Two dominant periods at the start and end of the match ensured that Imperial College claimed a more than comfortable victory over the Imperial Medicals at The Stoop on Wednesday. Having scored an early penalty, the College then put away two unanswered tries before the Medics hit back to give themselves a chance at 15-5 at half-time. Another try two minutes into the second half for the boys in red had the College worried. But their overall superiority shone through in the end as they went over three more times before the end of the game to underline their great performance, though the Medics may feel slightly aggrieved that the final score looked so one sided after an encouraging performance.
After a 39-5 drubbing just two weeks ago the Medics would have been hoping for a fast start, but they had anything but. They were initially ill disciplined in their own half, and on the third time they were punished with College captain James Cox slotting over with a fairly straight kick 25 yards out from the try line.
The Medics did threaten after that, but often their moves were scuppered by either ill-advised or misguided offloads. In the end they were punished by the College, who were rewarded for an excellent move, starting with a break from the halfway line, with a try from centre Sam Moorby. Cox kicked the conversion, and the score was suddenly 10-0.
College advanced dangerously almost straight from the kick off, only to throw it away with a knock on on the 5 metre line. If the Medics breathed a sigh of relief at that moment, it was shortlived. College were in a destructive mood, and weren’t going to be stopped. A driving maul just two minutes later did go over the line. Despite Cox missing the conversion, the scoreline was beginning to look very bleak for the Medics at 15-0.
With the game already almost out of sight, the Medics launched a spirited comeback. Having been camped out within five metres of the College try line for almost three minutes, stand in captain Vernon McGeoch went over to get the medics on the board on the half-hour mark. Again, the conversion was missed, but at half-time, the medics were still in the game.
What had been a fairly one sided game until half-time became a lot closer after the break as the Medics ended a driving move by breaching the College defence and making the score (after the conversion was missed) 15-10.
However the Medics, for all their effort, just couldn’t keep the momentum up. After a prolonged period of play without much action beyond either side’s 22 yard line, the College managed to break through the defence and a large break away resulted in their third try of the night, pushing the gap to 12 points with just twenty minutes to go.
The Medics did continue to push, but a series of penalties on the five metre line resulted to nothing, pretty much summing up their night. The game was in danger of petering out but the College came to the rescue, adding additional excitement at the end of the game. In the last four minutes the College ran through the tired Medics, adding two more tries close to the end of the game to finish off the game with a resounding 32-10 win. A cynic might say that these tries added gloss to the score, but in reality it showed the true gulf in performance of the two teams on the night itself.
Man of the match was awarded to the College centre Sam Moorby, whose strong performance proved one of the major difference. He scored two tries as well, making him a worthy winner of the award, despite captain James Cox also having a storming game.
Speaking to Felix after the game, ACC Chair and Rugby Honorary Secretary Oli Benton said of the win “While the lead up to this years Varsity has been less than ideal, the performance on the night put all those worries to bed. Building off the back of a comprehensive beating of the Medics a couple of weeks ago, IC brought their positive attacking rugby back to the Stoop. With the customary high levels of sand ensuring the pitch wasn’t boggy, the College backs played aggressively behind a solid platform provided by the forwards. Particular mentions must go to the scrum half Durkin, who was always a threat, the flyhalf and captain Cox, who marshalled the game with customary aplomb and Moorby who brought his usual physicality with some excellent hard running and support lines.”