It was a cagey opening as both sides appeared nervous on their first appearance at the stadium. The College grabbed the early initiative and appeared permanently camped inside the Medics 5 metre line for nearly five minutes, followed by a big dash to the line. The move would come to nothing however, as the ball was turned over to the medics, the first of many turnovers in a scrappy game. The medics then broke away (another common feature in the game) but were eventually penalised on the halfway line for holding on.
It looked as though it would take a moment of brilliance to break the deadlock and the College duly delivered. Having turned the ball over on their own 22 the ball was chipped over the Medics and duly collected by College. After a massive seventy yard break the College eventually went over the line after a few phases to send their bench into raptures. The conversion was missed but the deadlock had been broken. It was 5-0.
But it wouldn’t stay 5-0 for long. Straight from the kick off the College were back on the attack, and this time they would receive instant reward as a couple of smart offloads led to a College try under the posts. The try again wasn’t converted, but the College went into halftime immediately afterwards already looking too far beyond the Medics side.
There would have been some who were worried about whether the medics could make a comeback in the second half, but their fears would prove to be unfounded as the medics started the second half strongly. A period of possession just after the restart didn’t lead to anything, but it would eventually be them who struck first blood in the second half.
It took nearly eleven minutes, but through that period the medics were comfortably the better team, rarely venturing into their own half. But once they reached within 10 metres of the College try line there was no stopping them. They went over after three or four phases, thus pulling the game back to 10-5 with it all to play for in the last ten minutes.
All the Medics hard work would be undone just a few minutes later after the College completed a good move on the 22 line with a break to the try line. But it seemed harsh on the medics, as tv footage strongly suggested that there was a knock on and offside in the build up, which should have resulted in a penalty to the medics. The medics will feel hard done by when combining this with the first try, which had a hint of offside when the chip went through.
The controversial try would prove to be a knockout blow to the medics, although they fought valiantly until the last, going over for a consolation try at the very end of the game. Deserved MVP was the Medics fly-half Katherine Fok, who then kicked the only conversion of the game to leave the final score 15-12.