Last Wednesday saw Imperial 1st XV take on the University of Sussex for the second time this season. Last time these teams met Sussex won comfortably, so Imperial were keen for this not to be a repeat. Immediately, Imperial imposed themselves on the game and held most of the possession in the first ten minutes. Sussex were constantly under pressure. Windy conditions meant kicking for touch was difficult for us, and Sussex were able to counterattack effectively. They would have scored a couple of times, had Josh Pope not been there to make some try saving tackles. Not all heroes wear capes. Eventually, via some lucky offloads, Sussex were able to run in a try down the wing.
“Imperial imposed themselves on the game and held most of the possession in the first ten minutes”
However, Imperial came back fighting and some well-timed passes by prop Amin Omarouayache allowed Nick ‘The Colonel’ Ustaran-Anderegg and try-saver Josh Pope to make some yards. Mounting pressure and strong carries from the likes of Jerome Hallett and Ali Zaboronsky led to Sussex giving away penalties on their try line. We opted for the corner, and a lineout maul was easily driven over Sussex’s line with Toby Simpson at the back of it. Toby later made it clear to me in the union bar that he likes it when I mention his tries in match reports. After forcing his way over the try line, Toby eloquently placed the ball down in Sussex’s try area with the precision of a surgeon and the elegance of a ballerina, to earn five points for his team. Still in awe of Toby’s try, a lapse in concentration from Imperial meant Sussex were able to score another try on the stroke of half time, making the score 9-5 to them.
Imperial were very busy in defence for the majority of the second half and did everything they could to find a way back into the game. Sussex kept possession and did not let us find a rhythm. Martin Head, at this point still undefeated in an arm wrestle (RIP), consistently knocked Sussex back in defence and dragged players down by their ankles. Toby Daniels also put in some big hits and Oli Parker made some important tackles on his wing. Unfortunately, despite fighting until the very end, Imperial were unable to hold off Sussex in attack and conceded three tries in the second half. The final score was 36-5. Whilst disappointing, the score line did not reflect the true nature of the match, which was tightly contested for all 80 minutes, and Imperial left with their heads held high. Sylvia is getting impatient.