Last Wednesday saw a grudge match for the first team against their old foe Brunel. After two close losses last season, the squad was in the mood for revenge. Kicking off at a delayed time of 15:00, the match started perfectly: a reclaimed kick off, followed by a barrelling run by resident sleeve-stretcher Martin Head, led to us making quick inroads into the Brunel half. Several phases of linking play later and Marin Tuleu went over in the corner. With Field adding the extras, we were 7-0 up. However, we could not maintain the high work rate and were soon back defending in our own half. Brunel’s wide attacking play was proving effective in piercing our line, and after some forward pod phases they whipped the ball out and went over in the corner. The kick was good, and we were all level. At this point Brunel hit their stride, and the last 20 minutes of the half went in such a manner best not described here, or at least not by me. Let’s just say that, as half-time arrived, Brunel had built up a 21-7 lead, and we were not happy.
What followed was the grittiest half of rugby the 1st XV has played in many a match. 20 minutes of the second half went by and Brunel didn’t have a single phase of possession. The line-outs were firing on all cylinders, the driving mauls were tearing them apart, and the backs were interlinking perfectly. With the constant thought of maintaining his wavy locks with curl cream no longer on his mind, captain-of-the-bench Allingham burrowed over from short range for a classic front-row-union try. Marin dotted down for his second before Brunel finally got the ball back. At this point, the tries were flowing, and Brunel attempted to reassert their hold on the match with a converted try followed by a penalty. They led 31-21. However, the momentum remained with us; DPFS Blackett, spurred on by his indignation at the hate he has received for the introduction of Bud Light, sniped around the ruck and went over. 31-26. Several minutes later and a peel from the back of a mall saw Will Aynsley bust over the line. With the conversion, we now led 33-31. However, it was not to be. A late try down the blindside, compounded by a last-play interception try by Brunel saw them snatch it away from us, final score 43-33. So close but yet so far.
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